|Lehigh University > United Nations Partnerships > Lehigh Student Interns at United Nations > Hidayah Amin
July - Dec 2007 Intern
Hidayah Amin was a Fulbright Scholar from Singapore. She graduated from Lehigh University in 2007 with a Master of Science in Instructional Technology. While at Lehigh, Hidayah was active in the various SERVE programs; the latest one was in a South Dakota Indian Reservation where she initiated the “The Young Lakota Film-maker Project 2007” and taught Native American students film-making.
LIFE AS AN INTERN
I remember taking a photograph outside the gates of the United Nations (UN) Secretariat building during the Fulbright Orientation when I first came to the United States of America. Little did I know that I would be sitting and listening to the UN General Assembly Debates a year later.
My life as an intern in the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) section of the Department of Public Information (DPI) has been interesting. What little knowledge I had of the UN was previously gained through the media and books. I remember visiting the UN base camp in Meulaboh, Aceh after the tsunami; only to marvel at UN’s humanitarian involvement. Interning at the UN further enhances my understanding of the UN and its overall purpose as the centre of harmonizing the actions of nations in maintaining international peace and security.
Being involved in the organizing of the DPI NGO Annual Conference had enabled me to network with various NGO representatives, prominent UN officials, representatives of UN member states as well as eminent academics. I was amazed at how strong and dedicated the NGOs were in advocating important issues such as health, the environment and education. As an intern, I was also involved in the weekly briefings for NGO representatives about issues ranging from the eradication of poverty to eliminating stigma on HIV-positive patients to the psychological impact of natural disasters. Sometimes, the administrative work got a little mundane, leaving me frustrated at not being at the forefront of the action (so to speak). However, I was comforted by the fact that whatever little contributions I made would have helped humanity albeit indirectly.
In the course of my internship, I was also in touch with UN Directors and members of the academia whose great intellectual capabilities and equally humble personalities served as an inspiration to me. Of equal inspiration are some Hollywood celebrities whom I had met par hasard at the UN: Michael Douglas, a UN Messenger of Peace was humble about his volunteer work on disarmament. So is Kevin Kline (whose film “Trade” sheds light on the underground world of human trafficking) who is working closely with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Many of the people working at the UN are dedicated to their work and towards achieving a better world for mankind.
Some questioned my sanity when I agreed to intern pro-bono at the UN and to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities for six months. Is it worth … being able to meet people of different ethnicities and cultures? Being able to translate English to French and vice versa? Being able to sit in Conferences and meetings and learn about the different countries’ problems and possible solutions? Being able to network with distinguished ambassadors and fellow interns from around the world? Being able to listen to world leaders speak up close and personal? Being able to enrich my life with new knowledge and a priceless experience? The answer is Oui.
For more information, contact Dr. Bill Hunter at email@example.com.