Pardee School Hosts 2018 Career Symposium

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The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University hosted the 2018 Pardee Works Career Symposium on February 9, 2018, to provide students with an afternoon of development and networking with professionals currently working in the diverse field of international relations. 

Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office Bruce Knotts delivered the keynote speech at the symposium. He was introduced by Amb. Robert Loftis, Professor of the Practice of International Relations and Director of Graduate Studies at the Pardee School. Knotts discussed the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s UN Office (UU-UNO) in engaging in international advocacy work at the UN based on Unitarian Universalist values.

From involvement in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to leading the faith caucus to establish the International Criminal Court, to overcoming UN apathy about sexual orientation and gender identity issues, the UU-UNO has a long history of providing strong leadership in all aspects of human rights at a policy level through UN consultative status.

“Organizing your mind around your goals and around what you want to do is really important,” Knotts said. “Being a U.S. Ambassador was actually not one of my primary goals, and I think that probably hurt me. Later on in my career I thought it might be nice to be a U.S. Ambassador, but I didn’t make it. I think had that been an organizing goal earlier on I may have organized my career in a way in which I could have gotten there. In your life and in your careers there will be doors that close, but if you keep on going and persist in your goals you will find the open doors. What you don’t want to do is give up.”

The keynote was followed by the first panel of the symposium featuring Virginia Fresne of Flying Kites Global, Chris Brennan Taylor of USAID, Valeria Leite of Partners HealthCare, Sidhanta Mehra of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jon Shaffer of the Boston Network for International Development, and Knotts. The panel was moderated by Amb. Loftis.

Responding to a question about the right way to approach a job or internship interview, Mehra stressed the importance of doing your research on the company or organization your applying to before the interview.

“Have you done your research on what I do? On what my project is doing? Because if you haven’t I’m confused as to why you’re sitting with me,” Mehra said. “Do you have the ambition to make impact? That has been my driving force. The idea is to make positive impact on collaborative relations between countries. I’m in the process of doing it, but there’s a long way to go.”

The second panel of the symposium featured Katie Remy of Mama Hope, Susanne Neher of Gardens for Health, Brett Sidelinger of the International Republican Institute, Jack Davidson of the Consulate General of Ireland, Torrey Ah-Tye of the UK Department for International Trade, and Joshua Kobb of the Authentic Leadership Institute. The panel was moderated by Min Ye, Associate Professor of International Relations and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Pardee School.

Neher advised students to garner as much practical experience as possible during their time at Boston University, citing the contributions she made as a student to Urban Refuge, an app created by Pardee School students that aims to connect refugees with resources through a simple mapping tool.

“If you have the opportunity to take courses that focus on practical applications I would suggest doing so,” Neher said. “I took a policy incubators class when I was senior with [Pardee School Assistant Professor of International Relations Noora Lori], and instead of just designing an intervention that would help the Syrian refugee crisis, we decided to design a mobile app. That class became an actual mobile app that is now being developed by Microsoft. It’s opportunities like that you’ll find through your classes, classmates and professors that will be the most important things in finding a job.”

The keynote presentation and panels were followed by a networking hour which allowed Pardee School students the opportunity to learn more about the organizations that interested them most.