Marina Kudasova is a Fulbright student from Russia, studying her master’s degree in Comparative and International Education at Lehigh University. In the summer of 2012, Marina had the unique opportunity of interning in the Education sector of UNESCO in their New York Office.
During her time at UNESCO, Marina met Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, witnessed the election of the President of the 67th Session of the General Assembly, planned a Ministerial breakfast and sat on the selection committee for a youth film festival. Her daily duties entailed attending weekly meetings and panels at the United Nations, concerning education, and then reporting back to UNESCO on these meetings. Marina assisted her advisor if she needed help or representation and attended debates in the General Assembly while representing UNESCO at their table. She says, “It is exciting to be in the General Assembly and feel the atmosphere and feel how the procedure goes.” Marina was also given the job of representing her office during the UNICEF annual report meeting. She wrote up and sent a report to the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
Marina found her working environment to be exciting due to the diversity of the staff and diversity of her work. The six interns working in her office formed a bond and helped each other to quickly learn UN protocol for writing and reporting. Often, they would present a culture night, since all of the interns were of different nationalities. Marina found the relationship between interns and staff to be very equal and she enjoyed the respect and responsibility the supervisors gave to the interns. The exposure to different cultures was an aspect of her internship that Marina valued highly.
One of Marina’s most rewarding experiences at UNESCO included planning the annual Ministerial breakfast held in New York. The 2012 theme was devoted to “Building Skills for Green Economies and Societies.” Marina had the responsibility of organizing the entire breakfast. Her tasks included contacting and inviting ambassadors and high-level UN Officials, writing the breakfast invitations, creating a program and setting up the physical event. Among the distinguished guests at this event, the Assistant Director General of UNESCO was in attendance. Marina said, “For me it was really exciting, because I was fully responsible for this event and it went great. They acknowledged my work.”
Another memorable experience for Marina was to be invited to be a selecting committee member for Plural+ youth video festival. This festival is organized by United Nations Alliance of Civilizations along with the International Organization for Migration. This festival gives youth the opportunity to create a film on any of the following topics: diversity, migration or social inclusion. Marina was a part of the selection committee to decide the winning films.
During her time at UNESCO, Marina expanded her perspectives on global policy and found it very rewarding to be in a hot spot of the policy making process. Through her observations, Marina finds it laudable that so many different nations come together in the UN, not to argue or cause war but to engage in peace talks. Marina’s background in education has led her to believe that, “Education might be the key to many problems. Not formal education necessarily, but life problems, life skills.” Education can inflict change upon the world and Marina is enthusiastic to continue moving forward with the global policy perspective of Education. Her internship with UNESCO helped her reconfirm her dedication to the work she is completing at Lehigh.