Tag Archives: UN

Student Spotlight: Silva Armani at the United Nations

Silva Armani

Silva Armani (IPED 2017) is working in the Political, Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Human Rights office in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General at the United Nations (UN), a position she has held since 2007. The office is responsible for monitoring and providing strategic and policy advice to the Secretary-General as well as senior officials in the Office of the Secretary-General.  Silva provides direct assistance to the Political Director and team, who in turn ensure effective and coordinated UN system analysis, reporting and recommendations on situations and concerns to the Secretary-General.

The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response

In 2014, Silva joined the United Nations’ first Health mission in West Africa to help assist the Office of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response before returning to her post in New York. It was actually from Ghana that she sent in her application for the IPED program where she is currently studying part time while working with the United Nations.

Some images from the UNMEER work Silva was engaged in.

Silva shares her experience joining the UN: “I knew since childhood that I wanted to work for the UN but I didn’t know how I would get my foot in the door. I thought the only way in was through translation, so I graduated with French Translation from Montclair State University. I took an entry exam, once I passed I was put on a roster and then they called me for an initial 3 month contract to help with the General Assembly in the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.  At the end of my contract, with the encouragement of my then director, I applied to a post in the Scheduling office of the Secretary-General (then Kofi Annan).  After a year and six months, I applied to the Political, peacekeeping, humanitarian and human rights unit in the office of the Secretary-General, and have been in that office since then.”

Silva is pursuing her education as a part-time student while she works full time.

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Recap & Response: Poverty and Violence

On September 23, 2016, CAPP-USA and Fordham University co-sponsored a conference called “Pope Francis’ Call for Escaping Poverty: Practical Examples and New Proposals.” The conference examined the definition and measurement of poverty and proposed specific, practical efforts which operationalize Pope Francis’ insistence that people “be dignified agents of their own destiny.” What follows is the last in a series of posts authored by graduate students in Fordham University’s International Political Economy & Development Program that offer a summary and response to a topic discussed at the conference.

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The last panel of the conference was devoted to the problem of poverty and violence. This sphere is vastly understudied and sometimes misunderstood, mainly because the exact causal relationship and means of measurements of poverty and violence are still unknown.

In order to understand the problem, it is important to have a clear definition of violence. Statistics show that nearly two billion people now live in countries where development outcomes are highly influenced by fragility of the state (World Bank), and by 2030 almost 50% of the world’s poorest will be living in a region affected by violence. However, when we talk about violence and development we shouldn’t forget that wars are not the only form of violence. The violence of everyday life is one of the biggest obstacles today, resulting in nearly 45 million people, including children, subject to some form of modern slavery. Finally, violence can include economic abuse of power, any form of domestic violence, land-grabbing, among other things.

Nicholas Michael, a member of UN negotiation team on Syria, introduced essential steps required to overcome the violence. He pointed to ten steps on how to solve the conflict and associate people:

  1. construct an open dialogue with civil society organizations;
  2. include women in sufficient number in the process (in addition to official delegations’ women representatives);
  3. consistently remind the parties of the conflict their obligations under the international humanitarian laws, international human rights, and criminal laws;
  4. encourage and assist people in starting business processes;
  5. develop responsible a media environment;
  6. relate to religious communities;
  7. design adequate accountability, truth telling, and reconciliation mechanisms in order to deal with the past and create a sustainable situation;
  8. reshape sanctions regime by lifting the sanctions that have no impact to solving the conflict and adversely affect civilians;
  9. assist the parties to agree on principals of a new constitution that will effectively protect human rights;
  10. and create conditions for the safe return of refugees to the country.

Armando Borja, Jesuit Refugee Service North America Regional Director, talked about how poverty can contribute to violence as the poor often have no other way to protect themselves except to fight. The main focus of his speech was on refugees and their impoverishments. Refugees often find themselves in the bottom economic level, being pushed to the limit, without access to health services, education, adequate nutrition. They also suffer from other consequences of poverty and, tragically, repeated displacement. One of the ways to effectively help them is through the provision of education as it is a vital lifesaving intervention that can provide means for better future. Simple hospitality informs how we can integrate refugees into the new communities.

The problem of violence and poverty is one of the hardest for mankind to solve. What level of poverty in the particular region triggers the violence? If there was an accurate answer to that question, perhaps, it would be easier to predict possible conflict and try to solve it before it evolved. On the other hand, violence, being an abuse of any power, can be hidden from society and thus contribute to the development of poverty. While the Fordham Francis Index does a great job determining different factors contributing to poverty, it barely touched the problem of violence. It would be interesting to try to conduct research including different types of violence and analyze how it might trigger poverty and vice versa. However, this type of data is hard to aggregate and comparisons are difficult, which leaves this important question open.

