By Tselmegtsetseg Tsetsendelger, Director of Communications and Advocacy for UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program
On Saturday, April 8th the Young Professionals of UNA-NCA held their bi-annual Career Dinner Series. The event started off with a reception at the United Nations Foundation where Robert Skinner, Director of the UN Information Center, was the keynote. Then the attendees of the evening left for their respective dinner. For this spring season, the Young Professionals had gathered career topics on the UN, Global Health, Sustainable Development, Communications and Advocacy, Refugees and Humanitarian Response, Gender and Advocacy, and International Law, Peace, and Security. Accomplished senior level and mid-career professionals present at the dinners included Sangeeta Rana, Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State, Lyric Thompson, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women, and Dawn Calabia, Honorary Senior Advisor to Refugees International.
The keynote speech that Mr. Skinner gave, set the tone for the rest of the night. He emphasized to the audience, a mix of recent graduates, young professionals, and professionals looking to change fields, that they should always pursue their interests and reminded everyone that careers don’t ever really take a straight line, but rather curve with different experiences and moments. Then Mr. Skinner gave the audience a walkthrough of his own past jobs and the path his career took. Mr. Skinner ended his talk with a short Q&A session, which included talking about failure, UNIC, and working in challenging climates.
I had the opportunity to attend the Careers in the UN discussion, which was the largest of the seven dinners. By the end of the event, I felt more inspired and appreciative of the frank and supportive answers that the speakers provided. The Careers in the UN dinner included Mr. Skinner as well as Fernando Flores, Program Officer at UNHCR, and Felipe Munevar, Head of Office of UNOPS. The three gentlemen shared the current hiring climate of the UN and gave practical advice and specific suggestions for the attendees. I really appreciated how the conversation was honest, and the speakers tried to be as transparent as they could about the hiring process in their respective organizations.
I am a big fan of the YP Career Dinner Series, this was the fourth one that I attended and every time that I go, it has given me inspiration and ideas on what I can do in the international field. I look forwarding to expanding my knowledge further at the fall 2017 career dinner!