Which Way Is Up?
Blogger: Katherine Carey
Well, I made it. I am back home in Sacramento after 3.5 months working at UN Women and I don’t really even know exactly what just happened to me, or how to explain it.
Two of my best friends from Oxy came to visit during their fall break, which was wonderful. We stayed in a hotel, ate lots of yummy food, did some sightseeing and exploring around the city, including visiting the Statue of Liberty, and saw The Lion King on Broadway, which was amazing. (I highly recommend seeing it for anyone who hasn’t--I wasn’t sure how they were going to translate a classic movie to the stage, but they did a phenomenal job. It is Disney, after all.) Later in October, one of my best friends from study abroad, who I hadn’t seen since we left France, came to visit New York, and we were able to walk through Central Park, get dinner, and just generally catch up, which was wonderful. Although I did bond with the members of my program, it was so wonderful to see these other people and get to explore the city with new eyes.
In early November, Superstorm Sandy hit, which was quite an experience. My parents were actually in town at the time, so I stayed with them. Although it was weird to see the streets so emptied out, it was nice to be cozied up with them. Or it was until our hotel lost power. Luckily, however, they were able to get a different hotel (with power) and catch a flight out of NYC shortly thereafter, and I was able to go back to my residence, meet up with the rest of the Oxy group, and enjoy a few extra days off of work.
At the end of November, UN Women held a massive meeting about how to integrate gender into thepost-2015 development agenda. About 35 independent experts from all over the world attended, along with representatives from about 10 UN agencies, and lots of UN Women staff members. I was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the meeting, and it was really exciting to see all that hard work come to fruition in such a positive and successful way. I even got to meet Michelle Bachelet, the former (and maybe future?) President of Chile and current Executive Director of UN Women, which was mind blowing!
Right after that meeting ended, our Oxy group went to DC for two days, where we visited the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the State Department, the Brookings Institute, and the Peterson Institute for Economics. We even got to go into the White House compound and meet Samantha Power, the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council, which was amazing. We also had a meet-and-greet event with Oxy alums who work in DC, which was a great way to get insight into their careers and connect with grads who have gone on to be successful in the fields we’re interested in. It was the first time the UN program has done a trip to DC, and it was so great.
Although this semester was extremely challenging and very work intensive, especially when it got towards the end and we had to cram in all the last-minute work on our three papers, it was really rewarding and inspiring, and I was sad to leave the wonderful people at my office. The last night we were in NYC, we had a going away dinner with the program (professors and students), and then my roommate and I went to a party that the Cuban Mission throws every year. It was delightful to see people from all over the world having so much fun together, and it felt like the perfect way to end my semester.
If you have any questions about my semester or just want to hear more about the program, please feel free to contact me. Happy holidays!