Janessa Price is a Public Diplomacy student who will graduate with a Master of Science in Public Relations (MSPR) and a Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) through the Newhouse School and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She wrote this account of her internship in Geneva last summer.
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern in Geneva, Switzerland with the United Nations Office at the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). Pursuing a career with the United Nations has been a goal of mine for quite some time so I was very excited to be presented with this opportunity.
The JIU is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations of most of the UN’s programs, funds and specialized agencies.
While the JIU typically focuses on monitoring and evaluation, this year the Unit is celebrating its 50th anniversary and opted to launch a communications campaign to highlight the Unit’s work and achievements since its establishment. Since the Unit does not have someone internally who would typically perform this type of work, I as a public diplomacy student, had the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills I had acquired both at the Maxwell and Newhouse schools to help coordinate a series of activities and events to celebrate the Unit’s 50 years.
Since I’ve started at the JIU, my main responsibilities have included:
- Providing support to the organization for events and the preparation of the communications campaign
- Preparing and reviewing a series of public information/communications papers on various aspects of the history and the work of JIU
- Designing and procuring a number of visual communication products to accompany written material
- Drafting various materials (invitations, letters, etc) for outreach to various members of the United Nations and Geneva diplomatic community
My experience thus far has given me a glimpse into what work at a UN organization would be like, specifically in a communications role. While the role entailed a great deal of responsibility, I’ve felt thoroughly prepared because of my education at Syracuse University.
I’ve had the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of JIU while simultaneously getting a better understanding of the United Nations system as a whole. Additionally, living and working in Geneva this summer has allowed me to meet with and learn from a number of individuals working with various international organizations, including a public diplomacy alum! Coming to Geneva has been one of the best decisions I have made both on a personal and professional level and I am happy I was able to take advantage of this opportunity.