Summer in Geneva

Greetings from Geneva! I have been here for over a week now, and am very happy with my decision to participate in Duke’s Geneva Program. The lake is beautiful, the chocolate is amazing, and the opportunities to meet and network with other young professionals from around the globe are many. Best of all, my internship is exactly in line with my interests, my supervisors are great, and I am consistently inspired to learn more languages!

My internship with with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which is located at the Palais des Nations (where there are indeed peacocks that freely roam the grounds). I work in the Emergency Services Branch’s Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS), which trains and mobilizes international search and rescue units and emergency management expert teams. The network, called the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, is able to deploy a team to anywhere in the world within 48 hours of a disaster in order to assess the situation and help coordinate the influx of international aid. At the moment, I am helping develop training materials for a two-week UNDAC induction course in the Americas Region, which will take place in Panama in June. I’ll also be working on projects for the Africa-Middle East-Europe Region, and have had the opportunity to attend a number of meetings and panels, including a Flash Appeal to increase aid to Libya, a briefing for the new Resident Coordinator for Chad, a meeting with Qatari foreign ministry officials interested in sponsoring an UNDAC team member, and the launch of an OCHA policy report entitled “To Stay and Deliver: Good Practice for Humanitarians in Complex Security Environments.”

I will try to write another update soon, but in the meantime, I look forward to reading about other Sanford intern experiences from around the globe! I wish you all an amazing start to the summer!

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