By: Carlos Baeta ’18
During the Spring 2018 semester, I interned at the United Nation’s Department of Social Affairs within the E-Government division. During my internship, I was under the supervision of IPED alumnus and former Matteo Ricci scholar Deniz Susar ’08.
As an intern, my tasks included data analysis, research and report writing relating to some key deliverables within the office. The most salient project I worked on was the 2018 E-government survey, which will be published later this year. The E-government survey is important insofar as it highlights the importance of a government’s ability to leverage existing technologies to provide key services to their constituencies. Put differently, it analyzes how governments in the UN’s 193 member states use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) to ensure sustainable development.
To this extent, it would be remiss of me not to mention how important IPED was in ensuring that I was able to maximize my experience at the United Nations. Firstly, the research methodology and analysis that I conducted on the E-government survey was similar to Dr. Schwalbenberg’s Foreign Aid and Development class. Given this, my experience working on the Fordham Francis Index (FFI) allowed me to understand the E-Government Development Index and its component parts from day one. Secondly, the Applied Econometrics class and my background in management consulting assisted in analyzing and presenting the data in creative ways. Finally, I believe that the extensive writing courses that we took as well as the robust feedback that we get from the professors improved my research and writing ability respectively.
In conclusion, I would recommend current and future IPED students to leverage Fordham’s proximity to the UN as a means of getting international experience that complements the coursework. Furthermore, I believe it prudent to use the IPED directory and alumni networks during the application process. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that IPED provides all of its students with the tools necessary for becoming economic researchers or public servants after graduation. The UNDESA is an opportunity that I would highly recommend to compliment your academic experience.
Gurpreet Singh ’19 currently works at Chhaya CDC in Queens NY. Chhaya CDC is a local non-profit organization that advocates for the housing and economic development needs of New York City’s South Asian community. It’s mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Gurpreet works alongside IPED alumnus William Spisak ’13.
Gurpreet leads Chhaya’s Asset Building program to target South Asian immigrants and other marginalized communities in New York City to promote economic independence and financial stability, as well as contribute to the organization’s programmatic vision, and growth for the community. Gurpreet runs the organization’s Peer Lending Circle, a microfinance program that helps new immigrants establish credit and savings in the United States. In addition to the lending circle, Gurpreet coordinates Chhaya’s English classes and assists in its emerging small business initiative, where the goal is to preserve small businesses in New York City.
Gurpreet is a lifelong resident of New York City and is excited to continue his education at Fordham. He is Matteo Ricci fellow and is expected to graduate in the summer of 2019.
During the 2018 spring semester, Brian Harper ’19 is serving as an intern in the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Latin America Studies Program. Founded in 1921, CFR is an independent, nonpartisan think tank and membership organization. It is responsible for publishing Foreign Affairs, a renowned journal covering international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.
Brian works with Dr. Shannon O’Neil, the vice president, deputy director of studies, and Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America Studies at CFR, as well as Dr. O’Neil’s research associate, Sofía Ramírez. He conducts research for Dr. O’Neil’s articles, blog, and book chapters. This includes gathering information on political and social events in Latin America, in addition to studying historical and contemporary trade policy. Brian also writes memos and news digests to help keep Dr. O’Neil updated for her own writing and research.
Brian first learned about CFR’s internship program through Luther Flagstad ’18, who interned with CFR during the 2017 spring semester. Brian attended CFR’s Eighth Annual Back-to-School Event on Globalization in October 2017, networked with one of CFR’s recruiters at a career fair, and applied to several volunteer internship posts at CFR. He encourages anyone interested in CFR to attend any external events open to the public, to keep in touch with contacts from those events, and to use CFR’s materials for classes and to stay updated on current events.
“CFR is constantly publishing insightful articles that can serve as resources for political science and economic classes,” says Brian. “In the fall, I often cited CFR in papers and was thus more familiar with the organization’s work when it came time to apply for an internship. As an intern, I have had the opportunity to attend roundtables and do research on issues that are relevant to the topics we discuss in our classes. With six presidential elections taking place in Latin America this year, it is an exciting time to be working with a regional expert like Dr. O’Neil at CFR.”
Photos by Sofía Ramírez
By: Mahlatse Ramoroka ’19
I am a South Africa national, currently part of the IPED program through the South African Centennial Scholarship. I am interning with United Nations Women at the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO). The mission of UN Women is “to enhance accountability, inform decision making and contribute to learning on gender equality.” The IEO facilitates the monitoring and implementation of wider gender stratification throughout the bodies or agencies of the United Nations. The primary focus of the office is on adopting gender-responsive, decentralized and cooperative evaluation systems at a national level that strengthen the capacities of women and girls across the board. My responsibilities as an intern include handling administrative duties, conducting research on the UN’s System Wide Action Plan (SWAP), taking notes in meetings, and analyzing evaluation reports. I have been doing some detailed research on goal 6 – clean water and sanitation – of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with particular attention to applying the UN-SWAP framework to the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) sector, gender equality and institutional governance.
One of the most significant highlights of my internship is being able to participate and observe, by attending and helping at events, how gender equality is championed. On the 22nd of November 2017, I attended the launch of the campaign that seeks to end violence against women and girls, led by the Executive Director of UN Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ncquka. The campaign was launch under the theme “Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls”.
Interacting with people from different countries, at different levels of the organization has been another life-changing experience for me. I am enjoying my experience at UN Women, at it continues to afford me various learning opportunities.