As a UN-related agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is charged with coordinating with States, NGOs, and international organizations to ensure that migration occurs in a safe, orderly, regular, and humane fashion. I’ve been completing an internship in IOM’s Migration Policy Research Division, the office that guides and informs the international migration policy arena based on the expertise collected from all over the world.
Much of my time over my internship has been focused on the flagship publication of IOM, World Migration Report 2020. As we approach the final months before the Report’s release date in December, sources need verification, visuals need a second look, and the digit of every number needs to be checked against the referenced statistic. Since many academic institutions trust IOM outputs as the backstop for their own publications, IOM must ensure that the reporting of all empirical findings passes the highest level of scrutiny.
IOM does an excellent job at ensuring that interns receive a professional experience that is rigorous. Already, significant research responsibilities have come to my desk, including the drafting of country migration briefs and data visualization for various publications. In addition, I am one of the coordinating IOM officials responsible for organizing and marketing the IOM Headquarters Lunchtime Seminars, a monthly event in which a visiting scholar gives a presentation, a Q&A session, and an interview on a topic related to migration. By December, I will be supporting the research team as it prepares for the meeting of the IOM Council as well as preparations for the first Global Refugees Forum, all taking place here in Geneva.
Work and home life share common themes. In Geneva, since nearly everyone comes from a different part of the world, the topic of migration is never far from discussion. I came here hoping to learn more about the European experience of migration as a sort of case study that could be compared with the policy response seen in the United States. Already, I’ve learned so much.
Adam Sawyer is a MAIR student who has been interning at IOM since last summer. He will graduate in December with six months experience interning at IOM and after completing a course in Geneva featuring high profile guest speakers from the international system.