International Organizations

Makany Toure In Geneva, the Peace Capital of Europe

Waterfronts, mountains and chocolate, a combination that could never go wrong for me. Europe has always been appealing to me due to the similarities with my home country, a former French colony. As such I was very excited to move to Geneva for the semester. I began my internship at the interagency division of the World Food Program in Geneva in the late summer of 2019. I arrived in this charming city, full of pretty lights, eager to discover the next five months and anxious about the work environment and the cultural differences of this tightly knitted community. The first piece of advice that I received upon arrival was “always be on time in Geneva, not too early and not too late, just right on time”. It was from the taxi driver who took me from the airport to my hotel, leaving me to ponder on these first words from a local.

Makany Toure in Geneva
Makany Toure in Geneva

This advice came to have such a greater meaning due to the entire city of Geneva working on a tightly timed balance that did not allow for disorganization. Particularly in the position that I held as an intern, I had the role to attend multiple meetings a day and to keep the office updated on partner activities in Geneva. My daily activities required a lot of movement across the city and the UN Palais des Nations where I sat across ambassadors, country representatives, and chairpersons. As such, timing was crucial to meet the busy requirements of meeting attendee schedules. Arriving even a minute late to a meeting could cost a report its entire significance. Soon enough, all my activities adapted to the Geneva style: disciplined, discreet and efficient.

My experience in Geneva was one of the most enriching times of my life, I expanded my network and learned valuable professional skills. Geneva now feels like a second home to me and I plan on using my connections to move back to Switzerland as soon as the opportunity presents itself upon graduation.

Makany Toure is an MPA/MAIR student currently working as a part time consultant at the World Bank and APCO Worldwide as part of the Maxwell-in-Washington program.

MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
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Askar Salikhov Opens a Door to Fieldwork

For two months, I interned at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Accra, Ghana. IOM is a UN-related agency that manages migration globally. Its mission is to promote safe and orderly migration that benefits all. Many of its responsibilities include assisting government agencies with border management, raising awareness about the dangers of irregular migration, combating human trafficking, helping migrants return to the country of origin, and other activities. The mission in Ghana focuses particularly on child trafficking in the Volta Lake, bringing back migrants stuck in Libya and Niger, and building resilience among communities against push and pull factors of irregular migration.

Representatives from the University of Ghana Center for Migration Studies meet with Syracuse University students
Representatives from the University of Ghana Center for Migration Studies meet with Syracuse University students to exchange information about ongoing project relating to migration in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa

During my internship, I’ve worked with two colleagues from Syracuse University, Esther Chung and Jingxuan Wang, on two major assignments relating to child trafficking and assisted voluntary return and reintegration. Our team worked with project managers and assistants to collect visibility materials from victims of trafficking and returnees. Our purpose was to take their experiences and produce engaging narratives that help inform parents and potential migrants about the dangers of child trafficking in the Volta Lake and irregular migration through the Mediterranean corridor. Additionally, we had the chance to take part in a youth and migration conference, income-generating brainstorm sessions with community leaders, and one-on-one meetings with academic partners at a local university.

From the beginning, my objectives were to get exposure to fieldwork activities, connect with practitioners within the milieu of migration and grow my network, learn new skills relating to project design, development, and implementation, and have a positive impact on the mission of IOM and its beneficiaries. I believe that my time with IOM has opened a door for me in development fieldwork, created lasting relationships with colleagues from all over the world, taught me the basics of project conceptualization, and left me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Askar Salikhov is a recent graduate of the MAIR program. He completed his degree in Washington, DC while interning for the U.S. Department of State. Askar was part of the last class to participate in the Survey of Current Issues in African Migration program, but IOM Ghana will still consider students as interns based off their experiences working with Maxwell students for a number of years.

Askar Salikhov, Jingxuan Wang, and Esther Chung pose for a photograph with project managers Akpene Amenumey and Victoria Klimova, project assistant Daniel Tagoe, and IOM intern Bowie Ko on the last day of the internship
SU Students Askar Salikhov (center), Jingxuan Wang (5th from L), and Esther Chung (6th from L) pose for a photograph with IOM project managers Akpene Amenumey (L) and Victoria Klimova (2nd from L), project assistant Daniel Tagoe (3rd from L), and IOM intern Bowie Ko (far R) on the last day of the internship
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Karen Reitan Learns How Council of Europe Functions

This summer, I spent my time interning at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The Council is an intergovernmental organization with 47 member states, working to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law within its jurisdiction and beyond. As I am currently working toward master’s degrees in both Public Administration and International Relations this presented an opportunity for me to gain insight into both my areas of interest simultaneously. Due to its sheer size the Council is a highly bureaucratic body, with slow progress. At the same time, however, this bureaucracy is also what allows the organization to be effective once decisions have been made, and the European Court of Human Rights allows for actual adjudication of breaches to agreements.

