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My Internship Journey to the United Nations

Oct 31, 2022Item:www;

I am Ke Feng, a graduate student at the School of Foreign Languages. Thanks to the platform provided by my university and the recommendation of my school, I had the opportunity to become the first student ever at Xidian University to be an intern at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


The United Nations is the world’s largest inter-government organization, in which Department of Economic and Social Affairs is the pillar of the United Nations Secretariat, covering a wide range of work. As a Social Sciences Intern of the Department, the journey of internship is a valuable opportunity for me to personally participate in international affairs, which makes me truly appreciate the efforts made by various departments of the United Nations to promote the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and world peace and development.


Due to the pandemic, I undertook the internship remotely, but it didnt extinguish my enthusiasm one bit. During my internship, I participated in the day-to-day tasks related to the realization of events. These events include international high-level conferences with various themes, online forums, and press conferences of different UN organizations. Every day, I read the UN Journal to learn about the agenda of meetings, conducted independent research and analysis, and completed reports covering a wide range of issues, such as inequality, women empowerment, education, civilization, ageism, climate change, covid-19 pandemic, peace building, etc.


I attended the 43rd plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly. One of the resolutions adopted at the session was that sport is for development and peace, and in particular it affirmed the importance of the Olympic Games for building a peaceful world. The Chinese representative also made a speech at the meeting, stressing that we will host an open and inclusive 2022 Winter Olympics, and that its complete success will truly fulfil Chinas promise to the world.


The 43rd plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly

—— Chinese representatives speech


I also attended the opening ceremony of the handover of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 from Guinea to Pakistan, where I heard a speech by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.


The opening ceremony of the handover of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77

——UN Secretary-Generals speech


As an intern during the pandemic, I also paid special attention to the current global situation and post-pandemic recovery, such as the uneven distribution of vaccines worldwide, the vulnerable groups of women and children in the pandemic, the transition of the world economy after the pandemic, etc. Richard, aware of our concern over this issue, gave us an opportunity to watch the press conference on COVID-19 and other global health issues held by World Health Organization to gain the first-hand information on the pandemic.


The WHO press conference on COVID-19 and other global health issues


As a member of youth, I also attended the High-Level Global Conference on Youth-inclusive Peace Processes and listened to statements by youth representatives from Colombia, Canada, Finland, Afghanistan and other countries. At the meeting, the UN Secretary General stressed that young people are not only citizens with equal rights, but also powerful agents of transformation and their views must be effectively taken. The United Nations will continue to be devoted to amplify the voices of young people and support their efforts to build a peaceful, sustainable and inclusive future. I am so excited and encouraged by the worlds emphasis on the power of youth.


High-Level Global Conference on Youth-Inclusive Peace Processes


At the United Nations, January and February have an unusual significance as departments summarize the work of the previous year and plan priorities for the coming new year. I was privileged to listen to the 56th official plenary session of the United Nations, which reviewed the report on the last years work of the UN Secretary-General and the briefing on his priorities for 2022.


The 56th official plenary session of the United Nations


In addition, I participated in the plenary session of the joint briefing by the Presidents of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, which highlighted their shared priorities and was of great significance.


The President of the General Assembly


The President of the Economic and Social Council


At the 60th session of Civil Society ForumCommission for Social Development, I had the honor to hear the voice of the Chinese representative, who shared with the world Chinas experience in poverty alleviation and the development gap in todays world, which resonated with me as a Chinese.


The 60th session of Civil Society ForumCommission for Social Development

——Chinese representative


I also watched the press conference on the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2022 and heard the speech by Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the head of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.


Mr LiuZhenmin at the press conference on the World

Economic Situation and Prospects 2022


During the internship, my leader Richard would share some materials for us to read according to the daily topics. Especially when the internship coincided with special festivals, he would give us a corresponding introduction, such as 2022 International Day of Education, International Day of Human Fraternity, World Interfaith Harmony Week, International Day of Women and Girls in Science, etc. 



UN Secretary-Generals speech on International Day of Education


The Celebration of The International Day of Human Fraternity


UN Secretary-Generals speech on The International Day of Human Fraternity


Conference on World Interfaith Harmony Week

One of the most memorable international days is the 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, with the theme Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Water Unites Us. I watched the entire conference on this International Day and listened to representatives speeches, especially those young people of my age, who called for more women in science and for equality for women. Out of my immense interest in this International Day, I did a thorough research and analysis, completed a report, and at last delivered a presentation to Richard and other interns.



Princess Nisreens speech on the International Day of

Women and Girls in Science


The representatives speeches on the International Day of

Women and Girls in Science


After each UN meeting, I would share my views with Richard, consult relevant materials and then engage in a further discussion with him. Richard listened to our ideas with full attention and elaborated on some of the relevant knowledge about UN. In addition, he would give us timely feedback on our assignments and help us learn more about the UN. Meanwhile, Richard is very interested in China and hopes to know more about the real China through Chinese students. Sometimes, in my daily assignment, I would mention some Chinese culture and interesting life and learning experience. Richard thought both of us are ambassador for cultural exchange and this is exactly the driving force for all of us to communicate and share ideas.


Everyday meeting between Richard and us interns    


During the internship, I also met some new interns from other universities in China. We discussed major international issues together, shared and exchanged ideas, learned highlights from each other’s reports, and finally made a progress together!


Daily meeting between Richard and us interns


At the end of the internship, I got the internship certificate and recommendation letter from the United Nations, which draw a successful end for my internship journey!


(My internship certificate)


Through the internship, I learned a lot about the United Nations and gained a better understanding of inclusiveness, diversity and responsibility of its various departments. After the report of each topic, I was deeply aware of the crisis and challenge in today’s world, of which I only had a rough understanding in the past. This internship gave me a chance and pushed me to investigate, analyze and think. Dealing with these global crises requires the cooperation and efforts of everyone, and there are a large number of people in the world who are doing their best to make the world a better place.


The idea of leaving no one behind of the United Nations has deeply impressed me. As the largest inter-government organization in the world, the United Nations plays a unique role in international affairs, which requires every member to shoulder mission and responsibility. No matter what cultural background you have, which country you come from, what language you speak, everyone is equal here.


This kind of equality was also reflected in the communication between our interns and Richard. No matter what ideas we expressed, he would listen attentively, express encouragement and gratitude, and give his opinions, which taught us a lot and drew us much closer. He would share with us his work experience. And we, as Chinese students, were also very happy to share with him Chinese amazing culture. In fact, this is what we called cultural exchange and we are all cultural ambassadors!


This internship journey to the United Nations was very joyful and rewarding. I made friends with like-minded peers from different places; felt lucky to learn tremendously from our leader, Richard, who is more of a good friend than a leader; and have grown a lot in my ability and vision. All these are my precious wealth, motivating me to get out of my comfort zone and constantly pushing myself!