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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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