Meet the Holy See Mission's
Summer 2018 Interns
Summer 2018 Interns from left to right: Maroun Maalouf, Michelle Rioux, Leo Keay, Giulia Maniezzi, Marco Bachmann, Giuseppe Beretta, Jonathan Van Pham, Augustin Gick (not pictured: Michelle Perez, Aaron Salvan)
The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN happily welcomed its interns and fellows for the Summer 2018 Session. Four new interns have joined veteran interns who have remained from previous cycles. This Summer, the interns and fellows will cover, in addition to regular meetings of the Security Council and General Assembly, important UN events and meetings like the High Level Political Forum beginning next week and the final negotiations toward a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
In the past two years, the Mission has enhanced its training program for interns and set up programs with various Catholic universities to sponsor fellowships for students or graduates. The Mission has seen a growing number of applicants from diverse academic backgrounds and nationalities since strengthening the application and interview process, making the selection process increasingly arduous and competitive and creating a pleasant challenge for the Mission to select top talent among bright young adults who wish to serve the Church and the world at large. Applications are now being received for the Spring 2019 Session (January through May). Information on applying can be found here.
Father Roger Landry, who coordinates the internship program at the Mission, said that two years ago the Mission enhanced its training program for interns and began to set up fellowship programs with various Catholic universities to sponsor fellowships for students or graduates to serve. “There’s been great interest on the part of Catholic colleges and universities to further their student’s education by making possible fellowships with the Mission. It’s a win for the university, a win for the Mission and a big win for the students.”
The Mission has also strengthened the application and interview process and begun to advertise the opportunity more widely. The result has been a “deluge of excellent applications, which makes the selection process much harder,” but the results are paying off. “The young people are very impressive and are proving themselves to real contributors to our work at the United Nations,” Fr. Landry added.
We asked the interns for some thoughts about what brought them to apply to serve at the Holy See’s Mission, what they have learned so far, and what they hope to do with the experiences they’ve gained. Here is what some of them said:
The most memorable experience for me so far was entering the Security Council chamber and seeing all the Ambassadors from Israel, Palestine and the US sitting at the same table discussing issues related to my homeland. It just shows the importance of the UN, that there is one place where even adversaries can sit together and talk about things that impact the daily life of many people around the world.
- Maroun Maalouf, Palestinian-Israeli Law Graduate who just finished a Fulbright at Fordham University
Seeing the success of past interns' work and research come out in this year’s negotiations has been inspiring for me. I always felt that what I do here matters but now I realize even more how enduring our work as interns can be. The Church thinks in terms of centuries so you get the impression that what you build will endure.
- Michelle Rioux, Law Graduate and Fellow from the University of St. Thomas
I've gotten a practical grasp of the realities of policy making and what international relations are actually like, especially negotiations. It can be a long, technical and tedious process and it is very difficult to achieve consensus. But that makes it all the more valuable to see how so many countries with fundamentally different views can reconcile their various national interests in a way that is beneficial for everyone.
- Leo Keay, UK, University of Oxford
After my fellowship at the Mission, I have accepted a position as a professor of philosophy. I think my experience at the UN will help me as a professor to better engage with students of different persepctives. I’ve learned it helps to take a step back to let others express themselves and listen to their perspective so you can understand and react to that point of view in a more effective way.
- Giulia Maniezzi, Italian fellow with a PhD in Philosophy from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and the Institut Catholique in Paris.
I've gotten a better perspective of the world and the universality of the mission of the Catholic Church. Being at the UN you get to meet people from every country and so many cultures. You get to confront the situation of refugees and migrants universally. This has not only been an extraordinary learning experience as a human being, but as a future priest, I think will help me to serve people better from all backgrounds.
- Jonathan Van Pham, Catholic University of America, Seminarian for the Diocese of Rockville Centre