This is a guest post about the HEA’s Summer Intensive Program at the United Nations. Learn more here.
Christine, a senior at Wilkes University, started college with a well defined road map: Go to college. Study political science. Graduate. Go to law school. Focus on domestic human rights. Graduate. Get a job.
Three years later, this worldly, well-traveled student leader has abandoned plans for law school in favor of international aid work and built a body work that rivals a seasoned staffer at the UN or any international development organization. After falling in love with travel while volunteering at a fair trade coffee co-op in Costa Rica, and with international development in rural Nicaragua, she leapt at the chance to research funding structures of five NGOs on the ground in Tanzania. For Christine, deviation from the familiar road map meant discovering her passion for work in the international field.
The value of experiential learning lies in career altering discoveries such as Christine’s. Internships, study abroad opportunities, and co-ops all offer a glimpse into the “real word,” life after graduation. Nowadays, international perspective is not only a notable qualification on a resume, but a key communication tool in the constantly connected world. A multinational perspective, with an understanding of culture and language, promotes building connections between diverse viewpoints.
In recognition of the necessity to globalize college campuses, The Humpty Dumpty Institute launched the Higher Education Alliance (HEA) to give academic institutions a window to the world, a bridge to the UN and a comprehensive range of services, resources and opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience working in global affairs.
The core of HEA lies in its value of experiential learning. The program seeks to familiarize students with first-hand knowledge of how multilateral diplomacy is crafted and implemented. Students have the opportunity to listen to senior ranking UN officials, Ambassadors, policymakers and leading experts in world affairs through a lecture series, and visit UN Headquarters in New York for intensive orientation sessions, seminars and conferences to learn about the inner workings of the UN and the wide range of global issues on its agenda. As Mohammad Reza Salamat, Senior Program Officer on the UN Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team, said in a lecture to Wilkes University, as part of the HEA program “We need to engage people from all walks of life, particularly the universities on global issues. The more you know the UN the more sensitive you will be to global issues.”
In Summer 2013, HEA will initiate its Internship Program, in which select students will have the opportunity to serve as interns at UN missions and UN accredited NGOs. In addition, HEA will also launch its Summer Intensive Session at the UN, an innovative week-long immersion study program on the United Nations for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. The Session will begin at UN Headquarters in New York, where students will explore, examine and experience the inner workings of the UN firsthand, and attend a series of seminars and lectures led by UN officials, diplomats, leading experts, policymakers, and practitioners currently working with the UN to solve global problems. The Session will then move to Washington, DC, where students will attend meetings and briefings with senior officials of the US Department of State, Congressional Staff, the UN Information Center, and representatives of various think tanks, and non-governmental organizations. Students will also meet with members of the security and intelligence communities on a wide range of global issues currently on the UN agenda.
When asked what advice she would give underclassman, Christine has the following to say: “Go travel, experience the world, discover what you love, and find a way to make that a career.” Us at HEA could not have said it better.
Program Director, Higher Education Alliance
Humpty Dumpty Institute