Internship Blog Series: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Internship Blog Series: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

My name is Stephanie Miller. I am a senior undergraduate student in the Diplomacy and International Relations program with a secondary major in Religious Studies and a minor in Arabic. I completed a research internship at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in Manhattan, New York.

The Global Centre is a research and advocacy organization that specializes in war crimes, genocide, ethnic crimes, and crimes against humanity. It works with governments, regional bodies, and other NGOs to operationalize the principles of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine into policy frameworks. It also monitors over 20 country situations either at risk or currently committing mass atrocities. As independent institutions, non-profits like the Global Centre are instrumental in ensuring accountability and encouraging inter-governmental action to prevent mass atrocity, and I had a wonderful time working with them.

My decision to pursue this internship was based in curiosity. Mass atrocities are crimes that make international headlines every day, but the corresponding prevention agenda is not something that people usually recognize, even in the classroom. The Global Centre works to bridge the gap between policy and responsible action, calling for the international community to commit to the principles outlined by the Geneva Convention and honor their agreements to protect civilians across the globe. I learned that while this work is not glamorous, it is entirely necessary.

Interning at the Global Centre taught me the difference between humanitarian work and human rights advocacy, cultivating a newfound interest in both. Prior to this internship, I thought that the two terms were mutually interchangeable, and I found that this a common misconception often overlooked. This experience taught me new and transferable skills that are applicable to both fields, honing practical expertise in report writing and analysis, oral communication, conflict mediation, and public engagement. I don’t think I could have found a more supportive and encouraging environment as I developed these new skills, and I look forward to carrying them into my career.

One of the challenges I faced in the beginning of my internship was separating myself from my work. The subject material I was dealing in daily was sometimes difficult to process, and in order to succeed in the position, I had to learn how to leave work in the office rather than take it home with me. I began setting healthy boundaries for myself before I could devote my time and energy to a mission that I quickly grew to care about. This internship taught me more than just practical skills – it taught me a life lesson that many don’t learn until much later, and for this I will always be grateful.

My advice to students looking for internships is to not limit yourself to searching only in the field you are interested in. Diversifying your interests enables you to take advantage of opportunities that you may not have had otherwise. My career goals were vastly different going into this internship than they are now. Working at the Global Centre made me re-evaluate my priorities and consider what I really want to do with my degree after I graduate, which is something I do not think I would have been forced to reckon with if I had worked anywhere else. Internships do not always change your outlook on life, but mine did. I gained new skills, new interests, and a new perspective on the field I want to go into.

Internship Blog Series: Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN

Internship Blog Series: Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN

My name is Roxane Heidrich. I am a second-year graduate student in the Diplomacy and International Relations Program, specializing in Global Negotiations and Conflict Management and International Security. I completed an internship at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

My goal upon graduation is to work in the field of mediation of international conflicts and facilitate dialogue between stakeholders. These conflicts also possess a security dimension prior to peace talks, and I was interested in learning what arrangements need to be present on the ground before one can begin the mediation process. The Holy See matched these interests of mine in their dedication to peace and reconciliation as a religious organization. Such organizations are often at the forefront of mediation efforts, brokering ceasefires and peace agreements and playing a major role in bringing together rival parties and negotiating a successful and lasting peace.

In this sense, my decision to pursue this internship followed my understanding of mediation as an activity that needs to be carried out with the principles of neutrality, genuine engagement, and the unbiased interest of the mediator to help the parties find the best possible solution. I learned that the Catholic Church brings this to the table and more, which is linked to people’s connection through faith and a number of principles that call for mutual understanding and using non-violent means for solving violent crisis.

In my position, I learned much about the principles that guide the work of the Holy See in peacebuilding across the world. More specifically, through attending meetings at the Security Council (where the Holy See is an Observer State), I learned about such security arrangements that are fundamental to the cessation of the hostilities – a step that comes before the deployment of other types of efforts such as mediation and post-conflict reconstruction. I learned even more about UN strategies for peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including the challenges to such efforts which are very often represented by the political disagreement between Member States.

From this internship, I learned many new and transferable skills, such as writing reports in an accurate and timely fashion, speaking about and analyzing current security issues in a critical way, understanding the context of current conflicts such as in Venezuela, Kosovo, Myanmar, and Palestine-Israel, and understanding the timing of UN interventions (peacekeeping, appointment of special envoys, establishment of sanctions, establishment and withdrawal of missions, and mediation/dialogue facilitation) depending on the timing and severity of the conflict and the compliance of the host countries. These new skills represent some of my greatest accomplishments, and I am excited to carry them forward in my career.

