Tag Archives: UNICEF

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.

Corena Sharp, Advocacy & Innovative Partnerships at UNICEF

Corena Sharp is a MAIR student currently interning at the United States Department of State’s Office of International Labor Affairs in Washington, DC. She interned at UNICEF as part of the Graduate Internships in Geneva program.

This summer I traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for an internship with UNICEF. While the headquarters of UNICEF lives in New York, nestled next to Lac Leman and a botanical garden is UNICEF’s Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division. Within the Division, I am a part of the Advocacy and Innovative Partnerships Unit.

What This Means

UNICEF has three main parts: Headquarters, Country Offices, and National Committees. National Committees are their own NGOs who are affiliated with—but not technically under the UNICEF administrative umbrella in rich countries—as compared with Country Offices that are direct extensions of UNICEF in developing countries. In practical terms, this means that National Committees cannot run any programming and must get permission to use UNICEF branding. The existence of National Committees is based in the agreement that UNICEF’s true focus needs to be where children are most vulnerable, yet recognizes that rich countries are by no means perfect advocates for the rights of children. The 34 National Committees fundraise and run political advocacy campaigns to help improve the situation of children domestically and abroad.

This is where my team comes in. We help coordinate between the National Committees and Headquarters and give support in a variety of ways. I participated in two Working Groups on Humanitarian Emergency Advocacy and the SDGs. I helped National Committees strategize and learn from each other, by creating documents of best practices and drafting content for UNICEF’s intranet.

One of my primary projects was to design a 125-page interactive document that maps the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the Sustainable Development Goals. It capitalizes on the momentum of the SDGs by exploring the inextricable links between the rights of children and each goal. When I completed the document, I helped develop the dissemination materials. The document will be circulated across the organization as well as to external partners, such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

I was also given the freedom to explore human rights outside of the office. While the 32nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council met, I was encouraged to go and attend meetings. My two favorite days were watching the council vote to appoint an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and attending a panel on ‘Violence against indigenous women and girls and its root causes.’

This was truly an amazing experience that will carry close to my heart as I continue to work for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.

Corena Sharp in the village of Gruyere, Switzerland in June

Corena Sharp in the village of Gruyere, Switzerland in June

Learn more about the Graduate Internships in Geneva Program

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Na Ra Kim, Private Sector Engagement at UNICEF

Na Ra Kim is working on dual master’s degrees, an M.A. in International Relations and an M.S. in Public Relations, as a Public Diplomacy student at Syracuse University. She interned at UNICEF in Geneva, Switzerland last summer.

I have always believed protecting children’s rights is the most important task for civil society to be aware of and act on, and my interest in children and their rights was bolstered while studying in the Public Diplomacy program at the Maxwell School.

I interned at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Geneva, Switzerland from May to August 2015. I worked under the Knowledge Management (KM) Specialist and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team within the Private Sector Engagement Section in the UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnership division.

As a Private Sector Engagement Officer, I provided ongoing technical support for knowledge management information on issues related to UNICEF’s private sector engagement. This included uploading content to their intranet site/Internet website, developing templates for collecting information, and drafting case studies and other related materials for newsletters. My role also included participating in conference calls, creating presentation materials and press releases, and supporting data collection and statistical evaluation. Additionally, I researched CSR in different industries (e.g., Food and Beverage, Garment, ICT, Extractives) and the way in which those sectors affect children’s rights and youth development. I also took notes at the Human Rights Council 29th session for the CSR team.

From this internship, I learned about development policy, advocacy, and communication strategy in general, but I mostly realized how important it is to share information and documents within the organization and how it affects the targeting of civil society and leads to its participation.

I would like to add it was a great chance to work with UNICEF staff members and other interns. I was fortunate to work with incredibly nice and sincere supervisors who truly wanted me to learn from my internship, as well as with interns who all encouraged each other to accomplish our goals. Also, it was an honor to meet incredible UN people, ambassadors, representatives and spokespeople during conferences and events. It was a turning point of my life and I really want to recommend this opportunity to everyone in Maxwell.

In addition to my internship, Professor Schleiffer’s lectures also inspired me a lot. He helped me understand the UN system and the history of international organizations in Geneva. Presentations from speakers who currently work at the UN, International Organizations and the Permanent Mission, were the part of his class that I definitely loved the most.

No doubts, Geneva is the most beautiful city to work, travel and dream in. You will find yourself enjoying cheese, chocolate and wine around the nearby lake after work. That’s Geneva.

Nara Kim, at the UN Headquarter, in Geneva

Nara Kim at UN Headquarter in Geneva

Nicole Gerke Reaches Closer to Her Dream at UNICEF

Nicole Gerke is a MAIR student in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She interned at UNICEF Headquarters in New York City during the summer of 2015.

 My summer in UNICEF’s Headquarters

When I was around 9 years old, I decided to change my answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. It was a big step for me, because it implied acknowledging that petting animals had fallen on my list of priorities. You see, in the beginning my answer was that I wanted to become a veterinarian. But something had changed in me, and I felt like I could no longer stand seeing poverty, racism, and injustice in my country, without doing anything about it.

The more I learned the more I realized that this was not only a problem in my country, it was a problem everywhere. But I also learned that there was a place full of people like me, who also wanted to help those in need around the world – it was called the United Nations. So my answer to the question changed; now I wanted to become “the president of the United Nations”.

More than 17 years later, the feelings 9-year-old me had have not changed. And although I would no longer say that I want to become precisely the “president of the United Nations”, my personal and career goals are still to work for the most vulnerable of the world.

Now you can tell why I cried of happiness when I got the news that I would be working for UNICEF Headquarters this summer.

In June, I started my internship with the Post-2015 Development Agenda Unit from UNICEF. During the time I was there I got to collaborate analyzing the various drafts of the Sustainable Development Goals outcome document, assisting in the generation of UNICEF’s responses to these drafts. I also got to collaborate closely with other Child‑Friendly Agencies (Save the Children, World Vision, SOS Children’s Villages, Plan, and Child Fund) in joint responses to the drafts of the SDG outcome document. The goal was to have a strong agenda for children, especially the most vulnerable.  I also got the opportunity to cover the intergovernmental negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda, where I got to learn precisely how documents of global impact are generated. And finally, once the document was informally adopted, I collaborated in the analysis of the implications this document will have for children in the next 15 years.

Overall, the experience was absolutely enriching. From the process of analyzing drafts and writing responses from a UN perspective, to being able to witness the negotiations, and doing advocacy work for the benefit of children worldwide, it was a wonderful experience. I did not only gain in-depth knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the opportunities and challenges they bring, but I also learned about intergovernmental negotiations at the United Nations, and about UNICEF’s role in this process.

Now with my internship over and the post-2015 development agenda ready for official adoption this September, I am eager to continue to work for the implementation of the agenda. I feel lucky and incredibly privileged to have been a part of its preparation, and I am enormously thankful to the Maxwell School, the Global Programs Awards, and Fulbright for giving me the unique opportunity to work at UNICEF’s Headquarters this summer.

Nicole Gerke Standing at the UNICEF photo zone

Nicole Gerke at UNICEF

Celina Menzel, Gaining Valuable Experience in the United Nations in New York

 

UN Headquarters, New York City, USA

UN Headquarters, New York City, USA

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.

Celina Menzel at a UN Headquarters staff BBQ

Celina Menzel at a UN Headquarters staff BBQ