Magazine article UN Chronicle

An International Intern

Magazine article UN Chronicle

An International Intern

Article excerpt

This summer, about 150 interns from all over the world have joined the United Nations Headquarters in New York City for a short but exciting two-month period, and I am one of them. When I was asked to write this article, I was honoured, but also a bit surprised, since I don't think I've been more active and social than other interns. Nevertheless, since there is an opportunity, I'd like to share with the UN Chronicle a few impressions that I and some other interns have formed during the summer of 1997.

I applied for the United Nations Internship Programme knowing exactly what it was I was looking for. It is especially important for someone in particular from a country that is absolutely unrepresented among the UN staff to work in the United Nations system. Although Azerbaijan has already been independent for six years, there is still not a single employee in the UN system from my country. Another reason that made me apply for the internship was a lack of experience at such a significant level; and it was also relevant to my field of study: economics. Given this, I was really excited when Ms. Patricia Perret, the Internship Coordinator, called me at Florida State University to tell me I was accepted into the Programme. I was looking forward to it, although I was somewhat nervous about the kind of work I would be doing.

This is my first time in the United Nations and in New York City, and I must say I really enjoy being even a very small part of such a unique Organization. There are a number of things that make me say that. First of all, I have been surprised to find out how friendly and healthy the environment here is, and the department I'm working in, DDSMS (Department for Development Support and Management Services), is no exception. Everybody, including my supervisor, has shown a great deal of willingness to work closely with me and to listen to my ideas. Honestly, this kind of impression is the most common one among the other interns, too.

However, there are also some weaknesses associated with the Internship Programme. For me, the most frustrating thing has been the absence of basic working conditions. Of course, I realize that some interns have been luckier than I in the sense that they have been given their own offices, with a telephone and a new computer, complete with all the necessary, basic software and an Internet connection. …

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