In early June, three University of Winnipeg political science students had a chance to immerse themselves in the political dynamics of the United Nations through an intensive UN summer school program, an opportunity their political science professor, Dr. Tanya Narozhna, encouraged them to apply to.
Silke Groeneweg, Kyle Friesen and Liliana Lopez were in New York, June 3 – 7, 2019 attending Seton Hall University’s United Nations Summer Intensive Summer Study Program, an experience made possible thanks to funding from the Manitoba Chair of Global Governance Studies (MCGGS).
Lopez, who hopes to go into law after she graduates from UWinnipeg in 2020, said the trip opened her eyes to the opportunities that exist in international relations. But, if it hadn’t been for Narozhna’s encouragement, she might not have applied.
“Dr. Narozha constantly supports her students to apply for opportunities like this,” said Lopez. “She not only told me about the program, she helped me build my confidence.”
The trio had opportunities to attend official sessions at UN Headquarters, a Security Council meeting, briefings at the United Nations Association of the USA, and a series of seminars led by UN officials and representatives of governments and civil society. A standout was a talk by a humanitarian who discussed food insecurity, ending malnutrition, and the challenges of working as a female aide worker amidst serious, ongoing conflict.
“It was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the UN and the ways in which the UN interacts with its member states,” said Lopez. “It made me realize that there are multiple opportunities to follow your dreams.”
Groeneweg, a fourth year political science student interested in food security and disaster recovery, echoes Lopez’s praise of the experience. A highlight for her was the chance to attend a Security Council meeting, which she says gave her the opportunity to see firsthand how one of the most storied, and often controversial, parts of the UN operates.
“It was an amazing experience to hear from a diverse group of real-world practitioners,” said Groeneweg. “They spoke honestly and candidly about their time in the UN system, offered critiques, and answered the numerous questions we had. This experience gave me insight into the career possibilities that exist, not only within the UN, but in the broader international system as well.”
A joint program between the Department of Political Science at UWinnipeg and the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba, MCGGS promotes understanding and awareness of ongoing developments in the field of global governance. They typically fund three UWinnipeg and three UManitoba students annually to go behind the scenes at the UN for this eye-opening, first-hand learning experience.