Tag Archives: Fall

Chris Conrad, Interning with International Justice Mission–“Justice is Our Middle Name”

Chris Conrad recently completed his Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) degree. While completing coursework in Syracuse, he also worked on the Black Spots Project: Mapping Global Insecurity at the Maxwell School’s Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs.

Chris Conrad went sailing for the first time ever with his Contingency Ops team. Despite the cold and windy conditions, it was a day filled with fun and laughter

Several years ago, I read Gary Haugen’s The Locust Effect, which describes a plague of everyday violence against the poor. This violence keeps them in situations of poverty, while offenders – committing abuses such as human trafficking, forced labor, and violence against women and children – escape with impunity. To break the cycle of violence and poverty requires transforming dysfunctional justice systems, protecting vulnerable communities, and bringing criminals to justice for their crimes. This is the goal of International Justice Mission (IJM) through its operations around the world. IJM is partnering with governments, local communities and a network of supporters to “rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible”

Fast forward to my time at the Maxwell School, where I accepted an internship with IJM in Washington, D.C. for Fall 2015. The internship provided me an opportunity to combine my studies on security and transnational crime with advocacy for human rights and the justice movement. I worked closely with IJM’s Contingency Operations team, drafting safety and security policies, researching emerging global threats, compiling daily news briefings for senior leadership, and monitoring security events in IJM’s areas of operation.

My favorite part about working with IJM was the lively, encouraging atmosphere I encountered every day at work. The staff at IJM are some of the kindest and most encouraging people I’ve met, and they made the internship an affirming experience for all of us interns. Likewise, I grew close to the cohort of interns I worked with, who displayed a variety of knowledge and skills and a passion for justice.

Another highlight from the experience was attending IJM’s Advocacy Summit in support of the End Modern Slavery Initiative. Throughout the day, we met with U.S. Senators and Representatives from our home states, either thanking them for their support of the bill or asking them to be a co-sponsor.

The entire semester was an amazing time to learn and experience new things, and I feel confident as I take these next steps after graduation from the Maxwell School. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement along the way!

Attending a conference with Maxwell alum Kean Clifford, on the roof of D.C.s Newseum.

Attending a conference with Maxwell alum Kean Clifford, on the roof of DC’s Newseum.

Selfie with IJM’s CEO, Gary Haugen and other interns at IJM HQ. He delivered us delicious brownies made by his wife, Jan.

Selfie of IJM’s CEO, Gary Haugen, and other interns at IJM HQ. He delivered us delicious brownies made by his wife, Jan.

In front of the U.S. Capitol with other constituents from Michigan for IJM’s Advocacy Summit. We were on our way to meet with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) in support of the End Modern Slavery Initiative. (See http://news.ijm.org/early-christmas-gift-for-anti-slavery-efforts-as-congress-approves-25-million)

In front of the U.S. Capitol with other constituents from Michigan for IJM’s Advocacy Summit. We were on our way to meet with Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) in support of the End Modern Slavery Initiative. (See http://news.ijm.org/early-christmas-gift-for-anti-slavery-efforts-as-congress-approves-25-million)

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

From Geneva to Pretoria, Kara Coughlin Builds Experience at IOM

Kara Coughlin is a joint MPA/MAIR student who interned at the IOM in Geneva, Switzerland during her summer semester and in Pretoria, South Africa during her fall semester.

This summer I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in their headquarters office in Geneva, Switzerland. I worked within the IOM Development Fund (IDF) on project development, monitoring, and evaluation. The goal of IDF is to provide “seed” money to governments in developing countries for projects that build capacity to better manage migration in the future. These projects focus on developing policy frameworks, training government officials, building infrastructure, raising awareness, and developing guidelines and manuals to better protect migrants and enhance governments’ ability to manage migration in a humane and orderly manner.

Working with the IDF team was an incredible learning experience for me. IDF projects cover a wide variety of migration thematic areas and are implemented in IOM country offices all over the world. As a result, I was able to learn about key migration issues in each region of the world and be in constant contact with IOM staff members from all different country offices. My role was to assist country offices in developing project proposals, as well as edit and review interim reports, final reports, and extension requests. Through these tasks I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how projects are monitored and evaluated, and the importance of designing projects with well thought out indicators.

