He started college by taking inspirational courses in international relations, attending globally focused events on campus, and grasping seemingly any chance to engage with the Lehigh University-United Nations Partnership.
Now, senior Noah Bookhim is interning (virtually) at the United Nations headquarters in New York this spring semester with the Civil Society Unit of the Department of Global Communications (DGC/CSU).
“DGC/CSU works to spread information and educate the public on the UN's agenda and its goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030,” Bookim said.
Currently Bookhim is working with a team assessing the associative status of UN-accredited Non-Governmental Organizations, ensuring their activities align with the objectives and goals of the UN.
“I also help with social media activities for department communications, and with logistics for events like briefings and a chat series that we do on various issues, such as youth conferences,” he said.
Bookhim is the 47th Lehigh student or alumni in a row to have applied for an internship position at the UN and been accepted; each has had his or her own individual path to UN.
Early in his Lehigh days, Bookhim met the director of the Office of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs, Bill Hunter.
“I discussed my interest in international relations and in getting more involved with the UN Partnership with Dr. Hunter,” Bookhim said. “From there, I had the opportunity to work on a student-run committee to plan an International Labor Organization simulation, focusing on 'The Future of Work.'”
Though the ILO conference didn’t come to fruition due to the pandemic, Bookhim noted its significant impact on his experience with facilitating discussion and global problem-solving.
Bookhim gained more experience when in summer of 2019 when Hunter chose him to help draft and edit correspondence with the Israeli and Palestinian Missions to the United Nations. Soon, Brookhim and others met with the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN.
“Discussing peace in the Middle East with Israeli and Palestinian diplomats and nuclear negotiations with the Iranians showed me the reach that the UN has and how it uses discussion and dialogue to help solve a lot of global issues,” Bookhim said with a positive inflection in his tone.
As for motivation to make the UN a more substantial part of his future, Bookhim cites the organization’s one-of-a-kind reach and principles of dialogue, education, outreach, multiculturalism, and multidimensional worldviews as motivation toward his goal of public service work.
“I just keep seeing the UN as an organization that will play a big part in my future. That's one of the reasons why I am pretty happy with this internship, because it gives me one avenue to explore,” he said.
“The internship feels really empowering,” Bookhim said. “You know, my colleagues have been clear that they want this to be a substantive internship — for me to be doing a lot of the same sort of work that they're doing, learning about the agenda and the mission of the UN. I felt part of the team.”