International relations students do immersion at United Nations
Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of International Relations (FGV RI) offers its students an Immersion in Global Governance in Geneva, Switzerland and Vienna, Austria. The goal of the program is to present students with the work of key international institutions involved with international cooperation and global governance.
To this end, over the course of 10 days in January and February 2023, students participated in a series of study visits and informative sessions at the headquarters of international organizations, the offices of non-governmental organizations and research and teaching institutions. Each day, the students’ activities focused on different organizations, such as the organizations of the United Nations System, in both Geneva and Vienna. Here are some examples of the places visited:
- Palace of Nations (the UN’s European headquarters)
- World Health Organization
- United Nations Human Rights Office
- World Trade Organization
- International Atomic Energy Agency
The main objective of the immersion is to familiarize students with institutions that, to different degrees and in different capacities, are involved with various aspects of global governance, in thematic areas as diverse as economic development and cooperation, international security and humanitarian assistance.
According to Professor Matias Spektor, vice dean of FGV RI, this program makes a unique contribution to students’ professional development. “Intensive meetings with international organizations help our students understand what skills and competencies they need to master in order to pursue international careers,” he says.
In addition, students are expected to develop a comprehensive sense of the challenges that state and non-state actors face in relation to international cooperation and the procedures they employ to achieve global governance goals. Finally, they gain valuable information about the careers they can pursue at the institutions they visit.
Pedro Augusto Boniatti, a sixth-semester student at FGV RI, emphasizes the program’s relevance to his academic career. “The Immersion in Global Governance Program was certainly one of the highlights of my undergraduate learning experience, allowing me to observe how the theories and content I learned in the classroom work in practice in the international community,” he says.
The program in Geneva and Vienna is also a part of the curriculum of the “Professional Workshop I – Immersion in Global Governance” elective module, earning students credits. Every year, this module is taken by two groups of 20 students, in the sixth and fourth semesters of their undergraduate degree in international relations. The groups are taught by professors Nathalia Sandoval and Oliver Stuenkel, respectively.
Professor Sandoval, who is responsible for the group of students in their sixth semester, says that the immersion helps students master topics they have studied in the classroom at FGV RI and current affairs in the international context. “In the latest edition, the students were able to understand and discuss international organizations’ responses to the war in Ukraine from the point of view of policies in areas such as nuclear security, refugees and international trade,” she says.
Core objectives of the immersion:
- Promote a solid understanding of the mandate, agenda and working procedures of some of the main international institutions involved in global governance.
- Promote a broad but well-grounded understanding of overarching dynamics in relation to global cooperation and governance, including the actors involved, their interests, capabilities and the structural constraints they face.
- Present the competencies and skills that global governance institutions require from professionals and understand the paths involved in pursuing a career at these institutions.
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