Gerardo Calderón

June, 2013 to August, 2013

Interning for the UN? Let’s save the world! That was my first impression when I was noticed from the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) that I got the internship in the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC). On my first day of work, I got the impression that I was working in a normal office, nothing really looked extraordinary, some staff were having team meetings, others working on their computers, others taking some coffee, and also I noticed that the administrative body was facing the same challenges as any other organization. As the days passed, I realized that that was the great thing about the UN; it’s a human organization that tries to give the opportunity to deal with the big global issues to ordinary people who are willing to foster human development in the world. Besides the internship program, they also have the UN Volunteer program (UNV), the Young Professional Program (YPP), and the Junior Professional Officer program (JPO) to widen the doors for youth to get involved with the UN projects.

As an intern, I was working for RBLAC, specifically on matters on democracy, governance and youth political participation –which I’m glad that perfectly matched with my MA in Political Science and with my personal interests. The very first day my boss took the time to present me the overall picture of what the Bureau was doing; then he asked me to choose the projects that I wanted to get involved with. So, during my two-month internship I chose to work mainly on two projects: (1) designing and implementing a web-based strategy to get involved young people in the construction of the Post-2015 Youth Agenda, which will be presented in the XXIII Ibero-American Summit of Presidents and Prime Ministers this October; and (2) writing an overview of legislative initiatives that have an impact in increasing youth participation in Latin America. What I really liked about these two projects was that a great part of them consisted in being in contact with young activists in the region, and in getting to know about their first experiences with politics and also how they have fostered the current National Youth Acts in their countries. On the other hand, I have to say that I also did “intern-like stuff”, which I also enjoyed though. I read a hundred-page report and summarized it for my boss, wrote opinion articles, reviewed and enhanced power point presentations, translated documents, etc.

Finally, I want to highlight that it was really inspiring to get to know young people that are actually changing their countries for good as well as being at their side supporting and voicing their claims in a global level. Now I’m even more confident that our generation is going to leave a landmark in the development of Latin America.