New York Squirrels

Even though, New York (especially Manhattan) doesn’t have too much green space, of course you can find squirrels everywhere (a friend of mine called them New York’s rats of the trees – a rather unflattering account, I think)! The squirrels I found most amusing were jumping around in Central Park!

For everyone who’s wondering about why I post so many squirrels on my blog, click here.

‘For those who couldn’t afford it’ – my time with the Fair Internship Initiative

In November 2015, I joined the FII.

In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a movement of current and former interns at the UN advocating for fair, more accessible quality internships (Quality and Equality) within the UN system. It is a relatively young movement in the phase where there’s a lot to be done, prioritites to be set and the survival to be secured. When I started, the Initiative did not even have a website and little knowledge about the possibilities to actually induce change. Now, it is much more organized, has joined forces more efficiently with the partner organisation in Geneva and has a well set-up website and social media presence, all due to the efforts of dedicated people who were willing to take up bits and pieces here and there and in total make it more coherent and efficient. However, there are many problems with the organisation of a small and constantly fluctuating initiative advocating at one of the biggest organisations with a high degree of institutional inertia – the UN. Although, I’ve withdrawn mostly from the FII since my return to Europe, I’ve learned a lot when I did my bits and pieces –  about the UN, youth activism, and more.

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WhatdoYOUTHink? – a perspective on panel discussions and precariousness

At the end of February, my fellow scholarship holders and I, who received a stipend from German institutions to finance our stay in New York with the UN, organized a panel discussion on:

The Youth, Peace, and Security agenda and its implications for European Youth.

While the discussion did not turn out as fruitful as we had hoped, it nevertheless alluded to one of the core problems that we, and youth all over the world, face in global politics at the moment: being taken seriously – or rather: not! While I won’t mention the names of the participants and speakers (it was a rather informal discussion), I want to give you some impressions about how the discussion quickly turned out to be a signifier for the lack of voice and credibility that is given to youth.

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by wallsdontlie 2013

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UNITED NATIONS – in a nutshell

As you know I am in New York but what am I doing here? When people ask me where I work, I have a standardised sentence by now which is very concrete, honest and will keep them from asking any further questions:

“I work for the United Nations Headquarters at the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the Secretariat. Within this Department, I work for the Office of ECOSOC support and coordination (OESC) and within THAT in the NGO Branch”. Deep breath!
We knew the UN is not an easy enterprise to get into, but I did a lot about it in my studies and still admit that it probably took me still2 months of my 6-months internship to get comfortable with the diverse abbreviations, responsibilities and regulations.

So here a quick overview of the UN – in a nutshell. Behind that bureaucratic monster lies one of the most glamourous and idealistic undertakings and one of the most politicized institutions of the world.

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New York, New York – impressions

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Voilà, I fled London due to crazy high prices, just to end up in another of the world’s most expensive cities: New York. I’ve been living here for a while now but there are still some things that surprise me (after all it’s my first time on this continent). So in good old tradition with my ‘Impressions’ posts about Bishkek: here some impressions from New York City!

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It depends… – my experience at LSE

The last year, between September 2014 and 2015, I have not been continuing this blog because I was a student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I studied in the government department’s programme ‘Global Politics’ with a special focus on ‘Global Civil Society’ and was thrilled by the UK’s systems possibilities to study basically exactly what you want. While my previous student life in Germany had been an open space of learning, developing and socializing, my time at LSE was – well: different.

After being granted the joint award for the best dissertation of my programme, my Department asked me to write a blogpost. Because I didn’t really know what I was to expect before I started at LSE, I decided to write both about my positive and negative experiences. I thought it might help someone else to decide whether to study in the UK and/or particularly at LSE. My department never published the post (maybe they expected something without negative aspects), so you can read an updated version of it here:

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The white man’s burden – or: the delusions of antifeminism!

Yes, the title of this post is almost certainly controversial! It should be.

I will explain the reason I chose the title towards the end of the post – and respect to you if you can guess it earlier. First, however, let me introduce the actual topic:

It is called meninism, neo-masculinism, anti-feminism, MRA (Men’s Rights Advocacy) and a lot more. To be clear, all these titles carry different implications for those involved, which means the movement is by no means unified, but all actors share a certain belief in the wrongs of feminism.

This week, out of a sudden, my social media was trashed with antifeminism, a topic which I had banned from my mind for the last few months, after I handed in my Masters dissertation in September. One of the leading activists in the US, and founder of one of the websites I analysed for my dissertation, made it into all kinds of different newspapers: Roosh V. Given the recent rumble around one of the websites I analysed in my dissertation, in this post I want to share a glimpse of my analysis with anyone interested in a discussion of the topic that goes beyond: “these people suck” (be it directed at MRAs, men, women or any other kind of social or not so social group).

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