An IEM student completed an internship at United Nations
21.05.2019

Ilya Kovalenko, a graduate student at the TSU Institute of Economics and Management (IEM), has completed an internship at the United Nations. Having started implementing the UN model among Tomsk schoolchildren with Ilya Kosolapov, a student of the Faculty of Philosophy, he found this opportunity to go directly to work at the international organization.

Despite the fact that the UN headquarters is in New York City, the land on which it is located does not belong to any country or US state. The fundamentals of the organization’s activities and its structure were developed after the Second World War by the leading member countries of the anti-Hitler coalition.

Ilya Kovalenko spoke about the internship and how students who came to it from other Russian cities consider TSU one of the best universities.

- I would start by saying that globalism is the tendency and the inevitability of the 21st century: all countries interact with each other, and there are many common questions in ecology, economics, and the alleviation of poverty. This format is interesting to me, and in March, with my friend Ilya Kosolapov, a political analyst, we organized a UN model for schoolchildren. The experts were representatives of the Youth Department of the Russian Society of Political Scientists, who helped simulate the work of the committee and formed the agenda. The delegates were representatives of different schools: only 15 teams (UN delegate countries) of 3-4 people - a total of about 50 participants.

It is one thing to hold such an event among schoolchildren, and another to participate in the internship itself with students of metropolitan universities. This internship was mainly for students in the final courses and graduates specializing in international relations. I learned about the upcoming event from a friend who had already done it. There is a special UN organization that models the work of all the committees. Students and graduates from approximately one hundred countries meet in New York. Russian diplomatic students are sent there by a foundation accredited to the UN. To go to New York, I passed a competitive selection. The main requirements are an active life position, being well-read, and having a good knowledge of English.

The essence of all the work is the interaction of delegations from different countries. I worked for the UN Environment Program. Our main goal was to protect biodiversity and reduce the burden on the world's oceans (the problem is the concentration of harmful substances and increased stress on the use of the world’s water resources). For several days we interacted with representatives of different countries, each with their own vision of the problem, and their own interests that need to be defended. As a result, a resolution was prepared: there were main points that all participants were able to agree on. This resolution is, of course, was only a training one.

It seems to me that work in the UN is similar to relations in a large family: each has their own interests, somewhere you have to share, somewhere you need to display strength, somewhere you need to raise your voice, somewhere you need to keep silent. This is diplomacy, a very subtle game. It is interesting to interact with people of a different mindset, for example, from Latin America, African countries, or Singapore. But if in matters of ecology it is possible to find common ground, because the interests of different countries are common, there are some more disputable questions, including political, related to the introduction of troops, peacekeepers, major events, and others. In preparing the resolution, economic literacy was a big plus for me, despite the fact that I do not receive a diplomatic education, as most of the internship participants do.

Being in such a student diplomatic community is a certain level, and it gives an additional motivation to develop further. By the way, students from Moscow and Yekaterinburg who were with me, having heard that I came from Tomsk, noted that they know about Tomsk State University as one of the leading universities in the country.

I highly recommend all students and graduates to live an active life. Only that way will you learn about new interesting projects and opportunities. New contacts and people are always an expansion of opportunities and personal and professional horizons!