Some challenges included coordinating my internship responsibilities with coursework and commuting between South Orange and New York, which could be difficult at times when weather was bad. Overall, however, I would definitely recommend this internship to someone that has a solid grasp of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the flexibility to work in a very dynamic environment. The opportunities to learn a lot and to grow professionally are numerous, and I am very grateful for my experience.

Internship Blog Series: UN Global Compact

Internship Blog Series: UN Global Compact

My name is Ahmet Yoruklu, and I am a senior studying Diplomacy and International Relations with a double major in Economics and a minor in Russian. I am currently interning at the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, whose mission is to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want. Since I have been interested in multi-stakeholder collaboration between the private and non-business sector for development and sustainability across the world, I can’t think of a better fit for my personal development in this space.

As I work on the Client Engagement team here at the UN Global Compact, I get to interact with our business participants on various topics; from communication on annual progress reports to post-event follow-up campaigns. In addition, I conduct rigorous research on prospective participants and assist my supervisor in executing recruitment procedures efficiently.

What I enjoy the most about my internship is that I have the privilege of learning about the world’s largest companies and MNC’s as part of my work. It is an outstanding experience to witness how businesses align their operations and business strategies with global goals for a more sustainable world. Moreover, the opportunity to attend flagship events on different themes, such as the Commission on the Status of Women as well as the SDG Business Forum during my internship period at the UN Headquarters is certainly an invaluable experience.

When it comes to my studies at Seton Hall, what I do here on the Client Engagement team is very much related to Diplomacy and International Relations as well as Economics. Since we are a multi-stakeholder organization, we communicate with numerous entities from all over the world which requires a certain knowledge of diplomatic language and cultural awareness. In terms of diplomacy, I am certainly reaping the rewards of what I have learned studying diplomacy as I execute on my tasks, whether writing a report or utilizing critical and rational approaches during decision-making processes. Combining my knowledge of diplomacy with economics has created the best foundation for me to understand why for-profit entities take certain actions in the global economy and how I can come up with innovative ideas and solutions to achieve our agenda at the UN Global Compact. Both diplomacy and economics prepared me to be more resourceful when it comes to communicating with private sector companies and engaging them with our organization.

As I gain new experiences with this internship, it has helped me become more realistic about my career goals in terms of what path to follow in the near future. Through the experiences I add to my skillset, such as CRM management, strategic partnerships, and corporate communications, I am becoming more prepared than ever to pursue my goals in the sustainability space.

I would definitely recommend this internship opportunity to anyone who would like to gain hands-on experience in private and non-profit sector collaboration. The UN Global Compact provides an outstanding environment for those who are passionate about fulfilling global goals via local business in every part of the world – from the center of the world, New York City.

Internship Blog Series: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Internship Blog Series: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

My name is Chiazam Onyenso, and in my final semester within the Master of Arts program in International Relations and Diplomacy, multiple experiences have driven my current desire to continue my academic pursuits as they pertain to international affairs. My interest in collaborative international agencies reflects the internship I’ve committed myself to at the United Nations Population Fund.

My first-year M.A. studies mainly observed the nature of conflict, theories on the correspondence of the international community, resolutions and the management of international institutions that all catalyzed my eagerness to work for the United Nations.  As a humanitarian information management intern for its Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts Branch (HFCB), working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provided me with relevant knowledge on the effects of crises and the various avenues utilized by UN agencies to provide relief to affected populations and to address critical international issues. I developed exceptional skills in internal correspondence, analyzing and visualizing data, and reporting on fast-paced crisis situations in real-time. My assignments required background knowledge on humanitarian crises along with nurturing a strong understanding of UNFPA’s gender-based violence and health services for youth and women in conflict.

My experience as a UNFPA intern made me increasingly interested in staying with agency, in order to continue learning more on how it functions to fulfill its mandate and begin my career. Since last July, I have assisted HFCB in creating fact sheets, developing situation reports and analyzing information that will gradually populate UNFPA’s newly launched data portal, and the upcoming Humanitarian Action Overview for 2018. At the UNFPA, my work has been greatly complemented by the skills and knowledge I’ve procured through my master studies. Specializing in International Organizations, Global Negotiation and Conflict Management, while also earning a certificate in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Sustainability has contributed to my understanding of UNFPA’s role and overall humanitarian response.  Most of all, I’ve recognized the most crucial capacities of international assistance and aid rely on sound international law.

