Week eleven, I’m in heaven…

Yes, I just chose that title because it rhymes.

I can’t believe it is already the last week of my internship here at ECLAC in Trinidad and Tobago. Next Monday I leave to take a quick trip home to the Bahamas before I make my way back to Colorado for my last year (*sniff*) of my Masters program at Korbel.

These last two weeks in particular have been moving very quickly at the office, as assignment after assignment has come rolling in. It would not be an exaggeration to say that my fellow intern and I at the Economic Development Unit have very much been treated as members of the office…. that is, we have essentially been doing the work of real staff members, with all the pressures and deadlines that go with it. Ultimately I think it had a lot to do with shortages of ACTUAL staff…but it certainly gave us an opportunity to be exposed to the work of the unit* (see below for further comments).

For example, over the last two days, I have prepared part of a presentation for the Director of our unit, the Economic Development Unit, to make at the 34th Session of ECLAC in San Salvador at the end of the month, where ECLAC will launch its major new publication, “Structural Change for Equality”, as well as speaking notes on the Bahamian and Barbadian economies in 2012 for the Executive Secretary (basically the head honcho) of ECLAC itself, Chile-based Alicia Barcena.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to find time to finish my own presentation which I will make at the end of the week to the entire ECLAC Port of Spain office on some of the work I have done while I’ve been interning, some reflections and recommendations.

To give you an idea of some of the other tasks I will be mentioning during that presentation, here’s a few:

+ Researching policies implemented by Caribbean governments in 2011 that could be said to be ongoing responses to the financial crisis and global economic downturn that began in 2008, which will be included as an appendix to the Economic Survey 2011 document published by ECLAC Port of Spain

+ Collecting and analysing trade data from the UN Comtrade database to try to identify some trends and points of interest which could form a part of a new study on trade in the Caribbean which is to be put together by the unit in the coming year

+ Writing two articles for UN magazine, FOCUS, on Caribbean economic trends in 2012 and Social Protection challenges and solutions in the region

+ Researching and writing on the subject of disunity in Caricom in 2012, for the “Paninsal” publication produced by ECLAC’s Santiago office

+ Conducting a literature review of recent trade literature relating to the Caribbean and trade theory in general

+ Attending seminars and conferences, including everything from a seminar on Caribbean development held at the Port of Spain office, to a speech given by Chinese prime minister Wen Jia Bao on Latin American-Chinese relations.

And that’s not even half of it.

If you are thinking about interning with the UN, or ECLAC in particular, feel free to comment with any questions.

To finish up, here’s some photos….two of my hilariously windowless and blank-walled office…and one of myself and my lovely fellow EDU members:

* It also gives more pause to think about the fact that the UN does not pay its interns when it seems that they are not only getting a work experience but filling for official staff due to the shortages created by the current hiring system, which is in need of reform (see previous post). The fact that it does not do so, or indeed, does not even provide a stipend of some kind to cover basic expenses, is something that I feel I have a responsibility to point out whenever possible having been able to gain first hand experience of the fact that interns do *real* work and having considered the fact that by providing no financial support whatsoever to people essentially working for it for extended periods of time, it seems to go against the type of basic principles the UN stands for. That is not to say that in many other ways individual staff at ECLAC have, in the ways that they can, been very considerate and supportive of us as interns, and even expressed their own conviction that the lack of stipend is unfair.

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Posted on August 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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