UN Intern Reflection: Marvelous Maeze, UNA-USA Fellow

Marvelous Maeze serves as Legal Intern for United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Marvelous is supported by a grant from the UNA-USA Fellowship Initiative.


Marvelous Maeze

Interning with United Nations and Planning the Second Session of the UN’s Permanent Forum on People of African Descent

I began interning at the United Nations in March 2023. I was selected to be a member of a four-person team planning the Second Session of the UN’s Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD). I was the sole member based in the United States at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY. Each week I acted as a liaison between the team in Geneva, UN HQ in Manhattan, and third parties. We were able to bring together hundreds of people of African descent from across the globe thanks to the artful leadership of Niraj Dawali and the admirable perseverance of Ely Cossio and Cynthia Racky Mafoua.

On a personal note, my favorite moment from the forum was meeting Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, who I earnestly admire and respect. I will always appreciate how she acknowledged me at that moment by gracefully expressing her support for the next generation of emerging leaders working within the United Nations. Our brief introduction occurred during a closed meeting between Members of the PFPAD where they drafted the session’s resolutions. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with and observe the Members of the PFPAD, especially Justin Hansford, who championed for me to have this opportunity.

Following the closing of PFPAD’s Second Session, I have been immersed in supporting UNFPA with the People of African Descent Initiative. My colleagues and supervisors recently released UNFPA’s report, Maternal Health of Women and Girls of African Descent in the Americas, which Executive Director Dr. Natalie Kanem commended. On the horizon, I look forward to attending the UN General Assembly for the first time this September. I am grateful for the new mentors and friends I gained from this internship. In particular, I am grateful for the mentorship of Patricia Da Silva, who has supported my ambitions, encouraged my creativity, and been a shining example of true leadership. 

Interning with the United Nations has been an absolute delight, and I will always look back on this experience fondly.