I hope to broaden my experience in international relations in line with international law. Adequate response to affected populations and vulnerable groups across the globe depends on human rights policy and effective rule of law; essentials that have been made incredibly clear to me at UNFPA.

Internship Blog Series: Consulate General of Kosovo

Internship Blog Series: Consulate General of Kosovo

My name is Lis Kabashi, and I am studying International Relations and Diplomacy at Seton Hall University. I come from a city called Mitrovica, which is located in the northern part of Kosovo.

I interned at the Consulate General of the Republic of Kosovo. In contrast to other Consulates, the Consulate General of Kosovo serves a dual purpose. Apart from serving its citizens in the US, the Consulate General also serves as a lobbying ‘mission’ to the UN, seeking more recognition for the Republic of Kosovo.

I decided to intern at the Consulate General of the Republic of Kosovo because in the future I would love to work as a diplomat for my country in one of our Embassies around the world. As the number of countries that recognizes Kosovo has gone up to 114, new Embassies and Consulates are opening up around the world. Thus, demand for experts in international relations and diplomacy has increased. For me, the experience at the Consulate General is a very important first step towards that goal.

My intern duties at the Consulate varied. For example, I prepared news analyses and reports on current events related to the Republic of Kosovo. Such analyses and reports served the purpose of informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kosovo.

During the UN General Assembly 2017, the Consulate received two High-Level Delegations: Presidential and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Along with another intern, I led the efforts in putting together files for each meeting that took place. These files, intended for the Chief of Cabinet for each delegation, consisted of brief biographies and resumes of each High-Level leader. Since most of our classes at the School of Diplomacy require us to learn about foreign policy decision makers from countries all over the world, I think that this is one of many ways how my internship related to my classes at the School of Diplomacy.

The opportunity to work at the Consulate was not only a period in which I learned about diplomacy – it was instrumental in building my professional network. Over two months, I had the honor of meeting Ambassadors and diplomats from various countries and attending functions hosted by different missions at the UN. Almost all of the diplomats that I met shared some of their experience and knowledge with me. Thus, I have learned how to think as a diplomat as well as how leaders protect the interests of their countries.

I recommend the internship to those who are interested in having a career in diplomacy. Apart from meeting key decision makers from all over the world, an intern at a Consulate could also improve their written and verbal communication skills, which are key to becoming a successful diplomat.

Internship Blog Series: Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN, Geneva

Internship Blog Series: Mission of the Dominican Republic to the UN, Geneva

My name is Isabel Deluna, and I am a Diplomacy student at Seton Hall. Switzerland was wonderful: being surrounded by multilateral organizations and diplomats from all over the world made my internship at the Dominican Republic Mission to the UN very interesting.  Over the summer, a new Ambassador to the Dominican UN was chosen, and I spent much of my time preparing for his arrival by renewing and updating systems and archives.

At the mission, my primary responsibility was to prepare two types of reports for the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Dominican Republic following UN meetings. We reported verbal notes for the United Nations to notify of activities or requests, as well as “oficio” reports, which were special reports sent to the Dominican Republic to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of mission developments and changes in events or circumstances. I prepared each report with the information provided and entered them into the record system. Everything at the mission must be put on their record, and the reports were vital to fulfilment of the mission. In addition, I frequently assisted during United Nations sessions and meetings with Dominican Republic participants, helping active participants and observers alike.

I believe the internship helped me to build my professional network. I met a great many Ambassadors and diplomats from multiple missions in Geneva who shared their experiences with me and made recommendations on strategies for my future career. I believe it is important to know the missions’ systems as well as how they manage their representation at the United Nations.

I attended sessions that related to a variety of important topics, including migration, human rights, and indigenous groups. The sessions had a great impact on me, because I was able to see the way diplomats interact with each other and express concern and defend certain topics for the benefit of their respective countries. I feel I gained an understanding of their knowledge and strategies, and thus I learned how to think strategically and manage my expression of my opinions. I believe I can apply much of what I learned in future classes and discussions.

Throughout my internship, I gained skills that will help me ascertain my position on topics of importance as well as maintain and defend it, which amplifies my ability to analyse problems and situations on diverse topics. I am very grateful I was given the opportunity to improve my skills in a direct, diplomatic setting, and I would especially recommend the internship to those who are interested in the UN!

Internship Blog Series: United States Mission to the United Nations

Internship Blog Series: United States Mission to the United Nations

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I interned for the U.S. State Department, Press and Public Diplomacy Office, at the U.S. Mission to the UN. This experience was a great one that not only taught me about work at the Department of State and the UN but also gave me my first insight into communications work, something I now consider a post-grad option that I never considered before.

