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Israa Hassane

Communications and Social Media Intern at the United Nations Development Programme, Copenhagen

A person infront of a blue and white screen.

As part of my master's in Strategic Communication at Lund University, I spent the third semester as a Communications and Social Media Intern at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in the UN City in Copenhagen.

As a passionate communicator and development enthusiast, I eagerly sought an opportunity to immerse myself in the international development field. UNDP's mission closely aligned with my career aspirations in Communications for Development, making it an ideal choice for my internship. The organization's global influence and unwavering commitment to sustainable development resonated deeply with me. These factors, coupled with my previous experience in the development field, motivated me to pursue this internship and be able to contribute to meaningful projects while learning from seasoned professionals in the field of communications.

Describe the projects or tasks you worked on during your internship.

I was part of the UNDP Talent Acquisition and People Programmes (TAPP) / Junior Professional Officer Service Centre (JPOSC) and was assigned to the Communications and Partnerships team. Throughout my internship, I was involved in various projects to enhance the organization's communication strategies and amplify its presence on social media platforms. From day one, I delved into diverse activities and initiatives focused on implementing the UNDP Careers employer branding visual identity. This encompassed crafting the employer branding strategy, conceptualizing and executing new campaigns and initiatives, and overseeing the content streams of UNDP Careers.

A big part of my daily responsibilities was co-managing with my supervisor, UNDP Careers, on all the social media platforms. This entailed content creation, visual design, community engagement, and data analysis to ensure effective digital outreach. Data analysis and reporting took a significant portion of my tasks. I had to actively monitor social media channels, analyze metrics, and provide insights to optimize our digital outreach efforts. Additionally, I contributed to developing multimedia materials tailored to resonate with various global audiences, effectively conveying UNDP's mission and impact.

One of the highlights was collaborating with colleagues across units and UN offices to develop engaging campaigns and stories. Additionally, I worked on the 14th Meeting of National Recruitment Services and UN Organizations on the JPO Programmes, facilitating seamless coordination and communication among stakeholders. Throughout these endeavours, I gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of communication within the UN system. I honed my skills in strategic planning, content creation, and stakeholder engagement, contributing to the overarching goals of promoting UNDP's mission and fostering positive change worldwide.

How were the skills you attained in your master's valuable program during the internship?

My master's program in Strategic Communication equipped me with a solid foundation in strategic planning, communication theories, and branding strategies, which were invaluable during my internship at UNDP. During the first two semesters, I had served as a strong base for understanding necessary theories in branding and organizational communication, while the practical projects we had honed my practical skills in crafting strategies, conducting audience analysis, and utilizing various communication tools and platforms effectively. This academic background enabled me to seamlessly integrate into the team and contribute meaningfully to the organization's communication initiatives from day one.

How did your internship contribute to your academic and professional development?

My internship at UNDP was a valuable experience that significantly enriched my academic and professional journey. On an educational level, it provided me with real-world insights into applying communication theories and strategies within a large-scale international organization. Through hands-on projects and mentorship from seasoned communication professionals, I gained practical skills and knowledge, especially in employer branding within global organizations.

Professionally, the internship exposed me to the intricacies of working in a dynamic and multicultural environment. It honed my communications skills and enhanced my knowledge in the data analysis field. The networking opportunities and mentorship I received have been invaluable as I navigate my communications and social media career path.

Also, a significant contribution I gained from this internship is the "people" I believe it is always about the connections we make. Being part of the UN City, where there are many UN agencies and employees worldwide, was a valuable contribution.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your internship experience?

In my first few weeks, I was asked this simple yet profound question multiple times: Why the UN/UNDP? Beyond the cliché answers, this question sparked a profound reflection that I consider one of the valuable lessons I learned from this internship. I realized that while the UN system offers immense personal and professional growth opportunities, it may not suit everyone. It is not a 9-5 job or a job with prestigious titles. You must believe in what you are doing and its impact on someone's life.

Before joining UNDP, I knew and studied how vital communication is for creating social change. However, firsthand, the impact of compelling storytelling and strategic messaging in mobilizing support and driving action on critical issues reinforced my belief in the transformative power of communication.

This experience has undoubtedly reinforced my interest in the field of development and how I can utilize communications for social good