LLB student describes United Nations internship
Final year LLB Law student Anshuk Megharikh gives his account of his internship at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
14 July 2011 was the day that the United Nations admitted its 193rd member, South Sudan, a historic occasion.
It was also the first day of the best experience of my life, an internship at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. I was attached to the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, as part of their delegation to the Security Council (SC). This was particularly exciting as India had the Presidency of the SC for the month of August, an honour that hasn’t been accorded to India in over nineteen years.
I was expected to attend all the meetings of the SC including formal and informal bilateral and multilateral negotiations on various resolutions and Presidential Statements. I was also heavily involved in the work of the SC Subcommittee on Counter-Terrorism, of which the Permanent Representative of India to the UN is the Chairperson.
My work including writing reports on all the meetings I attended for the benefit of the Ministry of External Affairs in India, researching and providing backgrounders on the various issues to the Indian diplomats and taking part in negotiations when appropriate. On occasion I was also asked to attend meetings as the sole representative and make statements on behalf of India.
The work I did was fulfilling, enlightening and most of all, extremely exciting. I was fortunate enough to sit through closed deliberations on the escalating situation in Syria and the constantly changing situation in Libya.
I was also involved in the drafting of the historic Presidential Statement on the situation in Syria on the 3rd of August. It was one of only three occasions in history that a country had “dissociated” itself from a Presidential Statement, the last happening over 35 years ago.
One of the highlights of my six weeks at the UN was the opportunity to interact with a huge variety of senior leaders from Governments across the world, including the Presidents of Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Nauru; the Foreign Ministers of Serbia, Kosovo and Australia and a large number of Ministers from over fifteen different countries.
I was also lucky enough to meet celebrities such as the supermodel, Alek Wek and the captain of the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez. But most of all, my daily interactions with diplomats and interns from across the world were the most enriching experiences of my life, teaching me more about the culture and history of these countries than any book ever has.
These were, by far, the best six weeks I have ever had. I did not, for one moment, mind the sixteen-hour days or the six-day weeks, simply because I loved what I was doing.
The sheer importance of the work I was involved with hit me during a casual conversation with the Indian legal attaché after negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty. He said, “As a law student, you’re particularly lucky to have sat in on these negotiations, because if they are successful, two, maybe three years down the line, students such as yourself will be sitting in universities all across the world, studying exactly what we talked about in there, trying to figure out what we are trying to achieve.”