Students on the Move: Meet Sarah Ragsdale who just started her first semester with UNMA this Spring. She has a diverse and impressive background in music, entertainment, and non-profits. She holds undergraduate degrees from Radford University in Economics (B.S.), Spanish (B.A.), and Music (B.A.) as well as a certificate in Music Composition from Berklee. Sarah was a Kirk Scholar studying Mandarin Chinese abroad, as well as Spanish during study abroad and internship in Mexico. As a performer and songwriter, she has spent time in Africa and Europe working on international music collaborations. She currently holds a Communications Internship at the Center for Women's Global Leadership. Sarah loves the very involved faculty in the UNMA program, as well as their first-hand stories from prominent work in global organizations. She hopes that her unconventional background will be an asset to her work in the UNMA program. Recently Sarah attended the Eagleton Institute of Politicspublic lecture “Our Country, the Constitution and Conservatism” with speaker William Kristol, the editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard. Sarah got to ask the speaker closing question which she focused on the strength of our institutions under authoritarian-leaning leadership. UNMA wishes you very best, Sarah and we look forward to expand our collaboration beyond the classwork!
The evening at the UN IYLA was really interesting and inspiring. Not only did we get a chance to hear from delegates, UN officials, and impressive international students, but we also had the opportunity to network with students and professionals. It was really interesting hearing about people's jobs as they relate to international development and entrepreneurship. It was also incredible to be in General Assembly Hall. I would definitely recommend people attending next year of we have the opportunity again.
UNMA Students of the Move: "I have been working at PAX since August and I can say that my experience here has been nothing short of exciting. PAX, Program of Academic Exchange, is an educational nonprofit organization that helps high school students from around the world study in the United States. We work with foreign organizations, as well as the State Department, to place students with American host families and help them enroll in high school. Our students come from countries like France, Spain, Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Somalia just to name a few. Students coming from these countries are at the top of their class and the process itself is quite competitive. I work at PAX as a Regional Support Specialist, which basically boils down to me assisting Regional Directors in placing these international exchange students in schools. Having the opportunity to help students study here in the U.S., but also to help spread their culture and create more understanding is one of the best parts about working here. Now more than ever it’s important we listen to each other and celebrate our differences. If you or someone you know is interested in opening up your home to an international exchange student, please visit pax.orgto learn more!"
Here is Michelle Adames-Sucameli, our first year UNMA student visiting the beautiful Amman, Jordan this Fall. While in Amman, Michelle visited numerous sites and caught up with old friends from her previous trips to the Hashemite Kingdom. Michelle believes deeply in the power of travel to transform lives. She says, “I think American’s believe the Middle East is like this or like that. I don’t think it’s either. I wish that more Americans came here and saw firsthand the beauty of this country, its language and its culture. There’s so much more to the MENA than what we see on TV.” Throughout her time in Amman, Michelle attended several events including exhibitions at Amman Design week and the Jordanian National Museum. She also visited some of her most favorite destinations in the city such as Jabal Luweibdeh and Wasat al Balad. She considers Jordan her home away from home. To quote his Royal Highness King Hussein Bin Talal, "Jordan has a strange, haunting beauty and a sense of timelessness. Dotted with the ruins of empires once great, it is the last resort of yesterday in the world of tomorrow. I love every inch of it.”
'The experience visiting Islamic Center of Kassel during ESI was truly amazing. We heard about different struggles each refugee encountered, such as traveling for over 5 years until they reached Germany. Some traveled with their families which includes young children. We also heard about their experience settling in Germany. The involvement of the Mosque assisting the refugees extended far beyond worship. They provided assistance with searching for homes, applying for immigration status, finding language teachers, schools for the children and so on. It was truly wonderful to have the opportunity to meet these incredible individuals! Thank you for encouraging this opportunity!'
Meet Amy Passaro, the second year UNMA student. Amy is currently co-president of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund at Rutgers University, and is conducting research on the Geneva Conventions and Palestinian Prisoners of War that will be presented at the Hague in December 2017. 'My time in the UNMA program has taught me so much. It has presented me with an opportunity to publish my research and, has given me the appropriate tools to pursue a PhD after graduation. This summer, through the program, I was able to travel to Europe and make some lifelong friends. The UNMA program has not only prepared me for my future in global politics, but has also helped create memories of a lifetime.'
Last academic year we had 11 UNMA students interning for UN agencies, governments and other organizations. Here is the story of Valeria Valle who is an intern at the UN Training and Research Institute: 'I take joy coming into the city every morning and walking down to 1st Ave and 44th to my internship site. Interning at the New York office of UNITAR has probably been one of the best experiences I have had. I communicate and collaborate with various member states and other agencies within the UN to deliver informative courses for the public, UN staff, delegates and ambassadors. I greatly appreciate UNITAR for allowing me to engage in these projects independently where I am able to apply skills and knowledge I gained as a student in the UNMA program, and combine them to produce results that benefit the agency. I had the fortune to engage in the High Level Political Forum in July 2017, where UNITAR, among other UN agencies organized courses aimed to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and I was part of research, organization, and communication. Throughout the series of these week-long courses, I was able to find the relationship between the topics that were discussed in my coursework at UNMA and understand the challenges that stand as a barrier to achievement and implementation of SDGs on a global scale. Ultimately, my professional aspiration is to work in the field of Humanitarian Affairs. I have learned so much through the courses I have had the privilege to develop from scratch and coordinate. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer than spending this time with UNITAR'.
'We visited international organizations and NGO's in Geneva. First, I'd like to thank Ms. Janne Mande for organizing our study trip to Geneva. We received presentations on Business and Human Rights from professionals who work in the World Health Organization, United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, amongst others. Aside from their presentation, they also took the time to explain their career paths and gave us some advice as to how to work in our desired field. Geneva trip is only one of the many great things that the European Summer Institute has to offer. It is an opportunity to meet people from other countries and share our experience. ESI is also an edifying experience'.
"During the summer of 2016, I was part of the first European Summer Institute Trip to Germany with Professor Davis and the UNMA program. From being picked up at Frankfurt airport to escorting us on trips to Geneva and Berlin, the Kassel University staff was tremendous and extremely helpful. As for my home stay, I could not have asked for a better family. We actually got so close that they are coming to New York this July to visit, as we have maintained communication almost daily since I returned to New Jersey! Lastly, this adventure allowed me to experience a different culture and people at a deeply meaningful level, and I even found time to go to Prague in between classes! This was truly an experience of a life time".
"The European Summer Institute was a great experience for me. I was especially grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in Kassel, Germany where I got a European perspective about global affairs and got to visit places of historical and personal interest. Visiting the United Nations in Geneva was fascinating and enabled me to learn more about a diverse range of topics. These experiences have helped me grow as a scholar and a person".
“Coming to Rutgers from a different state I had no clue what to expect but have felt at home since moving to New Jersey. In my first semester here, I jumped right into a class that is near to my heart, International Criminal Law with Dr. Adi. Before coming to Rutgers I was a delegate at the National Model UN Conference twice in New York City where I was able to vote on resolutions in the UN General Assembly Hall. Not only have I had this educational experience, but outside of class had the opportunity to be the Director of Educational Initiatives for the Illinois State Campus Chapter of UNICEF, as well as be a co-founder of the Water Walk, a bi-annual 6 kilometer walk to simulate the daily struggle Ethiopian women and children go through to access water, while not knowing if their water source is safe or dried up. This event has grown from six to nearly three hundred and raised enough money to build three wells in Ethiopia. I would love to bring this event to the Rutgers campus and get UNMA students engaged in the planning process as well”.