Karen Reitan in Strasbourg
Karen Reitan in Petit France, Strasbourg

My main work assignment focused on various research projects relating to human rights, with my main emphasis being on environmental issues as these relate to human rights. I also wrote some speech drafts, proofread documents to be sent out and published, and took notes at different meetings. The most valuable experience for me during my internship, however, was the opportunity to experience how the organization functions. In Europe it is extremely rare for internships to be unpaid, so as I did not get any monetary compensation for my contributions it was important to my supervisor that I get as much out of my experience as possible. She thus both allowed and encouraged me to attend meetings and sessions during which I did not have work to do per say, but where I could observe and learn. To me as a student this is far more valuable than a minimum wage salary.

Karen Reitan with a coworker at the Council of Europe
Karen Reitan with a coworker at the Council of Europe

I would recommend this internship experience to anyone who has the opportunity to apply, especially if this is a field you wish to enter into upon graduation. As an international student I did not initially consider going “abroad” to be a priority for me, but this allowed me to gain more connections in Europe and has been a great improvement to be experience.

Karen Reitan, Welcome Event
Karen Reitan at Bienvenue à Strasbourg (Welcome to Strasbourg) in the Palais Rohan, where professionals from the city and people who newly moved there come together
Karen Reitan with her wonderful host mother in Strasbourg
Karen Reitan with her wonderful host mother in Strasbourg

 

Karen Reitan in Liechtenstein
Karen Reitan in Liechtenstein
Karen Reitan, Swiss Alps, Hiking
Karen Reitan on an overnight hiking trip in the Swiss Alps
MPA/MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
SU’s Strasbourg Center
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Henry Mau, In the heart of Europe

My name is Henry Mau and I spent my summer working for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. But hold on: What exactly is the Council of Europe? Often confused with “something from the European Union”, the CoE is actually not affiliated to the European Institutions. In fact, it is older (70 years) and has more members (48), including Russia and Turkey. It was the CoE that came up with the European flag and its anthem. Ever since its founding, the CoE has been operating in the fields of Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. The most notable institution that is part of the CoE is the European Court of Human Rights, where every citizen within the CoE’s jurisdiction can appeal to. But this is just, let’s say, the professional side of my journey in Strasbourg.

Henry Mau at the Council of Europe
Henry Mau with friend Emanuela, visiting the European Parliament. A living example of the cultural exchange that Europe stands for.

On a more personal note, moving to France for the summer let me experience the vibrant cultural melting pot that the so-called “European Capital” really is. Strasbourg, the largest city in France’s Alsace region, is a battleground of Europe’s bloody history and at the same time an uplifting symbol for the union of Europe. The European Union, a guarantor for peace among its member states for more than 70 years, is arguably one of the greatest achievements of humankind, a textbook example for intercultural understanding.

Myself an Italian-turned German, the mere fact of being able to cross the Franco-German border without stopping, let alone passport controls or an actually visible border check point, is just one of the countless benefits that the European Union provides for its citizens. But it certainly is enough to preserve the flame in my heart burning for the European integration project.

Henry Mau is a student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, where he will complete a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program
SU’s Strasbourg Center
The Maxwell School
The Hertie School of Governance

Adam Sawyer Works on World Migration Report for IOM

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.

Adam Sawyer Overlooking Geneva
MAIR Program at the Maxwell School
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Carol Tojeiro, Doing Business at World Bank

This summer I had the opportunity to join the Doing Business department at the World Bank. Doing Business is an annual flagship report which measures business regulation in 190 economies. Each economy is ranked according to 11 sets of indicators. There are combined into an overall “ease of doing business” ranking.

Read the Report: http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/reports/global-reports/doing-business-2019

I was part of the Registering Property indicator, where I worked with my team to measure the time, costs, and procedures needed to conduct a transfer of property between two local parties. We closely followed the Doing Business methodology, which you can read more about on http://www.doingbusiness.org/methodology.

Working in the Doing Business department was a truly rewarding experience. It did not only enhance my communication and analytical skills but also taught me about the strategies and components that go behind a ranking report. The working environment was also very international, which made me feel very welcome and taught me about other working cultures.

