Search This Blog

Friday, August 31, 2012


While we were in Hamburg, I interned at UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning.  UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  Probably what they are best known for is establishing World Heritage Sites, but they do a lot of other great things too.  What I was working on is a publication called GRALE (Global Report on Adult Learning and Education).  Basically, in 2008 a bunch of UN member states got together for a conference in Brazil, called CONFINTEA VI.  It's a conference held once every several years to discuss adult learning.  After the conference, they put out a document which summarized what had been decided at the conference.  This document is called the Belem Framework for Action, and in it our little institute is charged with compiling data from as many member states as possible and synthesizing the data into a publication.  That publication is GRALE.  The first GRALE was published in 2008 and the one I worked on is the 2nd one.  Sorry for all this info.  I know no one probably cares but me.  Anyway, so before I got there, the institute (read: Anna) had already created and sent out reporting templates (read: questionnaires) to all of UNESCO's member states (which is something like 190 nations).  We were working on getting the nations to send them back to us, and to do so using the correct format, etc.  So, I kept up a spreadsheet on our progress and drafted emails and called UNESCO offices, etc.  Also, GRALE is organized into 6 chapters: governance, finance, participation, quality, policy and literacy (whew! still remember!).  I was assigned to the participation chapter and (together with input from the rest of the group) came up with the chapter's outline, main points, etc.  Also, once we finished collecting reporting templates, I spend a couple weeks inputting the data into the computer.  I also helped prepare for a conference, took down minutes at meeting, did some editing and lots of other little things.  It was a great experience.  I really loved the people I worked with.  They were kind and hard working and interesting.  I felt like I was a valued part of the team and like I was doing something real for a change, instead of just schoolwork.  One of my favorite aspects was that I worked with such a diverse group of people.  There were several Germans, a woman originally from India (who had lived in Germany for many years), a man originally from Togo, a woman originally from Ghana, a man from Ghana, a couple people from Korea, one from China, one from Japan, one from the Philippines, etc.  We all brought our different backgrounds into the work.  It was sad to say goodbye!

Below are some photos of the building:

My desk - coveted for how much relative privacy it offered.

Binders filled with email correspondence and completed reports from member countries.

Window by my desk with the flowers I bought from the market at lunch.

Snack table in our little intern room.  Sometimes other employees would come by just for our snacks.

Some of the other interns!  From right to left: Eugene, Mika, Seara and Ruthie.  They're great.

The building is an old mansion.

One day this famous German rockstar name Udo Lindenberg came by to see if he could use the house for a party.  All the Germans freaked out and we made him sign our guestbook.  Apparently Mika thought he was some homeless guy when he first walked in.  She is obviously not German.

This Chinese temple style building was across from our building.  Always reminded me of Taiwan.  I think it was a museum.

Dammtor Station, where I got off every day to go to work.
Farewell UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning!  Keep learning!!!

1 comment:

  1. Did you just post a mess of posts all at once? Because I don't know how I could have missed so many. I promise I did read them all in a very interested fashion, but I am far too lazy to comment on each one. I love your big adventure in Hamburg! Maybe one day I'll have one of those foreign type adventures, but it's not looking good. I just live vicariously through you and Tom, and Scott and Ashley (who just returned from India!) And now you are in Salt Lake? Do I have that right?