United Nations intern has global dreams

Evi UN Bonn

By Kenna Caprio

Bonn, Germany, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, are a long way from her home in Jakarta, Indonesia — but Evi Fridayanti, a graduate student studying administrative science and global leadership at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver Campus, knew she’d have to go far to work at the United Nations one day.

Over the summer, Fridayanti interned for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The purpose of the internship, she says, was to learn about environmental and sustainable development policy process at the global level.

“I decided to apply to the internship in Germany because I wanted to have an international experience at the United Nations,” says Fridayanti. “I felt so happy when they offered it to me. I was very excited!”

For three months, Fridayanti organized meetings, drafted proposal ideas, prepared Power Point presentations, participated in workshops, contributed to speeches and worked on branding and design for online and print products, all in service of helping prevent land degradation across the globe. She credits the internship with improving her knowledge of multicultural work environments and increasing her networking opportunities and understanding of other U.N. agencies.

International work is not new to Fridayanti but Europe was.

While balancing her U.N. responsibilities, she also explored Germany by bicycle, boat and on foot. Fridayanti traveled to Cologne and Düsseldorf, and is looking forward to seeing more of the country before making stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. U.N. Evi Germany

“Before I come home for school, I will make a trip to Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris,” she says. “I have come this far and I must see the Eiffel Tower since I am this close to it!”

In her free time, Evi Fridayanti explored Germany, traveling to Heidelberg, Cologne, Düsseldorf and other cities. (Photos courtesy of Fridayanti)

Since her undergraduate days in Jakarta, Fridayanti has had an interest in international relations.

When she started graduate school at the Vancouver Campus, Fridayanti considered doing a concentration in global health or global leadership.

“I had a consultation with Professor (Constance) Bygrave and then I decided to take global leadership. I felt that I didn’t need to take global health because I already had six years of work experience in the World Health Organization (WHO). With the program in global leadership, I believe it will make me more flexible, enabling me to have a broader range of jobs to apply for,” says Fridayanti. Bygrave is an assistant professor of administrative science and coordinator of the undergraduate individualized studies and graduate administrative science programs at the Vancouver Campus.

Fridayanti previously worked at the WHO under the environmental health unit for three years and then in the HIV/AIDS unit for nearly three-and-a-half years. “During my work at the World Health Organization, I also volunteered as a training facilitator under the U.N. Cares Program to help train U.N. staff in Indonesia about HIV prevention, care and treatment, as well as HIV stigma and discrimination,” she says.

She even met the secretary-general.

“When U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Indonesia, I met him and was part of a traditional group dance to welcome him,” she says.

After graduation she’s hoping to secure a position at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, an NGO, or a nonprofit. She’s also considering renewing her permanent resident card in Canada, or applying to U.N. jobs in Europe or Asia.

“Doing an internship here (at the U.N.) has opened my mind. Now I’m not just dreaming about working at the United Nations, but also thinking I could develop an NGO, in pursuit of my goals and dreams, while making a contribution to Indonesia,” says Fridayanti. “I would like to contribute to Indonesia by doing community development through education.”