Robert Gaudio Applies Maxwell Skills in Argentina’s NGO Sector

Robert Gaudio is a Public Diplomacy student who will complete both a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Science in Public Relations by the spring of 2018.

I was fortunate enough to spend the summer of 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina as the Investor Relations Intern for Red Argentina para la Cooperaciòn Internacional (RACI). RACI is a network of Argentine NGOs working toward equal and effective distribution of aid and funds throughout Argentina. In conjunction with the multi-national organization, CIVICUS, RACI seeks to create a conversation between citizens, civil society organizations and those who hope to invest in their causes.

Buenos Aires street scene.   Photo credit: Kevin Dooley (Source)

While at RACI, I attended and facilitated events for and with partner organizations, created funding calls, helped launch an online platform that tracks Argentina’s progress toward the UN sustainable development goals, and did my fair share of translating.

Every project I worked on and event I attended were full of invaluable experiences. From learning how to navigate foreign embassy funding calls to facilitating conversation about meaningful issues in my second language, each day was new, exciting and always surprising. I was pleasantly surprised how much of what I learned about cross-cultural communications in my Newhouse & Maxwell courses translated to professional scenarios. I would say that I used every bit of my skills acquired over my first year at Maxwell, down to things in my statistics course, that I never thought would be relevant to my professional career.

Robert Gaudio.

This internship was also incredibly influential to my personal development; I gained a lasting appreciation for my peers and colleagues who study and work in a language other than their native tongue. As you can imagine, the work was both fulfilling and challenging- but I also was able to have a bit of fun! Buenos Aires’ proximity to Uruguay and the rich climate and diversity of Argentina made for full weekends.

Having the opportunity to travel abroad to both work and experience a new culture has made me a better person, student and (hopefully!) a more attractive job candidate.

Mia Mazer Works on Youth Health in Rural Nicaragua

Mia Mazer is a current joint MPA/MAIR (Master of Public Administration/Master of Arts in International Relations) student at the Maxwell School. 

This summer, I completed an internship with AMOS Health & Hope, a public health non-governmental organization in Nicaragua. AMOS works alongside vulnerable communities, both rural and urban, on health, education and development issues in efforts to reduce poverty, disease, and preventable deaths. The organization implements participatory training, supportive supervision, and the community-based participatory research (CBPR) methodology while working alongside communities, allowing the community and its leaders to build upon their strengths.

Mia Mazer.

As a Youth Empowerment Intern, I gained invaluable field experience working with youth leaders in El Bambú, a rural community in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua. My responsibilities included developing and validating educational materials, facilitating lessons on youth empowerment and sexual and reproductive health issues, and assisting in monitoring and evaluation efforts of the youth empowerment program. Using the Care Group model, youth leaders were imparted lessons on youth empowerment issues that will be shared with their peers, with the objective of promoting healthy behaviors and relationships and preventing drug use, early pregnancy, and suicide. This work is critical given the high rates of gender-based violence and teen pregnancy in Nicaragua.

Mia with local residents in Nicaragua.

This experience gave me the opportunity to see the benefits and challenges of public and foreign policy on the ground, including the strengths and weaknesses of the Nicaraguan health system, the impact of foreign aid and community-based development work, and the power of partnerships. I am certain that this experience will be an important frame of reference in my professional work in social policy and international development. More immediately, it will inform my coursework and provide an important perspective in the classroom as a second year graduate student. Living and working alongside a community with such limited resources and infrastructure was a personally transformative experience and will continue to serve as a reminder of the significant work that lies ahead to reduce global inequalities and my commitment to public service.

Trace Carlson Conducts Research in Hindi

Trace Carlson is currently finishing up a Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) degree from the Maxwell School.  He was awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) from Maxwell’s South Asia Center.

Trace Carlson.