Press interns at the US Mission have two main responsibilities including news monitoring and transcriptions. The Press Office is responsible for putting out verbatim transcriptions of U.S. ambassadors’ remarks at the UN and in other venues where they are operating in an official capacity. These remarks are released to the public and are government records,  hence there is  a high expectation of accuracy. Many reporters will ask the Press Office for transcripts of ambassadors’ remarks to include quotes in their articles. These reporters are often on deadline which increases the need for these transcripts to be done as quickly as possible. While our supervisors always checked our work before any transcripts were released, this task taught me a lot about how to work quickly under pressure while still maintaining a standard of excellence.

I also attended “brown bag lunches” that the Human Resources Department  set up for the interns. We were able to have an hour long discussion with executives from different sections within the mission. This was an opportunity to learn from people doing work in all of the areas the U.S. Mission operates. We heard from many Foreign Service officers in the political and economic sections and what their responsibilities were in those areas. It was interesting to see how their work differed from the work of the Public Diplomacy officers that we worked with in press. My favorite part of these lunches was speaking with the economic officers as I am majoring in Economics as well as Diplomacy. One statement that stuck with me months later was from a discussion with an experienced economics officer who saw what she did as a form of ‘journalism’ for the government. These officers’ duties involve gathering information on the ground in whichever country they are stationed in and writing cables or “articles” that are then sent back to Washington. As someone who has always loved to write and even considered journalism as a career path, this was an eye opening conversation that showed me how I could combine all of my  passions;  economics, diplomacy, and writing; in a job with the U.S.  State Department or another area of the federal government.

Internship Blog Series: Caritas Internationalis, U.N. Delegation

Internship Blog Series: Caritas Internationalis, U.N. Delegation

Working with Caritas Internationalis’ UN delegation with Mr. Joseph Donnelly gave me a close look inside the UN and on how NGO’s interact with the UN. Caritas is one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations and much of my work involved researching and relaying information to my supervisor in order to help with his advocacy work. There was a focus on the current volatile situations in the 5 year old newest country, South Sudan, and the border regions of the country of Sudan itself. Sudanese forces have indiscriminately bombed civilians to the point where they have to retreat into caves in order to save themselves. Caritas is trying to provide aid to the people there but the government has also shown itself to be willing to bomb hospitals.

Caritas hosted the visit of a Sudanese Catholic bishop to advocate with UN agencies, Member States and NGOs about the sustained violence, intense human security and injustices taking place in South Kordofan, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions. I scheduled meetings for the bishop. It was interesting to see how meetings are usually arranged in the UN system and I was surprised to learn how last minute some of them ended up being.

Organization is a key skill that I refined during this internship and I also sharpened my research skills. Towards the end of my internship I was asked to shift my focus to Latin America and the events going on there. I researched the current status of the historic peace process in Colombia between the government and the FARC after 50 years of fighting and a 2016 SC resolution/mechanism. This was an interesting experience, especially since I had to make sure that I filtered articles by date and made sure that my sources were reliable. This may sound like a straightforward and basic thing to do, but I realized that any mistakes that I made would have ramifications beyond me. This caused me to pay closer attention to small details.

I also learned to assess diplomatic language to a certain degree. I had the opportunity to attend meetings at the UN such as meetings in the ECOSOC chamber and the Security Council. Being able to hear how diplomats talk when they make speeches helped me navigate through the meanings beyond what was said. I am not exactly proficient at this, but it was a skill I previously did not have, and the more I refined it, the more interesting those meetings became.

My biggest takeaway from this internship would have to be a newfound appreciation for the UN and the various organizations that participate in the system. In the past, I was quite critical of the UN. I never thought that it should not exist, but I did think that the political dimension of it was a dead end that never seemed to work. The humanitarian work that the UN provided was the only thing it seemed to do better than anyone else, but since working at the UN I have come to realize that the UN is not a monolithic entity. Organizations like UNICEF are technically separate from the UN bureaucracy and so is the Security Council.

I realize now that the UN has taken the fall for many mistakes that originated from the member states, and that the UN is only as strong and as effective as the member states want to be. Politics certainly gets in the way of many of the initiatives that the UN tries to undertake, but the UN is still able to function despite the obstacles. I had never really considered the UN as a possible career path, but now that I have completed my internship there, I would not mind searching for a job there.

I would definitely recommend this internship to others. Perhaps they will walk away with a greater appreciation for the UN, as I did.

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