Campus: CSU Long Beach -- July 13, 2005

California State University, Long Beach Student Spending Summer in New York City, Participating in United Nations Internship Program

Anahit Samarjian, a student at California State University, Long Beach, is spending the bulk of her summer vacation in New York City this year, but it's not a pleasure trip.

Samarjian is one of 120 students taking part in the United Nations Headquarters Internship Programme. The two-month summer program began June 7, and her last day as a UN intern will be July 29.

But, her participation is a bit more out of the ordinary because the program is for graduate students. Samarjian is still an undergraduate. In fact, when the fall semester begins at CSULB on Aug. 29, she will just be entering her junior year.

"The official UN Internship Program is for graduate students only, but undergraduate interns can be hired by the department if the supervisor feels the student can contribute," explained Samarjian, a double major in international studies and communications with minors in French, entrepreneurship and history. "My resume was passed on to my UN supervisor by the Armenian General Benevolent Union Internship Program, which helped me secure my internship."

The objective of the internship program is threefold: to provide a framework by which graduate and post-graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds may be assigned to United Nations offices where their education experience can be enhanced through practical work assignments, to expose them to the work of the United Nations, and to provide UN offices with the assistance of highly qualified students specialized in various professionals fields.

"My main objective for the internship here is to learn as much as I possibly can," said Samarjian, a President's Scholar at CSULB. "I have no illusions about being an important part of the system here. I could leave tomorrow and it would have no effect whatsoever on the UN.

"However, I can use this amazing opportunity to study - on political, psychological and social levels - the way an important international organization runs. I have the chance to see the successes of the UN and a first-hand opportunity to see the shortcomings," she added. "If my career leads me to working in politics or as part of an international organization, this experience will prove invaluable."

Samarjian is working in the Department of Management at the UN in the Office of the Secretary of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly. The Fifth Committee is the main committee of the General Assembly entrusted with responsibilities for administration and budgetary matters. Due to the increased workload of the Fifth Committee during the past years, it is now standard practice for the committee to meet not only during the main part of the General Assembly (September to December) but during resumed sessions in March and May as well.

Samarjian is interning during the resumed session that began in May, and during this time the Fifth Committee typically considers items relating to the financing of peacekeeping operations.

While her responsibilities include attending meetings, taking notes of the procedures of the meetings, handing our draft documents to member states' delegates, making copies and cleaning out old storage files, the experience is proving to be quite valuable and illuminating for Samarjian, who is still undecided on a career path.

"As my internship is coming to a close, I can say that I have never learned so much in so little time as I have here at the UN," Samargian pointed out. "This experience has allowed me to see world affairs close up and on a very personal basis. It has made me more knowledgeable about reality in the political world. I can't say that being an intern at the UN has solidified my desire to work for an organization such as the UN, but it has given me the invaluable gift of knowing what it would be like if I did."

Media Contacts:
Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454, rgloady@csulb.edu
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727, schroede@csulb.edu


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