Liya Khalikova is a first-year student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

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IPED Internships: UNICEF: Policy Planning Intern in Data, Research, and Policy Division – Nathan Birhanu

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as part of its Data, Research, and Policy Division. UNICEF is centered on advocating on the rights and development of children across the world, which also extends to mothers, fathers, and members of society as a whole. UNICEF works in child survival and development, basic education, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, child protection, policy advocacy, research, and data analysis to name just a few. Although UNICEF’s headquarters are in New York City, a majority of its activities are in the field and extends out to over 190 countries.

Nathan standing in the main lobby of UNICEF.

Nathan standing in the main lobby of UNICEF.

During my time at UNICEF in the Data, Research, and Policy Division, I worked in the Policy Planning Unit (PPU). The PPU is focused on foresight and forward thinking to analyze emerging trends globally that are then incorporated into UNICEF’s global policy and strategic plan. My task in PPU included researching topics and writing briefs to be distributed to UNICEF staff, helping to develop foresight analytical methods by establishing relationships with schools and firms that focus on future trend analysis, and organizing speaker series of prominent thought leaders. An important brief I was able to write that was distributed to the organization was on the future of food, high lighting the important variables that will have the most impact on the world relating to food, climate change, health, and population growth. Other topics covered by the PPU include rapid urbanization, the future of philanthropy, and the role of institutions.

Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Justin Forsyth (left), Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake (center), and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Management Fatoumata Ndiaye (right) discuss current developments within UNICEF during an all-staff meeting.

Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Justin Forsyth (left), Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake (center), and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Management Fatoumata Ndiaye (right) discuss current developments within UNICEF during an all-staff meeting.

Much of the work conducted in UNICEF’s Data, Research, and Policy Division and the PPU allowed me to analyze an expansive array of topics pertinent to the coming decades. My work also included accessing the data and publications of UNICEF, along with having the ability to consult with experts across the entire organization. Such experiences allow me to grow and be effective in any work I pursue in the future.

Nathan stands with his supervisor, Officer-in-Charge of Policy Planning Yulia Oleinik,

Nathan stands with his supervisor, Officer-in-Charge of Policy Planning Yulia Oleinik

 

I felt prepared to jump in headfirst into my tasks assigned at UNICEF due to the classwork and fieldwork I was able to complete in International Political Economy and Development (IPED). The work done at PPU also requires diligence and considerable amount of time; I was able to allocate the necessary dedication to my work at UNICEF and the PPU because of the Summer IPED Fellowship I was given by IPED and Fordham University.

IPEDers at the United Nations

IPED alumni are employed in UNICEF, and IPED and the Department of Economics at Fordham have a special relationship with UNICEF. If students are interested in interning there, it is good to apply early on UNICEF’s website. IPED and the Department of Economics regularly send out postings for available positions at UNICEF, and that is a fantastic way to apply for an internship position.

 

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2015 United Nations Career Trip

On Friday, October 30th, Fordham IPEDers spent the day at the United Nations, learning about some of the UN agencies and the important work they do.

The day started with a visit to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  IPED recipients of the Arrupe Fellowship serve as interns at the UNDP during their time at IPED.

Eileen de Ravin, Program Manager of the Equator Initiative, introduced the group to careers at the UN and UNDP specifically.

The day continued at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Lilliana Carvajal, Statistics and Monitoring Specialist at UNICEF, is an IPED alumna.

Lilliana Carvajal, Statistics and Monitoring Specialist at UNICEF, is an IPED alumna.

Hiro Hattori, from the Data & Analytics section at UNICEF, presented research on the Out of School Children Initiative.

Hiro Hattori, from the Data & Analytics section at UNICEF, presented research on the Out of School Children Initiative.

Lunch was served at the Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations.

IPED alumni from the UN joined for lunch!

IPED alumni from the UN joined for lunch!

After lunch, the tour continued across the street at the U.S. Mission to the UN.

Kevin Lynch, Civil Service Officer and IPED alumnus, spoke about this work with the U.S. Department of State. He was joined by a colleague in the Foreign Service, and a student intern with the department.

Kevin Lynch, Civil Service Officer and IPED alumnus, spoke about his work with the U.S. Department of State. He was joined by a colleague in the Foreign Service, and a student intern with the department.

The day concluded with an official tour of the United Nations.

The UN Security Council meets in this beautiful room.

The UN Security Council meets in this beautiful room.

IPED students had the chance to learn about the history and current work of United Nations, speak to IPED alumni about how the program impacted their careers, and explore the possibility of working with the UN in the future.

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