Nationality

Malawi

Education

Master's Degree in Diplomacy, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom

Postgraduate Diploma, International Relations, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom 

Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration, Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi

Languages

English, Chichewa, Yao

To feel needed as an international civil servant is rewarding; but the intellectual stimulation I have found through my work is truly an unexpected gift. As a Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, I have witnessed first-hand the depth of planning needed to build an effective government in a developing country. Although we are based in Nairobi rather than Mogadishu, Somalia, it is still my duty to stay constantly informed of the current political dynamics of the country. My colleagues and I review security reports, research areas of conflict, and advise the Somali Government in the most competent manner we can. This relationship is critical as Somali leaders work to create the first constitution for their people. Currently, our office is supporting and guiding the Transitional Federal Government. We do this by acting as a liaison between Somali parties and encouraging reconciliation through dialogue. This is translated into a constant study of the political climate of Somalia and its African neighbors.

Such intense political analysis has led to serendipity: I am receiving an enlightening education of African culture and customs. My knowledge of the Horn of Africa region is becoming surprisingly detailed. For example, I am now studying the beautiful language of Swahili as I learn more about the particularly fascinating cultures where it is spoken. Though not a material benefit, I do find this body of political and cultural knowledge that I am acquiring to be an incredible blessing.

I have always longed for a career I could feel passionate about. In fact, this was one of the first lessons I learned shortly after completing college. At the time, I earned a place in a management training program with Kandodo, a supermarket chain in Malawi. Within a year of being in the programme, I came to the quick conclusion that working as a manager in the private sector was not for me. Deep inside, I longed to be of service to the public and I wanted the chance to use my degree in that way. I ended up quitting the program at the supermarket in exchange for a diplomatic career with the Foreign Ministry of Malawi. After a 16-year career, I then moved to a higher level by joining an organization that promoted global peace in a multicultural setting: the United Nations.

I find a great freedom in the work I do for the Somali mission. For example, I recently submitted a report that analyzes the psychology of a nation in the Horn of Africa which reportedly supports the opposition in Somalia. Such flexibility exists so that I am free to choose to research this particular topic. The intellectual challenges I find in such endeavors cannot be found in any other career. Combined with the potential impact my report could have in terms of policy formation, I would have to say that I find my work to be hugely rewarding.

If you are interested in working with the United Nations, I would emphasize the need for you to be open and flexible. You just never know what opportunities and challenges you might find here!

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