My experience this summer was both difficult and rewarding. I used the summer global program award to help finance my second year of Hindi language studies in Jaipur, India and to help offset the costs of my short internship experience in Kathmandu, Nepal. The language program was incredibly difficult because it packed the entire second year of Hindi into just eight weeks. We spent half of the summer reviewing what we had (or had not) learned during our first year of Hindi and then the second half learning entirely new material. The experience was so difficult purely because of the speed at which we were learning new material. We would be learning something new one day and then everything would change the next day. Ultimately, I was able to improve my understanding of the grammar rules and my speaking skills rapidly improved much more than they would have if I took the second year of Hindi at Syracuse because I had to use it every single day. We also stayed with host families so it made the experience feel as though we really got to understand the daily life and routine of your average Indian family. Overall, it was an extremely difficult learning experience, but deeply rewarding as well.

Jaipur, India.

The last part of my summer was spent working with a local NGO in Kathmandu. While I was in India, I was doing some research for the organization on the Indian supply chain of kiwi because it is often imported into Nepal, undercutting the local market because the kiwi is better developed. After the language program ended, I was able to join the team on the ground in Kathmandu. I helped develop some surveys with the organization to better understand the Nepalese side of the kiwi supply chain because the organization works with one hundred apple and kiwi farmers. We needed to better understand the supply chain so we could connect the farmers to the appropriate supply chain based on their needs and their output. My greatest memory of the experience was getting to head out into the field and actually speak with the farmers to hear about their experiences and what they needed from the organization in order to be successful. The rural areas of Nepal are absolutely stunning. I also got to continue practicing my Hindi because so many people in Nepal know Hindi as well. My experiences this summer were challenging, but incredibly rewarding because they helped me grow personally, academically, and professionally.

Maxwell MAIR Degree

Maxwell South Asia Center

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Program

Ashley Saulcy Works on Political Transition in Nepal

Ashley Saucy is a current Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) student at the Maxwell School. 

I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal at 6:30 in the morning, and by 8:30, I was already at work with The Asia Foundation (TAF) as the new summer program intern. The whirlwind entry to the country was quickly followed by an introduction to programming that is defining key national policy discourses in Nepal. In my first week alone, I attended the TAF-supported release of the annual national trafficking in persons report and a policy dialogue on legal and regulatory challenges associated with the political transition, both inclusive of a wide set of international and national stakeholders. Needless to say, I was amazed to so suddenly find myself in the midst of policymaking spaces in one of the most exciting transitional political environments for practitioners and scholars of development.

Since the 2015 earthquake and the subsequent signing of the Constitution, Nepal has been experiencing a massive political transition towards a federalist system with three new tiers of government: central, provincial, and municipal. The creation of municipalities—and the constitutional delegation of powers primarily to the municipal and provincial levels—is emboldening local government in a way unseen since the early 1990s. The country has undergone two rounds of local elections so far, which will soon be followed by a third round.

The dynamics under Nepal’s political transition present an interesting challenge for development practitioners to be proactive and responsive to a system that is still characterized by unknowns politically, economically, and legally. My assignment to work primarily under TAF’s program to support the new subnational governance structures became a unique vantage point to understand the incredible breadth and depth of policymaking spaces that require engagement for successful decentralization.

Ashley Saulcy

One of my initial responsibilities was coordination of a new program partnership with organizations specifically focused on the empowerment of newly elected women leaders. Despite quotas in elected bodies, the political participation of women—particularly from low castes—in the Nepali system is still limited. My work with a partner organization has included conceptualization of the research approach and framework for responding to the identified capacity gaps and priorities. More broadly, the work has exposed me in more depth to the specific gender equality and social inclusion frameworks that organizations like TAF are using to understand the cross-cutting nature of marginalization. The experience has ingrained a deep appreciation for inclusivity as an overarching philosophy to the TAF office in Nepal.

My role broadened in the program to include work on building the program’s comprehensive monitoring, evaluation, and learning dashboard, as well as significant contributions to the inception report. In both projects, it has been exceptionally engaging and rewarding to be strategically thinking through and contributing to the way that the program’s theory of change can backstop the delegation of power to municipal governments.

I came to Nepal with a passion for engaging questions on governance, and have been invigorated with the strategic thinking of professionals that deeply understand the Nepali context. The exciting research and work on political dynamics and transition that I have found here have set a new personal standard for mindfulness, creativity, and excitement for engagement in developing contexts.

