During my final semester as an undergraduate at Lehigh University I had the opportunity to develop my interest in international affairs through an internship with the Department of Public Information at the United Nations. I organized briefings on various topics, including human rights protection policies, the current Syrian refugee crisis, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These briefings, and other documents that I helped prepare, inform the general public on the many goals and projects of the United Nations. The briefings also acted as an opportunity for me to expand my understanding of these issues and the global presence of the United Nations.
In an attempt to provide visitors with more information about the United Nations, I worked on the development of a mobile application that would allow visitors to enjoy a self guided walking tour of public spaces. The application takes people to the artwork and gifts that are on display. The gifts come from many of the different member states and each one has a unique history and story. I was tasked with providing the content for the mobile application as well as for the United Nations Visitors Center Facebook page. The Facebook page posts information about current events and programs happening at the UN.
In addition to daily clerical work, I took advantage of the opportunities and events that were available within the UN. In January of 2016 I attended the United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony. Survivors of the Holocaust spoke in the General Assembly about the significance of remembrance and education in regards to events that would be easier to be forgotten. The ceremony was deeply touching and particularly meaningful to me due to the focus in my studies at Lehigh University on History, Global Studies, and German. The ceremony was an opportunity to take my education and see it brought to life in a practical setting.
Working as an intern at the United Nations is a truly unique and rewarding experience. The diverse environment is something that you will not find anywhere else. I was not expected to sit back and observe what my supervisors were doing, instead they wanted me to contribute to what was going on in the office by providing advice or ideas that had not been voiced. Whether in the office, at a briefing or walking through the halls, I was always encountering inspiring people with stories to share. I could not speak more highly of my time at the UN, and hope that more Lehigh students are able to take advantage of the opportunities that a UN internship provides.