In addition to reviewing reports, I conducted a review of completed IDF projects that focused on the prevention of human trafficking. The goal of this review was to evaluate methods used for project development and implementation to better inform IDF on how counter-trafficking related projects can be more sustainable. Sustainability is a key factor for IDF and refers to how well governments and relevant stakeholders maintain project outcomes once the IDF funding period is completed. To assess sustainability, I developed a survey that was sent to each country office that implemented one of the 18 counter-trafficking projects being reviewed. I analyzed the data from the surveys and wrote an in-depth report outlining the project characteristics that led to the greatest level of outcome sustainability, as well as the main challenges that these projects faced in maintaining outcomes. Through this project I was able to develop a better understanding of project evaluation and obtain valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of methods used to prevent human trafficking.

Interning at the IOM in Geneva gave me the opportunity to use the skills I learned from my courses at Maxwell and gain indispensible knowledge regarding the phases of project development. Through this experience, I was able to seek out another internship opportunity with IOM for the fall semester and am currently in Pretoria, South Africa interning at the IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa. I am very grateful for Global Programs Award for supporting me in these endeavors. These experiences have been pivotal to my educational goals and have given me the practical skills needed to be successful when entering the workforce.

Kara Coughlin stands in front of the Nelson Mandela statue in South Africa

Kara Coughlin stands in front of the Nelson Mandela statue in South Africa

Kara Coughlin above Lake Geneva

Kara Coughlin above Lake Geneva

Food Security & Policy Class in Rome

On Friday, December 11, Catherine Bertini’s class on food security wrapped up here in Syracuse. But, not before PAIA students traveled to Rome to visit key international organizations focusing on hunger, nutrition, and agriculture.  As the former director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Catherine Bertini was able to gain valuable access to the WFP, FAO, and IFAD in Rome and arrange for world renowned guest lecturers on food security such as Sir Gordon Conway.

Find two articles on the class’ activities published on the PAIA Insider blog and SU University News.

When in Rome…Learn How to Solve World Hunger!

Excerpt:

This past week Maxwell offered 24 of my classmates and me the unique opportunity to attend a class on Food Security in Rome. Our classroom was the heart of the UN operations to eradicate hunger: the World Food Program (WFP), the (FAO) and (IFAD) and leading our class was the woman that transformed humanitarian work on food security as we know it, Professor Catherine Bertini.

In what was truly a learning marathon, for three days we visited the headquarters of the WFP, arguably the most effective humanitarian organization in the UN system. We learned the ins-outs of their operations, hearing from experienced passionate practitioners that frankly conveyed the challenges and opportunities of a career in humanitarian aid and international management, intertwined with stories from their years of experience in the field in difficult places like Sudan, North Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[. . .]

Read entire article>>

Maxwell Students Travel to Rome for Unique Food Security Class

Excerpt:

The course allowed students to meet and learn from experts at the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on topics ranging from the logistics of food aid distribution to the role of gender and climate change in the forming of policies. Speakers such as Stefano Porretti, director of emergency preparedness and support response for the WFP; Adolfo Brizzi, director of IFAD’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division; and Anna Lartey, director of FAO’s Nutrition Division, were just a few of the experts who shared their experiences tackling food security in an ever-changing global context.[. . .]

Read entire article>>

Catherine Bertini and Food Security and Policy class at WFP in Rome

Catherine Bertini and Food Security and Policy class at WFP in Rome

Vicki Tien, Public Information Intern at UNHCR in Washington DC

Lin Tien, Public Diplomacy student

Vicki Tien, UNHCR in Washington, DC, USA

Vicki Tien formerly interned at the World Food Programme in Geneva as part of the Geneva Summer Practicum. She is a MAIR student who will graduate in December.

This fall I had the opportunity to work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Washington, DC. UNHCR is the UN refugee agency mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. UNCHR’s Washington Office on the other hand is a regional office of UNHCR which specifically covers the United States as well as 27 countries and overseas territories in the Caribbean.

As a Public Information intern, I work closely with the Public Information officers and UNHCR Spokespersons for the US. I am responsible for several tasks, such as:

  • Monitoring news related to refugee issues and immigration policies in the US and the Caribbean, and preparing daily reports
  • Responding to requests from the US media and the public
  • Providing support for UNHCR campaigns and pitching to major media outlets
  • Disseminating press releases and other relevant documents on a timely basis
  • Attending congressional hearings and public policy forums pertaining to UNHCR and briefing staff.

In addition to my duties in the Public Information Unit, I also provide assistance to staff in other units as needed. For instance, I provided support to our External Relations officers during the High Commissioner’s visit to Washington. I also work directly with our Regional Representative for the Washington Office’s weekly reports.

