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Partnership CARITAS Internationalis and Seton Hall University

In May, the School of Diplomacy received the illustrious visit of H.E. the President of CARITAS Internationalis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. On the occasion, CARITAS Internationalis and Seton Hall University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the School of Diplomacy formalizes a long-standing partnership with CARITAS to provide internships to our students. This MOU will expand our partnerships from the New York Office to CARITAS’ worldwide operations and will strengthen the collaboration of the entities in the areas of research and advocacy with a particular emphasis on the United Nations, the Holy See, and the international community.

The event started with a prayer and a message from the Bible, Corinthians 12:26 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” All God’s children have dignity and are precious to Him. We should all work together as one single family. Dean Courtney Smith, Senior Associate Dean and Associate Professor, believes the hallmark of a strong partnership is a shared mission and having the right people. The School of Diplomacy prepares the students to be servant leaders and to make a difference in the world around us. To do that, students need to apply what they learn inside the classrooms, outside. Thus, the partnership with CARITAS has embodied that same mission. CARITAS has been working inside the United Nations and around the world, making a difference in the lives of millions of people. There have been more than 50 students who interned at CARITAS, proving how remarkable this partnership is. Without the right people, it would not have been possible. Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, the Permanent CARITAS Internationalis Delegate to the United Nations, talked about the partnership and the high quality of the interns. According to him, CARITAS’ interns have a reputation at the United Nations for being the best, the sharpest, the most well-dressed, and the most fit for the job.

After signing the MOU, Dr. Mary J. Meehan – Interim Seton Hall University President – said a few words about Seton Hall’s mission to teach servant leadership. For her, SHU students have three goals: to understand, to engage and to ultimately transform the world. To conclude the MOU event, H.E. the President of CARITAS Internationalis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle shared some thoughts and hopes. According to Cardinal Tagle, students are fortunate and blessed for learning international relations and diplomacy concepts and skills. He did not have such training. He has been learning since he became the President of CARITAS in 2015. For him, CARITAS provides the flesh and multi-layers opportunities of serving. He hopes students learn the holistic formation on diplomacy to heal a fractured and wounded world. After all, this world is about human beings, in which love is the most powerful diplomacy. Love is a language that everybody understands and is longing to hear. Even though when people pretend they do not want to be heard. He finished his speech with a very touching personal story about servant leadership.

Many students who interned at CARITAS Permanent Mission at the United Nations attended the MOU event. Students Michael T. May and Tyler K. Hubbs talked to the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies. Their answers and comments are personal opinions and do not represent their current or prior employers.

1) What led you to apply for an internship at Caritas Internationalis?

Michael – From the start, I was interested in an Internship at Caritas. I did not know much about the work I would be doing itself, but from their main website, I knew it was up to my alley. My faith has always been an important part of my life and to intern with an organization which put that in action really led me to apply.

Tyler – I took a summer course on Philanthropy and Christianity in summer 2016 through Seton Hall where we had the opportunity to visit and study in Rome for 8 days. While we were there, one of the organizations we worked with was Caritas Internationalis. Flash forward a few years, and I saw that Seton Hall had a long-standing internship partnership with Caritas as I was searching for where I would like to apply for my undergrad internship. Having some knowledge and admiration for the organization and their work, I applied.

2) What skills are important to be an effective and successful intern?

Michael – Communication, dedication, the ability to follow instructions to a T. As Joe Donnelly is usually out of the office, it is important to relay to his reports, notes, handouts or information in general. It is a very small office and I know from first hand that he relies on his interns to be his ears on the ground. As for dedication, an intern needs a good amount of this to perform his best. Like many internships, this internship is not remunerated, which is in itself, not a problem. However, the cost of travel, lunch and etc, begins to add up and on the college budget, which it is not exactly the best situation. With no “reward” working long hours while losing money can be tough, however, when you see the ends of the work, especially with what it is supporting, it becomes worth it. Also, Joe (Mr. Donnelly) can see through people easily. He wants dedicated interns who truly care about the mission, not people who just need the credits. Finally, as for following instructions, this is extremely important. As an intern, you will have access sensitive and important information. I will admit, there were a few times I did not follow instructions exactly as asked (thinking it was ok) and it cost me.

Tyler – The single biggest asset would be flexibility. It can be a long and stressful day, but it is important that one is able to roll with the punches effectively. Some other very important skills are a close attention to detail, a willingness to learn and grow, and most of all, a good attitude.

3) What suggestions can you give to students who are looking for internships?

Michael – Make yourself a good cover letter and a professional resume. Do not be afraid to talk and get yourself out there. In the business of Diplomacy, it is who you know, not always what you know.

Tyler – The internship search can be difficult, and it’s very easy to get discouraged when it feels like you’re churning out cover letters and applications to no avail. It’s important to just stick with it.

4) How did the School of Diplomacy bridge you and your goals?

Michael –  It was the School of Diplomacy that really made this whole experience possible. Caritas has a partnership with the school and for that reason; I really believe I was able to lock it down. Besides this, the school offers great resources to have access to other opportunities.

Tyler – The School of Diplomacy has offered some very nice opportunities, and by taking advantage of these opportunities, I was certainly able to come closer to my own personal goals. The School of Diplomacy’s relationship with Caritas was a great boon, and without that, I never would have been able to have such a fantastic work experience and form a great relationship with my mentor/advisor/friend, Mr. Joe Donnelly.

5)  What are your plans after graduating?

Michael – I am an Irish dual citizen. So, I plan to return to Ireland to begin my study in law after my graduation. I eventually would like to practice International Law. I am doing my senior year as an undergraduate student at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. I also study Modern Languages, French and Russian, and Catholic Studies. I am specializing in Eastern European, Russian Affairs, and International Law. I am also keen on Israel/Palestine issue, conflict resolution and international law, as well as the study of philosophy and the Catholic faith in general.

Tyler – I still have one more year of graduate school. I enrolled in the five-year program, B.S./M.A. program. So, my post-graduation plans are still quite away. I am very interested in non-profits and non-governmental organizations, and I am excited to continue in my two concentrations of global health and post-conflict reconstruction. Ultimately, I would love to one day run my own non-profit organization dedicated to helping create lasting and sustainable mental health treatment frameworks in post-conflict countries. Now to try to get to that part! In my leisure time, I watch films and read.

This blog post was written by Patricia Zanini Graca. Patricia is a first-year graduate student at Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Patricia graduated in Business Administration and she holds an MBA in Business and Marketing. Patricia is a UN Digital Representative at the Center for UN and Global Governance Studies, the Executive Director at the Journal of Diplomacy, and the director of International Affairs at the Graduate Diplomacy Council. She specializes in International Organizations and Global Negotiations & Conflict Management. 

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