Alex Zakrzewski (IPED ‘18) is interning for the United Nations’ Department of Public Information, NGO Relations & Advocacy Section (DPI/NGO). The office is tasked with serving a liaison between civil society and the United Nations. The NGO Relations Section within the United Nations’ DPI is the link with approximately 1,500 Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are partners and members in association with the Department of Public Information and support the UN efforts to disseminate information on the priority issues on its agenda, including sustainable development, creating a safer and more secure world, the importance of prevention, helping countries in transition, empowering women and young people, and addressing poverty, among others.
Alex at the DPI/NGO
Specifically, Alex is on the association team which includes reviewing documentation of NGOs’ applying for formal association with DPI. His tasks include reviewing and verifying these NGOs’ documents and work and fielding questions concerning the attainment of association status. He also works with the association team on examining their current NGOs annual reviews, reports demonstrating their continued commitment to the UN’s agenda and goals.
Alex’s work-space at the DPI/NGO office
Alex shared his thoughts on his most recent weekly briefing: “Last week’s [briefing] was a particularly successful gathering with over 400 attendees and focused on faith-based NGOs and their work with refugees. The briefing was led by a strong multi-faith panel including individuals from Islamic Relief Society, UNICEF, the US Department of State, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was very well received and particularly poignant given the state of current world affairs.”
Alex found his position through an email received from the Fordham Alumni Office and applied via the United Nations Inspira portal with the engagement and support of a Fordham staff member who frequently participates in UN activities.
The United Nations Headquarters
Alex is a part time student in the IPED program while he performs his duties with the DPI.
Margaret “Maggie” Hutchison (IPED ‘18) is an intern with The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The Holy See is the political entity of the Vatican and is an “Observer State” to the United Nations, which means they do not have voting privileges, but they can still make interventions and participate in debates.
United Nations Headquarters
Maggie’s work as an intern involves covering issues of migration and other topics that the Nuncio and Monsignors find important to the Mission. In these meetings she is engaged in taking detailed notes that are later compiled into a report that is eventually sent to Rome for the Vatican Holy See officials read.
Maggie standing in the General Assembly
Maggie spoke about the advantages of working the Holy See at the UN: “During my time as an intern, I have been able to take advantage of many UN opportunities such as evening events and language classes. These activities have improved my learning outside of the classroom and I am grateful for the experience.“
Maggie was introduced to this internship through Dr. Schwalbenberg, Director or the IPED Program, as part of her fellowship to the program, however she mentioned that her fellow interns at the Mission found the internship through reaching out, making connections with someone in the Mission and passing along their resume. She says, “It is wonderful UN experience and allows you to understand the system better and to make strong connections.”
Maggie out in front the General Assembly at the UN
Maggie is a full time student in the IPED program while she carries out her internship duties at the Holy See Mission.
On Friday, March 3, the IPED students had their final career trip of the year to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York City. The students visited the think tank and were able to meet and hear from Gordon M. Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein spent his time telling us his story and discussing cyber/internet security opportunities and challenges.
IPED at the CFR with Dr. Schwalbenberg
He has previously worked with the United States Mission to the United Nations at the World Conference for International Telecommunications (WCIT) in 2012 and is currently working on crises in cyber security. Mr. Goldstein said that the internet is too powerful a tool to allow market forces to work on it freely, necessitating a national policy.
At the Council round table
Gorgeous interior of the CFR
Mr. Goldstein closed with some advice to the IPED students in their search for a job. He explained that the students should have fifty conversations with fifty new people and to get contacts for three more people from each of them. In this way, the students can grow their knowledge base through the experience of others and their network, which is of the utmost importance. Along with this advice he stressed that students should not be afraid to make cold calls, because people genuinely want to help and will respond to sincere interest.
IPED pictured with Mr. Gordon Goldstein (center).
The IPED students ended their day with some pictures at the Council’s headquarters.
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.”
Therese “Tess” Hart (IPED ’18)
Owen Fitzgerald (IPED ’18)
Viktoriia Brezheniuk (IPED ’18)
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.
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.