There are several learning opportunities during the internship at UNHCR. In the beginning of the internship, units like the Resettlement Unit and the Protection Unit would provide intern training, which are open to every intern from every unit. From time to time, heads of different regional offices, such as UNHCR’s Jordan Representative and Americas Bureau Director, would visit the Washington Office to share the latest refugee situations in their regions with DC staff and interns. There is also a weekly UN in DC Brown Bag Series, featuring different speakers from various UN offices to introduce the mandates of different UN agencies and share their career advice with the interns.

Due to a surge in media attention for the Syrian refugee crisis around the globe, UNHCR’s Public Information Unit has been flooded with hundreds of media requests during the past few months. It is such a unique learning experience for me to join UNHCR under these circumstances as it has allowed me to gain first-hand insight into the work of UNHCR and see how it is handling and managing the current crisis. It has also expanded my knowledge on refugee issues and US resettlement processes as well as further building my experience and skills in the field of communications, particularly in media relations and social media. Interning with UNHCR has been an invaluable experience, and I am truly grateful for every experience I am able to have here.

High Commissioner António Guterres launches a new UNHCR report, Women on the Run, at the Wilson Center

High Commissioner António Guterres launches a new UNHCR report, Women on the Run, at the Wilson Center

Vicki Tien carries a giant backpack around DC to raise awareness for refugee children! This backpack is part of UNHCR’s “the Tour around the World in a Backpack” Campaign and has traveled in more than 10 countries collecting messages and gifts of support and solidarity for refugee children.

Vicki Tien carries a giant backpack around DC to raise awareness for refugee children! This backpack is part of UNHCR’s “the Tour around the World in a Backpack” Campaign and has traveled in more than 10 countries collecting messages and gifts of support and solidarity for refugee children.

Backpack promo pic

Greg Flatow – Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability

During the fall semester of 2013, I participated in an internship program with the Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS). I completed this internship while taking intensive Arabic courses at the University of Tunis Carthage.

University of Tunis - Carthage

University of Tunis – Carthage
Photo: Greg Flatow

My internship provided me with a forum to practice my newly acquired language skills, while simultaneously affording me the opportunity to gain professional work experience with an international organization. Due to my experiences at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which provided me with the necessary skillset to engage in an internship organization, I was able to actively participate in my internship program and enhance the productivity of my organization.

My activities at TAMSS varied significantly throughout the semester, and I have been utilized on an as-needed basis by the different offices in the organization. My first project entailed constructing information packets for Tunisians in the informal economy. Many Tunisians are not cognizant of the robust labor code in Tunisia and the governmental programs established to help informal workers enter formal employment. My objective was to summarize the benefits of formal employment in a concise document that could later be translated into Arabic.

I also worked on the Women in Democracy project, which focuses on augmenting Tunisians’ knowledge on democratic practices and preparing Tunisians for the upcoming elections. Local volunteers collected surveys on the population’s knowledge and interest in democratic affairs, and I worked with TAMSS employees to compile the data.

Additionally, I assisted a colleague with a research project on female entrepreneurship. Her intent is to analyze trends in the post-Arab Spring era, including the rise of Islamism and a more democratic government, in order to assess the impact that these changes have on female entrepreneurs. She is an American professor without a background in Arabic, and I assisted her in translating Arabic surveys and entering data into Excel spreadsheets.

My studies at the Maxwell School have pertained to security and foreign affairs, and it is my desire to acquire a governmental position that relates to these concentrations. I believe that many governmental agencies actively seek individuals who have previously engaged in international work and language studies. Through my work at TAMSS, I worked on various projects in the organization (some of which are funded by the US State Department), gained potential references for future job applications, and proved my ability to work in a foreign environment. It is my hope that this experience will provide a bridge to a desirable job in the future.

Diplomacy and Development Organization

As parts of the United States government, the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have complicated organizational systems. Given the interlocking tasks and multiple hierarchical layers, it is important for those interested in working in the system to have a working knowledge of these organization structures as they consider their potential career path. Thus, we’ve prepared a quick guide to all of the major offices in both organizations for your use. Continue reading

Alex W. – The Public Affairs Sector in Washington

Where's the TPS reports?

The inside of a typical office building in Washington – Souce: Voice of America

This fall, I interned at a public affairs consulting firm. Thanks to this experience I learned a tremendous amount about the professional expectations of Washington DC and the political culture of our nation’s capital. Continue reading