Tag Archives: United Nations

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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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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Recap & Response — Insights into Pope Francis’ Views on International Poverty and Development

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 first 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.

The Most Reverend Archbishop Bernardito Auza

The Most Reverend Archbishop Bernardito Auza

Optimistic is the word that the Most Reverend Archbishop Bernardito Auza repeatedly used to describe “Pope Francis’ Views on International Poverty and Development,” in his presentation at the CAPP-USA and Fordham University conference last Friday. Above all, the Archbishop emphasized that in the words of Pope Francis, the poor are “dignified agents” of their own destiny. As such, they should be empowered to actively participate in the fight against “undignified” poverty.

According to the Pope, there are three “illnesses” that cause and perpetuate poverty: the globalization of indifference, consumerism and over consumption, and “ferocious idolatry of money.” To those suffering from these illnesses, Pope Francis ascribes a lack of empathy, a blunted conscious, and a loss of ethical control. In spite of this, the Pope’s message remains hopeful, asserting that spiritual renewal, restrained consumption, and a return to God are antidotes that will resolve the three illnesses.

Just as each of the three illnesses has an antidote, so does extreme poverty. The Pope’s answer is “integral human development.” The key components of this holistic approach to development are solidarity, a preferential option for the poor, and the three T’s: Tierra, Techo, and Trabajo (Land, Lodging, and Labor). Integral human development entails a return to the culture of encounter that is central to the Church and incorporates a renewed focus on the Gospel. This guide for treatment of the poor underscores the necessity of basic prerequisites for a dignified life. The Pope’s final sentiment is, unsurprisingly, highly optimistic. He insists that international poverty can and must be defeated and that we have the power to accomplish this task if we all work together.

In the midst of relaying the Pope’s views, the Archbishop seemed to caution us against blind optimism, reminding us that it is difficult to classify poverty. He inquired, “how do we know that only 1.2 of 7.2 billion people live in extreme poverty today? Can we trust the statistics presented by the World Bank?” The Archbishop reveals a cynicism of international institutions and arguably a bit of exasperation at the extent of the challenge before us. Nevertheless, he echoes the Pope’s optimism, especially when it comes to the growing recognition that religion and religious organizations are receiving from the United Nations, as catalysts for change at the grassroots level. Perhaps the Archbishop’s purpose, in voicing his concerns regarding multilateral organizations as well as his pleasure at the credit being afforded to the Church for its work on the ground, is to offer clarification. In order to effectively answer the Pope’s call to work together to fight poverty, we should turn not to the IMF or World Bank, but rather to the Church.

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

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Student Spotlight: Grace Avila at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Grace Feature

Grace Avila (IPED 2017) is currently serving as an intern with the United States Mission (U.S. Mission) to the United Nations (UN), specifically in the Economic and Social Section. The U.S. Mission represents the U.S. government’s interests at the UN. The Economic and Social Section of the U.S. Mission works specifically on issues related to human rights and humanitarian affairs, economic development, gender equality, and other social issues.

As an intern, Grace helps in the preparation and representation of the U.S. for the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which will be held from March 14 to 24 this year at the UN Headquarters in New York City. The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year, the priority theme of CSW is the empowerment of women and its link to sustainable development, while the review theme is the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

In addition to CSW-related work, Grace writes policy briefs and supports the representatives of the U.S. Mission in meetings at the UN and helps in taking down important notes and insights. Grace already shared the room with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on three occasions.

Grace applied for this internship during the summer of 2015 on USAJobs. She shared that interested students can sign up here to receive a notification when the internship postings are available, which is approximately six to nine months in advance of the internship start date. She advises other students to provide a very detailed resume since unlike other organizations, the U.S. government prefers extremely detailed resumes.

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