Carol Tojeiro at World Bank

MAIR/MAECN Program at the Maxwell School

Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Carol Tojeiro Featured in Cornell Policy Review

Carol Tojeiro at the UN Migration Agency in Ghana

Xiaotong Liu Helps Detect Global Crisis at UNDPA

I received an internship offer from the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) at the UN Headquarters in New York City this summer. The DPA plays a central role in United Nations efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflict around the world. The DPA monitors and assesses global political developments with an eye to detecting potential crises before they erupt and devising effective responses. The Department provides support to the Secretary-General (SG) and his envoys, as well as to UN political missions deployed around the world to help defuse crises or promote lasting solutions to conflict. The DPA is divided into two parts: Regional Divisions and Non-Regional Divisions. I was recruited by the Asia and the Pacific Division of the Regional Offices.

Effective policy responses begin with sound and timely information and analysis – having a pulse on events as they develop. Primarily through the work of its regional divisions, DPA monitors developments and provides the Secretary-General with analytical reports and briefing notes to inform his decisions and shape his continuous diplomacy with the UN Member States, regional and non-governmental organizations and other actors. Senior DPA officials are called on frequently to brief the UN Security Council on global political developments, the status of UN peacemaking efforts and the activities of UN political missions in the field.

My major duties were preparing background papers for summits in the Asia and the Pacific region, the General Assembly, SG’s visits to the region, and SG, Under SG and Assistant SG’s meeting with different nations’ UN missions’ permanent representatives. In addition, I contributed to writing regional issues reports, which advocate for regional and global solutions to international problems. I also carried out research regarding economic assistance from Asian nations to Pacific islands countries for infrastructure development. My research provided the teams with more information about how South-South cooperation builds sustainability and resilience in the Pacific region to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

My graduate study’s focus is on East Asia and the Pacific. Therefore, the UN internship was a perfect opportunity for me to explore what issues are UN concerns in the region and how the UN works on them. My supervisor offered me opportunities to work on almost all the issues that I am interested in. Other staff in the Division also welcome me discussing my questions with them. Besides daily work, I can access all the open meetings at the UN Headquarters and listen to ambassadors discussing the current international issues.

The experience in DPA was genuinely eye-opening. I consolidated my knowledge in East Asia and the Pacific and obtained an overview of how the UN functions in global affairs.

Xiaotong Liu at UNDPA

MAIR/MSPR Program at the Maxwell and Newhouse Schools

Kirssy Gonzalez, OAS Database on Trafficking in Persons

My summer internship at the Organization of American States (OAS) was rewarding for many reasons. I am passionate about working in development and migration policies and projects in the Americas. The OAS has increased my expertise in those fields and has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people from different countries.

Kirssy Gonzalez at OAS

My internship was based in the Department of Public Security within the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security. I researched policies, programs, and publications on the prevention of violence and crime in the region. I updated the Inter-American Network for Prevention of Violence and Crime with daily articles and learned about the relation between public security and international development.

I reviewed forms submitted by the National Authorities in the area of trafficking in persons (TIP). These forms included the OAS Member States laws and best practices to combat the heinous crime of TIP. The forms also included information about TIP within their countries. I sorted through this information which will be used for the upcoming database on TIP in the region. This database will include the contact information of government officials and institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and activists that are working against TIP; hotlines for victims and witnesses of the crime; information on resources available for victims; and documents regarding TIP.

The internship has allowed me to meet United States Foreign Service Officers, international civil servants, employees of the Organization of American States, and people from all over the world who work in development, humanitarian assistance, and diplomacy.

This opportunity has been rewarding and I am grateful for the experience.

Kirssy Gonzalez is a graduate of SU’s Maxwell School and College of Arts and Sciences. She has earned both a MA in International Relations (MAIR) from Maxwell and a Pan-African Studies degree from Arts and Sciences. She also formerly interned at International Organization for Migration — the UN Migration Agency — in Geneva during the summer of 2017.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

Pan African Studies at SU’s College of Arts and Sciences

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Kyungmi Shin Initiates Children & Digital Marketing Outreach at UNICEF

This summer I interned at UNICEF in Geneva. My team was the Children’s Rights and Business Unit within the Private Sector Engagement Division of the Private Fundraising Partnerships (PFP) Department. UNICEF headquarters is located in New York, but the entire PFP department is based in Geneva. Due to my previous work experience in the private sector, I have been interested in exploring the intersection of the public and private sectors, and this was a great experience which helped me to expand my expertise and pursue a future career in this field.

Kyungmi shin at the Palais des Nations where here office was located.

As a graduate intern, I was able to get involved in several projects such as the Children and Digital Marketing initiative. I was in charge of finding ways to make the Children and Digital Marketing discussion paper more child-friendly so that children can easily understand what digital marketing is and how it affects their rights.

