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United Nations Career Trip

Friday, October 20th, the first year IPED students embarked upon a full day of meetings and events on the United Nations complex in Manhattan, New York. The day started with a visit to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Equator Initiative office. Jamison Ervin, the manager of the UNDP Global Programme on Nature for Development, spoke with the group about the Equator Prize, the New York Declaration on Forests, and why climate justice is integral to development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Several Fordham IPED students work at the UNDP Equator Initiative office part time through the Arrupe Fellowship. Students asked questions about development finance, internships, and nature-based solutions for development.

UNDP and Fordham IPED celebrate a robust partnership.

UNDP Jamison Ervin presenting to Fordham IPED students.

After that, the IPED Fordham group headed to the UNICEF office where we were greeted by Liliana Carvajal, Statistics and Monitoring Specialist at UNICEF and 2004 Fordham IPED Alumna. Liliana showed us data on infant and maternal mortality and explained how to use this data to track trends and progress on the SDGs. We also heard from an HR representative to hear more about the application process for potential internships and jobs at UNICEF in New York.

IPED Alumna Liliana Carvajal ’04 at UNICEF.

Fordham IPED students at UNICEF presentation.

Fordham IPED visits UNICEF.

For lunch, we went to the prestigious UN Delegates Dining Room. We shared a meal with our Director, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, as well as current and former Alumni who work at the United Nations.

In the afternoon, we were hosted at the United States Mission to the United Nations by Political Advisor to Ambassador Nikki Haley, Leslie Ordeman. He explained the process of creating and relaying policy briefings to the ambassador and international parties. He also shared about his background and what it looks like to choose the Foreign Service Officer path.

Leslie Ordeman, Political Advisor, speaks with students at the US Mission.

The day concluded with a tour of the United Nations Headquarters. Guides showed us the UN Security Council Chamber, the UN General Assembly Hall, exhibits on the damage of nuclear war, and human rights documents, among other pieces. It was inspiring to be in a place where so much happens. Many of us were inspired throughout the day, seeing our dreams up close and within reach.

UN Security Council Chamber

Students outside the UN Headquarters

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Fordham Students supported the UNDP Equator Prize 2017

The Equator Prize winners and UNDP team celebrate before the pre-ceremony reception at Bryant Park Grill. Photo credit UNDP-Arnaldo Vargas

This September, the UNDP Equator Initiative hosted the 2017 Equator Prize in New York City, New York to honor 31 local and indigenous people working on notable climate justice projects in their communities around the globe. The winners spent a week in New York City participating in community dialogues, capacity building workshops, and interacting with media representatives as the 2017 UN General Assembly began. Several Fordham IPED students were involved in building case studies with the winners and connecting their work with the Sustainable Development Goals.

IPED student and UNDP intern, Vikktoria Brezheniuk, speaks with one of our winners at a workshop. Photo credit Mike Arrison for UNDP-Equator Initiative

Equator Prize winner, Ghulam, from Pakistan works with IPED student and UNDP intern, Owen Fitzgerald, to build a case study on the Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization. Photo credit Mike Arrison for UNDP-Equator Initiative

Winners’ projects ranged across oceans, forests, and drylands. In Kenya, the Mikoko Pamoja group created a carbon credit-based payment for ecosystem services in order to improve mangrove restoration. In Ecuador, Alianza Internacional de Reforestación (AIRES) is an organization led by indigenous Maya women that works toward food security and disaster risk reduction through reforestation and agroforestry. Each community project supports several of the Sustainable Development Goals from poverty reduction to climate action to gender equality. Check out all the winners and their projects featured on the Equator Initiative website.

The female winners and UNDP team members, including Fordham UNDP interns Tess Hart and Victoria Brezheniuk, celebrate their work and the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo credit Larissa Nowak-Equator Initiative

On Sunday, September 17th, preceeding the Prize Ceremony, there was a reception held at Bryant Park Grill. Winners, government officials, donors, and other special guests gathered to network and celebrate together.

Winners from the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women’s Conservation Group in Belize, Dorla and Conway, with IPED student and UNDP intern, Sarah Garwood, at the Bryant Park Grill reception.

Sunday, September 17th marked the Equator Prize Ceremony held at Town Hall Theatre in New York City. Many people came to speak and celebrate with the winners including Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and Gary Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society. Fordham IPED students were invited to volunteer at the ceremony. Fordham IPED interns worked on stage management, social media coverage, and interpretation resources.

 

IPED student, Stephanie Swinehart, volunteered at the Equator Prize ceremony. Photo credit Wahanga for UNDP-Equator Initiative

IPED student and UNDP Intern, Greg Fischer (left), translated for Brazilian Prize winner and speaker, Benki, at the Equator Prize Ceremony. Photo Credit UNDP-Arnaldo Vargas

To see more photos and coverage of the Equator Prize and other events from the week, check out the Equator Initiative on Facebook and Twitter!

 

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Student Spotlight: Owen Fitzgerald, Tess Hart, and Viktoriia Brezheniuk at UNDP

Owen Fitzgerald, Therese ‘Tess’ Hart, and Viktoriia Brezheniuk (IPED ‘18) are interning at the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Equator Initiative. The main purpose of the Equator initiative (EI) is to recognize and promote the achievements and innovations of indigenous peoples and local communities. Every two years, the EI announces a global call for nominations for their prestigious award called the Equator Prize. This Prize ultimately serves “to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage.”

