Ph.D. in Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Diploma in Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Vocational Training in accounting, sales, pharmaceuticals (Certified Pharmacist Assistant), Apothekerkammer, Neustadt, Germany


German, English, French

Like any other organization, the United Nations needs to continuously attract new blood to build a new generation of staff. To move forward, especially in a rapidly changing world, we must continuously adjust and improve it. New ideas are needed; new vision, new drive and new energy are essential. The need for United Nations reform is as valid today as it was when I joined the organization in 1989.

Before joining, I was an intern with the Office of Human Resource Management at United Nations Headquarters in New York. What I saw and learned about the Organization during my internship is what made me want to work at the United Nations. I was attracted by the international character of the institution and the interaction with people from other countries with different backgrounds. I enjoyed working here while getting to know other languages and cultures.

My experience in my first job as a Junior Professional Officer with the United Nations Population Fund, the largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries, encouraged me further. There I assisted in the preparation of programme evaluation missions by screening country experts and was able to apply and use what I studied.

I have been fortunate to have been posted to several duty stations with the United Nations. In Afghanistan, I was the Chief Procurement Officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission. We supported the first elections as part of the larger cause of helping to rebuild the country and move it towards democracy. Supporting the election monitors required a massive coordination effort, but it showed the United Nations could really make a difference.

After 10 years at the United Nations, I decided to return to my studies and pursue my Ph.D. by researching the human resources management reforms of the Organization and obtained my doctorate at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. The United Nations allowed me to take leave to conduct my thesis research, after which I returned to work and then was able to complete my PhD. I was later transferred to the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG). Working full-time and getting settled in a new duty station while finishing my thesis after working hours was not an easy task. But I was determined to finish my Ph.D. and publish the findings as my personal contribution to the ongoing United Nations reform discussions.

After having worked in procurement, administration and budget, I am now working in the Staff Development and Staff Learning Section at the United Nations Office at Geneva. A typical day is filled with overseeing the Management & Communication Unit and coordinating training activities. Teambuilding and client-orientation is of absolute importance. As in many previous postings, the challenge of my current work is to tackle many different assignments. What I enjoy most in this job is the exposure to such different responsibilities, working with colleagues from many different backgrounds and diverse professional fields. There is always something new to discover and to learn.

My advice to anyone considering joining the United Nations is to bring enthusiasm along with a vision of where you want to be in a few years. Have a plan. From there, you can chart your career knowing what training, background and experience you will need to obtain. As with any large organization, you need to be both persistent and patient.

Many people around the world rely on our work in their struggles for a better life. It is hardly your normal 9 to 5 job.

As the United Nations is undergoes significant changes, we must remember the importance to preserve the values and accomplishments of this Organization, while welcoming transformations that will make a difference for the better.

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