September 27, 2016 | Nihan Rafique
This summer I interned at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations. Working under the Legal Counselor, I had the opportunity to participate in the 5th biannual review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. This document serves as a framework to further local, regional and global efforts to countering terrorism.
Having no prior professional experience in the security sector, this internship provided me with a great platform to apply my theoretical knowledge. I saw firsthand how tricky it can be to align national interests with international agendas, achieve global consensus, and create a strategy that is relevant, applicable and fair on all parties involved. Reviewing documents, doing research, preparing notes and memos was an important part of the internship, but it was the introduction to global diplomacy that was the greatest insight.
While I primarily focused on the counter-terrorism review, I also had the opportunity to attend the many side events, seminars and panel discussions held at the UN Headquarters. I engaged in dialogue over the role of youth in preventing violent extremism, learned about UNDP efforts in promoting the rule of law, and heard from experts on issues ranging from counter-terrorism to law of the sea and the environment.
There were so many highlights to this internship, it is hard to list them. Attending sessions in the Security Council, meetings in the General Assembly, discussions in the ECOSOC chamber, and Friday evenings in the Delegate’s Lounge while amazing in their own right, when combined with the chance to meet and interact with government and military officials, diplomats, peacekeepers, and interns from around the world, made this internship a truly great experience.