Ashley Saulcy

Mary Johnson Practices Cultural Diplomacy in Brussels

Mary Johnson is a current Master in Public Diplomacy student at the Maxwell School. She participated in the Public Diplomacy Internships in Brussels Program.

This past summer, I interned in Brussels, Belgium with More Europe – external cultural relations and the Cultural Diplomacy Platform. These organizations are funded by the European Commission and supported by a consortium of European cultural institutions, namely the British Council, Institute Francais, The Center for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, the European Cultural Foundation, European National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and the Goethe Institut – which housed the offices of the aforementioned organizations.

Most of my responsibilities early on involved social media management. I surveyed what platforms the organization had, how they were being used and created strategies and content to promote upcoming events, including the signature workshop of the Platform – the Global Cultural Leadership Programme (GCLP). Although I didn’t have the chance to travel with my team to actively participate in GCLP 2017 in Athens, Greece, I learned a lot about international cultural engagement and the depth of cultural workers concerning cultural diplomacy. All of the participants had different expertise, yet they were all working to improve the arts and culture within and outside of their home countries. It was also a chance for me to see program implementation that aligned with the goals outlined in the new EU strategy towards external cultural relations.

Later on in my experience, I researched issues in Turkey and met with policy experts at DG NEAR and DG EAC in preparation for More Europe’s cultural relations workshop later this year regarding EU-Turkey cultural relations. It was great learning more about the EU and different delegations while also learning about Turkey and its relationship with the EU. In addition to workshop planning, I also wrote a position advocacy paper on the importance of cultural diplomacy for both the EU and the US, highlighting strengths and areas of opportunity for both actors going forward.

Mary Johnson at More Europe.

Working with these organizations gave me hands-on experience in the cultural sector which allowed me to engage in cultural diplomacy – something I am extremely passionate about. I saw everything from arts funding initiatives to forming new partnerships and the role of governments in facilitating cultural relations endeavors. Prior to this, I knew I wanted to pursue cultural diplomacy long-term, but I wasn’t sure what that would flesh out as for a career. I left Brussels with a clear understanding of how the EU engages in cultural diplomacy and the variety of paths regarding cultural relations I can pursue.

Public Diplomacy Internships in Brussels

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Brian Neufuss Interns at UN’s Joint Inspection Unit

Brian Neufuss is a current joint JD/MAIR student at the Maxwell School. He participated in the Graduate Internships in Geneva Program this past summer, where he interned at the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations.

My name is Brian Neufuss and I am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am a joint Law and International Relations Masters student at Syracuse University and I completed my internship through the Global Program at the United Nations in Geneva. While in Geneva, I worked at the Joint Inspection Unit where we reviewed other UN organizations and offered recommendations to improve their delivery of services. The internship fit well with my joint Law/MAIR degree and provided an incredible professional experience that will certainly benefit my future career. After graduation, I would like to pursue a career in the U.S. Federal Government or International government and the global program in Geneva gave me a unique experience towards my professional development.

The Geneva experience was incredible. Geneva is a nice little city that sits on a beautiful lake on the western side of the Alps. Geneva is also unique because of its immense diversity. There are people living there from almost any country in the world and that offers an experience to work and live that is unique compared to almost any other city. For example, in my office of roughly 35 people, there was only one other American colleague. That diverse workplace is a particular highlight for my professional development. Geneva’s central location in Europe also offers incredible opportunities to travel including only a three-hour train to Paris. The international civil servants at the UN are also very understanding when it comes to time off and travel and they were very encouraging to take opportunities to see other places in Europe. I traveled to Budapest, Istanbul and Krakow over several weekends and it really created a valuable professional, cultural and educational experience.

I would encourage anyone to consider working in Geneva if they are interested in international government organizations. It was an incredible experience that is unmatched to any work experience I have had. The ability to travel and see the cities of Europe truly made my time in Geneva unforgettable.

Brian Neufuss in front of the Matterhorn

Graduate Internships in Geneva

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Jane Buchholz Works on Migration at the UN

Jane Buchholz is a current MAIR student at the Maxwell School. She participated in the Graduate Internships in Geneva Program this past summer,  interning at the UN’s International Organization for Migration.

