During the last week of January, IE School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs and the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) came together to launch United Nations Week, a week-long event designed for students studying the Bachelor in International Relations at IE University.

With masterclasses, career fairs, mentoring programs, presentations and more, United Nations Week was an unforgettable opportunity for the most curious and motivated students in the Bachelor in International Relations. Students had the chance to work with and learn from leading UN professionals in this transformative experience which is unique to IE University. In fact, students consider the experience to be one of the most formative aspects of their program.

Highlights from the agenda

Over the course of the week, IE University and the UNSSC team offered masterclasses on a variety of topics such as negotiating consciously, systems thinking, essentials of project management, change management, SDGs primer and leading through communication. All of these classes were imparted by high-level United Nations practitioners as an addition to students’ academic journey in the Bachelor in International Relations. 

The IE Talent & Careers team brought some of the most important intergovernmental organizations in the global sphere to the IE University campus, allowing students to meet representatives from different regions of the world and start making connections to build their careers in this field.

What’s more, students who participated in last year’s UNSSC Summer Research Program presented their reports and findings to officials from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Students talk about their experiences

In some university programs, a student’s world might be limited to classes, professors and academic projects. However, at IE University, thanks to collaborations and opportunities like United Nations Week, this is not the case. 

Learning at IE University is highly practical, pushing students to think outside the box and look at challenges through new perspectives. Our Bachelor in International Relations students shared some of their main takeaways after participating in this transformative event.

Andrea Riviere shared that for her, United Nations Week was “a great opportunity to be able to learn new strategies and new tactics on negotiations.” She felt that she could directly start “applying these skills to her academic and professional career goals.”

The week included a wide range of courses and activities, and student Sam Ferdinand explained that his class gave him new insights on “everything from SDGs and the 2030 agenda to systems thinking and negotiating consciously.” For him, the highlight of the week was seeing firsthand “how the United Nations works, how their staff is trained and how they run their operations.” 

This knowledge is not something easily obtained in a traditional classroom, but the UNSSC and the IE School of Politics, Economics and Global Affairs made it possible. Similarly, Pablo Picó Salort felt he was able to take advantage of this chance to “get inside the system of the United Nations, one of the greatest organizations in our world.” 

United Nations Week 2023 – IE University

In Ian Shepherd’s opinion, “being around all different people teaches such a wide range of perspectives,” something he appreciated about his time in the program. Because we no longer live in isolated cultural bubbles, the university experience must encourage students to open their minds to new ideas. IE University’s Bachelor in International Relations does just that.

According to Sofia Platonova, United Nations Week was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” She felt like the learning was so “condensed,” but at the same time gave students “all the opportunities needed to really specialize and pursue the careers they want, while enjoying the amazing network of both professors and students.” Sofia and her peers were able to become more “well rounded professionals,” thanks to the focus on hard and soft skills throughout the event.

Not only students benefited from United Nations Week. Tom Wambeke, a United Nations senior executive and chief of learning innovation at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO), shared that “this kind of intergenerational dialogue in an educational setting is actually a big opportunity for students and UN professionals alike.”

Bridget Harbaugh, the learning portfolio manager at UNSSC, highlighted that events like this one are something that “not many universities offer,” giving students and professionals the chance to “exchange with one another and learn from one another.”

It is clear that students in the Bachelor in International Relations were able to take full advantage of United Nations Week. It was a resounding success, helping students build skills, networks and knowledge across global communities. We look forward to the next edition!