I developed the idea of creating an animated video which can grab children’s attention with youth-friendly story telling. After watching this short video, children are asked to answer a survey which is designed to find out how much they actually understand the content and what their opinions are regarding this topic. I was given the ownership to initiate and lead the project, and I am happy to finish my internship with actual deliverables.

Before joining UNICEF, I had a very limited knowledge of human rights and how the private sector is engaged with children’s rights. After three months of interning, I am convinced that the role of corporations in children’s rights is significant not only in the aspect of child labor but also in children’s role as consumers and their impact on corporations. This great lesson is so meaningful that I would like to further explore more ways to learn about public and private partnerships. After reviewing a number of impact assessment reports on children’s rights and business from numerous country offices and human rights institutes, I am confident to say that my skills in researching, creating reports, and communication also improved.

Despite the high living costs of Geneva, it was definitely a great experience that expanded my horizons, and I am grateful to share this UN experience in this amazingly beautiful city.

Kyungmi Shin is a MAIR student at the Maxwell School currently interning at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC.

Kyungmi Shin in the Swiss Alps.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

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Katherine Hewitt, Life, Studies, & Interning at the Pompidou Group in Strasbourg

This past summer, I had the opportunity to live in Strasbourg, France as a participant of the Summer Internships in Strasbourg program. I interned with the Council of Europe as well as studied religion and human rights at SU’s Strasbourg Center.

The Strasbourg Center is in a perfect location, surrounded by diplomatic missions and easily accessible by several bus and tram routes.  The Center very quickly becomes the focus of your day to day life.  They organized monthly picnics with foods from the local market and weekend excursions in France and Germany for all students.  Even from before our arrival the staff at the Center was very active in making sure our arrival and adaptation to Strasbourg was smooth.  They answered all of our questions and helped a couple of us find a place to get our laptops fixed.  I was even able to use the Director’s connections to find my next internship at Caritas in Bosnia.

During the summer there are students participating in several programs: engineering, French language, religion and human rights, or the intern program.  They were all undergraduate students both from SU and from other universities.  But by the second week, we were all good friends, hanging out after class and on the weekends. It’s been several months since the end of the program, but we all still talk to each other.

Weekly picnic with fellow Strasbourg Center students

Living in Strasbourg is quite relaxing and easy.  The city’s public transportation is extensive and easy to use.  The trams can take you anywhere, even across the Rhine to Germany!  The Center provides you with a renewable pass so that you have unlimited access to public transportation.  But, if you leave yourself enough time, it’s quite enjoyable to just walk everywhere too.  There is an option to live with a host family, but I decided to live by myself.  I had a quaint little apartment in an area known as Petit France looking over the canal.  I lived above a typical Alsatian restaurant, and every morning and afternoon the wait staff would say Bonjour and exchange some pleasantries.  It really made you feel like you were apart of French life!

The religion and human rights course is extremely interesting.  While I focus on human rights, I hadn’t explored this connection before.  The professor, Yuksel Sezgin, teaches the course in a very approachable manner.  It is very clear he is passionate about what he teaches and wants all of his students to walk away with an increased knowledge of the subject.  For a grad student, the nightly readings were manageable, but more importantly were engaging.  He used his connections at the local university and the Council of Europe to bring in guest speakers that really expand our understanding of religion and human rights in a comparative context.  Even if you decide not to go on this study abroad, I highly recommend taking one of his classes on campus.

Council of Europe, main building

Interning at the Council of Europe was probably the highlight of the summer. Through the universities connection with Thomas Kattau, the Deputy Security of the Pompidou Group, I was offered an internship alongside another undergraduate participant. The Pompidou Group analyses trafficking trends and national strategies on drugs as well as promotes public health solutions to drug use.

While I was there, I worked on several projects.  My first big task was to write the Meeting Report for the Annual Airports Group Meeting.  For three days, I attended the meeting taking notes and meeting with various officials from across Europe and the world.  It was an excellent opportunity to see how international organizations share best practices and “success” stories.

Agora Building, location of the Pompidou Group

I started to work on preparing for the 17th Ministerial Conference that will be held in November.  Among typical tasks like preparing papers on the project outcomes, making schedules, and writing speeches, I had a unique opportunity to set up an app for the event.

Everyone in the office made me feel welcome and included.  They would pop by my office every now and then to chat and see how I was getting along with their assignments.  I was always given interesting tasks to complete and many of them prepared me for my next internship.

Katherine Hewitt is a MAIR student on her last semester at the Maxwell School. She is currently interning at Caritas in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MAIR Program at the Maxwell School

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