I was interested in the Graduate Internships in Geneva program because my career goal was to work in the UN system, and at the time I was especially interested in working in headquarters instead of in a duty station. My area of interest in IR is migration. Therefore, I was very excited to be placed in the headquarters of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the International Partnerships Division (IPD), which deals primarily with managing IOM’s relationships with external organizations.

Jane visits the Matterhorn.

While with IPD, I helped to organize several meetings and events, most of which were connected to the Global Compact on Migration, which will be finalized next year and is expected to be an agreement governing migration similar to how the Paris Climate Accords govern environmental protection. As the UN Migration agency, IOM is deeply invested in the preparations and outcome of the Global Compact on Migration, and expect that the mission and structure of the organization may even change as a result of the Compact.

Jane in Gruyere.

My work also focused on entities called “Regional Consultative Processes” on migration. Regional Consultative Processes are meetings of migration experts or ministries from each country in a region or migration route. The meetings are non-binding and generally private, and participants use them to discuss best practices, concerns, and needs related to managing migration. This October, IOM will be hosting a global meeting of the Chairs (usually one of the countries in the process, represented by an Ambassador) and Secretariats of all Regional Consultative Processes, so that best practices can be shared globally. I helped a colleague in my division to invite track participation in the meeting, and to prepare a report on the outcome of last year’s meeting (also hosted by IOM in Geneva). I was also involved in creating brochures for IOM to publish, providing information on each global meeting that has occurred and on Regional Consultative Processes in general.

A window overlooking the city with Lake Geneva in the background.

My time with IPD was fascinating and showed me what working in headquarters in the UN system might feel like. I continue to be optimistic about the work that the UN (and especially the IOM) does, and am grateful that the Graduate Internships in Geneva program allowed me the chance to see that work up close.

Graduate Internships in Geneva

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Taylor Hamilton Sees Another Kind of Business Culture

Taylor is a current student in Maxwell’s joint MPA/MAIR program, which is a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Public Administration. She participated in the Singapore Summer Internship Program this past summer.

Even before learning of the university-sponsored internship program, I had always been intrigued with Singapore, for a few reasons. One reason is that I have dedicated my academic life to studying the cultures and economics of East Asia. Another aspect I found interesting was its political system. Though small, Singapore is the world’s most successful modern autocracy (although it is often referred to as an “illiberal democracy”). I found it a refreshing example in the face of the pro-democracy perspective touted in American academia. Moreover, if I wanted to live and work in Singapore, I could do so without learning another language (Americans. Amirite?).

Taylor Hamilton.

While in Singapore I worked for the Stewardship Asia Centre, a small non-profit endowed by Temasek Holdings. The small office afforded me a hands-on role with many of the projects the office had undertaken to promote corporate stewardship in East Asia and the Pacific. My writing and web development skills improved dramatically due to the nature of the content creation work I was assigned. I was regularly assigned research, which I would then have to present to one big-shot or another. However, these experiences were surprisingly secondary to the perspectives I was exposed to during my 10-week stay.

Singapore from above.

I must firstly admit that I initially held the unconscious assumption that since business was conducted in English my work environment in Singapore was going to be similar to that of the U.S. My normative assumptions went unchallenged for a couple weeks before I began to understand Singaporean office culture. The company hierarchy was built on the foundation that age and experience were necessary for effective leadership, with emphasis on the former. Due to the company’s relationship with the government, much consideration went into how influential people would be affected by our office’s actions (Did I mention that Temasek was led by the Prime Minister’s wife?). Furthermore, the way in which work was decided or problems were solved usually began with informal meetings among top management. In Western societies, we tend to frown upon CEOs having “backroom” dealings but my coworkers here have referred to these practices as the “Asian way” (their words not mine). I found out they were specifically referring to methods that were subtle and collaborative, rather than demanding and immodest.