Owen shared his excitement that life is never boring at the UNDP: “Our responsibilities at UNDP’s Equator Initiative are ever-changing!” Upon arrival in September of 2016, Tess and Owen were working on a research project focusing on biodiversity and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They assessed 60 different countries’ National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and teamed up with a few others to produce a publication highlighting their findings.

Now, their attention has been focused mainly on the Equator Prize 2017 with the help of Viktoriia, who joined the team in January 2017. The global call for nominations is being spread far and wide. In March, when nominations are due, the EI team will begin reviewing submissions for this prestigious award, a task our IPEDers will be taking part in.

As Arrupe Fellows, Tess and Owen had an automatic “in” for the position with UNDP. Viktoriia, a Ricci Fellow, was passionate about joining the team as well, so Tess and Owen offered Viktoriia’s resume to their boss and she was also accepted as an intern. 

Viktoriia, Tess, and Owen at UNDP

Owen and Tess are full-time students, interning part-time as a requirement for their fellowships. Viktoriia is pursuing her education part-time while interning with UNDP part-time and working with the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham, also part-time.

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2016 United Nations Career Trip

On Friday, October 21, the Fordham IPED Class of 2018 was invited to the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the annual United Nations Career Day.

IPEDers in front of the UN

IPEDers in front of the UN

 

The students began their day at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where they heard from Dr. Jamison Ervin, the manager of the Global Biodiversity Programme, about the Equator Initiative. Next Verania Chao spoke about mainstreaming gender issues and the UNDP’s effort to ensure that development initiatives are benefiting both men and women for more effective and efficient results. Last, Maria Fare Garcia from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Initiative spoke about her role in creating awareness of the SDGs and connecting with people the goals are meant to support in an effort to ensure their needs are being considered. Each of these phenomenal women also spoke about their career paths and how they found themselves working for the UNDP.

Some IPEDer listening to the UNDP speakers

Some IPEDer listening to the UNDP speakers

Moses Cam is very New York here, eating a bagel and cream cheese before the UNDP Presentations

Moses Cam is very New York here, eating a bagel and cream cheese before the UNDP Presentations

(from left) Maria Fare Garcia, Jamison Ervin, and Verania Chao answer questions from the IPED students

(from left) Maria Fare Garcia, Jamison Ervin, and Verania Chao answer questions from the IPED students

 

Next, the IPEDers visited the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and met with Yuka Yakamoto. Ms. Yakamoto spoke about the different positions within UNICEF and discussed avenues through which one can find a position with the organization.

Yuka Sakamoto addresses IPED and speaks about ways to get a position with UNICEF

Yuka Sakamoto addresses IPED and speaks about ways to get a position with UNICEF

Ms. Sakamoto accepts a token of appreciation (IPED coffee mug) from IPEDer Crisostomo Ala, who organized the UN Trip

Ms. Sakamoto accepts a token of appreciation (IPED coffee mug) from IPEDer Crisostomo Ala, who organized the UN Trip

 

Following the visit to UNICEF was lunch at the Delegates Dining Hall at the UN.

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Cody Harder, Michael Johnson, and Jessica Way pose at the Delegates Dining Hall

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Edward Barbini and Angeli Diamante enjoying delicious cake for dessert.

 

After the delicious fare, IPED headed off to their last meeting with former IPED graduate Kevin Lynch and Jason Laurence at the United States Mission to the UN. Messrs. Lynch and Laurence told of their journey to their current positions and then answered questions.

The students ended their day touring the UN.

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IPEDers Owen Fitzgerald, Viktoriia Brezheniuk, Crisostomo Ala, and Luther Flagstad outside the United Nations

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Student Spotlight: Katie McCann & Daina Ruback at the UNDP Equator Initiative

Katie McCann (IPED 2017) and Daina Ruback (IPED 2017) are currently Arrupe Fellow Interns at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Equator Initiative. The Equator Initiative is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to promote local sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities. The Equator Initiative recognizes the success of local and indigenous initiatives and helps these groups develop the capacity needed to scale up their impact.

Katie Feature

As an intern, Katie is currently working on the World Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Land and Sea Managers (WIN) newsletter, which shares opportunities for funding, employment, and action with the Equator Initiative’s network. WIN is a network of indigenous and local community land and sea managers that facilitates sharing of knowledge and best practices in managing ecosystems, protecting the environment, and supporting sustainable livelihoods.

Additionally, she researches and copy-edits case studies of Equator Prize winners which get published and posted in the Equator Initiative’s website. The Equator Prize is an award given biennially in recognition of local sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities. The Equator Prize puts the spotlight on local and indigenous groups for their efforts towards sustainable development. Winners of the Equator Prize for 2015 can be found here.

Daina Feature

Meanwhile, Daina has worked closely with the group’s Indigenous Peoples Initiative. She has helped conduct research on the link between indigenous peoples’ land rights and reducing carbon emissions and deforestation. She is also responsible for the management of WIN website and for providing general logistical and administrative support. Along with Katie, Daina supported the planning and preparation for the Equator Prize in 2015 which was held in Paris, France. One of the highlights of their time at the Equator Initiative was participating in a press conference with Alec Baldwin, actor and advocate for the Equator Initiative and its work, who helped to announce the 2015 winners.

The internship with the Equator Initiative is part of Fordham IPED’s Arrupe Fellowship, offered to students with relevant work experience in developing countries and those who wish to pursue a career with nonprofit international relief and development organizations.

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