UN Intern Reflection: Dana Abdulhay, UNA-USA Fellow

Dana Abdulhay serves as Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion Intern at the Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) at the Office of the Under-Secretary General in New York, NY. Dana is supported by a grant from the UNA-USA Fellowship Initiative.


Dana AbdulhayThe Department of Safety and Security is entrusted with the responsibility of providing safety and security services to the UN staff in the headquarters and in the field. My role within this department is working with the Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion Unit that focuses on a number of different important files to the department such as PSEA, LGBTIQ+, Disability, Ant-Racism, and Multilingualism. A central task assigned to our unit is the development of a comprehensive Gender Strategy set to be unveiled in 2024. The deadline for completing this task is December of this year. 

My specific role within the Unit encompasses working on the Anti-Racism and Multilingualism files. Currently, our primary emphasis is on shaping the outline of the Gender Strategy. This stage precedes the comprehensive review by supervisors, during which the strategy’s content will undergo a series of reviews and stress tests by department-wide staff members before the strategy is ready to be out and implemented.

This internship experience has proven to be immensely instructive, offering insights not only into my department but also into the broader UN system. Interacting with fellow interns from diverse backgrounds within the UN has provided a rich learning experience. These exchanges have enabled me to gain valuable insights into their work within the organization, contributing to a holistic understanding of the UN’s multifaceted functions. My supervisor’s guidance has been instrumental in facilitating my learning journey, consistently directing and acting as a source of professional advice for me and my fellow interns, ensuring that we take advantage of our time within the organization.

Through this internship, I’ve been exposed to various career prospects within the UN system. These range from contributing to the mandates of various UN agencies such as UNHCR, IOM, or OCHA, either in humanitarian roles or as a UN consultant. Alternatively, there are opportunities to work with State missions to the UN, such as the U.S.A., as an advisor to the ambassador.

Residing in New York City has not only enriched my personal experiences but has also enhanced my professional growth. Engaging with a diverse cohort of fellow interns has provided a unique networking opportunity. It has allowed me to connect with individuals from various countries and educational backgrounds, united by their shared dedication to meaningful contribution to work on global issues. Being physically present at the UN headquarters has broadened my horizons, introducing me to individuals with diverse experiences and responsibilities. New York City, with its wealth of opportunities and its unique blend of cultures and perspectives, has truly been an exceptional environment for personal and professional growth.

In summary, my time as an intern has been a valuable and enriching experience. I have gained a profound understanding of the inner workings of the UN system, formed invaluable connections, and explored exciting career prospects within the realm of international organizations. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities and insights I have garnered during my stay in NYC.