Yet, even among these macro-level dynamics, my office easily demonstrated how the work performed by other interns and myself helps achieve the long-term goals of corporate stewardship promotion. I will forever appreciate the efforts of my supervisors in allowing me to see numerous projects from start to finish, providing me with more practical lessons in a few weeks than I have been afforded in some whole semesters.

Singapore’s Chinatown.

Singapore Summer Internships Program

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Alex Macdonald Gains International Business Experience in Singapore

Alex is currently completing his joint MAIR/MAECN, which is a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Arts in Economics. His internship was completed as part of the Singapore Summer Internship Program.

When we discuss the pivot to Asia in international relations, we usually refer to a realignment of US foreign policy. However, over the past twenty years, unprecedented Asian economic growth has led the whole global economy to pivot to Asia. While China usually takes the spotlight, the so-called “Asian Tiger” countries have played an essential role in this transformation. Exemplary of these countries is Singapore, which in the past fifty years has gone from being a minor colonial trading post to becoming one of the world’s most important ports and a major global financial hub.

Alex with some of his Pratt and Whitney co-workers at the Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar.

This summer I had the opportunity, through S.U. Abroad’s Singapore program, to immerse myself in the vibrant business culture of this incredible country. I spent the summer as a finance and management intern at Pratt and Whitney, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of military and commercial airplane engines. In my role, I was given a variety projects on which to work ranging from regular finance-related tasks, such as maintaining the monthly profit and loss report, to process improvement projects aimed at streamlining production, purchasing, and shipping to deal with the large amount of growth the company is experiencing.

In addition to the many finance and management related skills which I was able to further develop in my role, the opportunity to finally work in a region of the world which I had studied academically for so long was invaluable. As someone who hopes to work internationally in the private sector, this internship exposed me to a very different business culture from what I was used to and has given me a solid experiential foundation for my future in the international business world.

While I was in Singapore, I was also lucky enough to be able to take advantage of its proximity to the rest of South-East Asia and was able to do some traveling in my time off from work. Overall, I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to work in Singapore this summer. It was an amazing experience and has reaffirmed my interest in working in Asia as well as sparking an even deeper interest in South-East Asia in particular.

Alex at Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay.

Singapore Summer Internships Program

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Aaron Mwewa, Living My Dream at UNICEF in NYC

Aaron Mwewa is a Public Diplomacy student who will complete both a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Science in Public Relations by the spring of 2018.

Aaron’s first day at HQ in New York City.

This summer, I was privileged to live my dream — to intern at the United Nations Children’s Fund Headquarters in the Communications for Development (C4D) Section in New York. All of this was made possible thanks to Syracuse University’s robust alumni network. Being interested in the work of the U.N., I took a class with distinguished Prof. Catherine Bertini called “United Nations Organizations: Managing for Change.” Throughout the course, I met former Syracuse University students, including Ms. Shannon O’shea who connected me to Senior C4D Advisor Dr. Kerida Macdonald, under whom I currently work.

My supervisors were so happy with my performance that they decided to extend my internship until Nov. 14, 2017, which is for another three months approximately. I will be doing the extended part virtually and visit the New York office whenever I get the opportunity. What helped me to hit the ground running is the fact that I had been doing work with the same office even before the internship officially began.

This internship is a perfect fit for me, as my ambition is to become a thought leader in Africa in C4D, because I am convinced that communication must be at the heart of any sustainable development effort as it can help to bring those on the margins of society to the table. When women and children are brought to the table, their families have a chance to benefit more from any key social outcomes. For me, there could be no better stage than UNICEF on which I could practice and learn about this evolving field.

While at UNICEF, I helped develop a draft research outline for the forthcoming research on the digital engagement of youths in conversations on developmental issues. This research will take place in 37 countries. I was also essential to putting together theatre for development best practices through a compendium which is scheduled to be published soon. With the assistance of the country offices, I packaged many stories that will be used in the book.
The highlight of my internship was being asked to edit the final draft of the C4D online course designed for UNICEF employees and those who are passionate about the field. This course will help to create other champions like me, who will use C4D to create real impact in the lives of children by giving them a voice. This way, I would have contributed in real Maxwellian fashion to making the world a better place, because a voice for children is a voice for the future.