Celina Menzel is a dual degree MAIR/Atlantis student in Syracuse University.
From May to July 2015, I did my internship at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York.
Since my internship took place in the development section of the Division of Economic Affairs, my own responsibilities evolved around development-related topics such as:
- Health, including emergency responses to Ebola and other epidemic diseases, non‑communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and rights, antimicrobial resistances, etc.
- Migration, including refugee and IDP issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis
- Food security and nutrition, particularly interventions by WFP and FAO
- UNICEF interventions, particularly humanitarian action and emergency responses as well as long-term development measures
- South-South Cooperation and Triangular cooperation
- Reforming Peacebuilding and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, particularly the role that social services and dialogue may play
- Support to Haiti and the ad-hoc advisory group
- The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including their implementation in countries affected by conflict and crises
My daily responsibilities mostly included participation in different sessions and events that were held at the UN Headquarters or organized by the member states and then report back to the Permanent Mission and the Headquarters of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. For example, I attended sessions at the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Executive Board of UNICEF, and different thematic Side-Events. Moreover, I took part in informal negotiations concerning draft resolutions as well as in different conferences (e.g. the Ebola conference in July) and conducted my own research on various topics that were of interest to me.
I personally feel like I gained a lot of knowledge and new skills during this internship. So far, the focus of my studies was mostly on conflict, security and post-conflict reconstruction. One of the reasons why I chose this internship position was that I wanted to expand my focus and learn more about long-term development in post-conflict settings because I believe that it is important for sustained stability and peace. Therefore, it was very valuable for me to deal with topics that I did not know that much about before. Moreover, I learned a lot about the daily work at the Permanent Mission and the United Nations Headquarters, the decision-making processes, the way interventions are designed and implemented, the importance of sufficient political will, etc.
In conclusion, my internship was very insightful for me. I gained a lot of knowledge – content-wise and skill-wise – and gained valuable experience. Particularly the relation to my supervisor, her supportive and encouraging conduct towards me, her eagerness to show me every facet of her work, and her willingness to entrust me with real responsibilities allowed me to have a very productive time during my internship.