Industry: International
Type of Internship: Communications: Writing/Editing, Research: Social Sciences
Student Name: Navid Shahidinejad
Graduation Year: 2014
Major: Economics, International Relations
Minor: None
Position Title: Research Assistant Intern
Hours: 40 hours per week
Paid or Unpaid: Unpaid but receiving Career Center grant, full-time

What do you do as an intern at this organization?

I mainly do research and writing, which includes researching the office’s areas of interest (human rights, advancement of women, sustainable development, religion's role in society, etc.), providing background information for office staff, drafting memoranda, and writing summaries. The work also includes attending and organizing UN meetings and briefing staff on the discussions. My typical day consists of researching a topic in-depth (including reading and summarizing UN and NGO reports, reading scholarly works, and going over statements and treatise) and then preparing outlines of what I read and, as it is approved, drafting papers about the specific topic.

How did you find this internship?

I have been aware of the NGO for some time now and I met people that have worked here. In addition, I looked at their website and applied directly.

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

The topics I am researching are some of the best things about my internship. The access to UN meetings and contacts is also very valuable. I have a high regard for my colleagues, as they are extremely capable and driven, yet at the same time humble and very open to other people's contributions.

What do you find challenging?

My main challenge was going through the readings and trying to parse out relevant information. In a little over a month I read over 600 pages and had to read many of them carefully. Given the nature of the reading, it can be very repetitive and full of rhetoric, so deciding what was meaningful was a challenge. I learned a lot from this though!

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

All are welcome to apply to the BIC. The staff is eager to attract motivated people with open minds and a desire to contribute. Applications are accepted all year round. On a more general level, anyone going to intern for an organization needs to reflect beforehand on what type of contributions they hope to make and prepare themselves to accommodate to the needs and challenges of the organization. Additionally, I believe it is valuable to carefully research the purpose, goals, framework, values and perspectives of the institution.

About the Organization

United Nations Office of the Bahai International Community
New York, NY

The Baha'i International Community is an international non-governmental organization with affiliates in over 180 countries. The work of our Office is guided by the teachings of the Baha'i Faith and the knowledge generated by the worldwide Baha'i community as it endeavors to apply the principles of unity and justice to the betterment of villages, neighborhoods and to society as a whole.