In sunny – and sometimes cold – 71st Street of New York is the World Youth Alliance Headquarters, hosting over 10 interns from 4 different continents. The warmth of this internship batch can be felt through the happy smiles and bubbly atmosphere once you walk into the house. As the first internship batch of 2020, these interns bring over 4 different fields of study, 5 languages spoken on a daily basis, over 20 years of experience collectively, and a lot of different food recipes. Let’s get to know who they are!
As a young Paraguayan, Santiago Ruiz finished his studies at the Santa Teresita del Niño Jesús high-school. He is committed to social activities that are undertaken in his community. Santiago is a seeker of truth, he believes it is his responsibility to always defend human dignity which is one of the reasons he joined WYA. Being the youngest in the team, Santiago still learns from the experience he gains by attending United Nations events and sharing space with an intercultural team. He believes that WYA sets strong pillars for a better tomorrow and prepares leaders to become effective human dignity defenders. After the internship, Santiago hopes to expand WYA’s mission in his country and bring it to the attention of more young people like him.
David Kisache is a graduate of the University of Nairobi having majored in Sociology and Conflict Resolution. He is an enthusiast and a strong believer in the ability of the youth to spearhead positive transformation. WYA was first introduced to him through a friend. “The idea of the dignity of the human person fascinated me”, said David. He wanted to understand the concept better and thus, his journey with WYA started in 2017. David appreciates the friendships he is making with the first batch. In fact, after finishing his internship, he aims to engage in more regional events to share his experience and encourage WYA Africa to do more.
Just like David, Faith hails from Kenya. She recently completed her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) studies from Kabarak University in Nakuru County. She is in transition to joining the Kenya School of Law to complete her law studies to become a practising Kenyan Advocate. Having gained an immense amount of interest in Human Rights law, Faith took part in the Regional Internship in WYA Africa. Faith joined this batch to continue fighting for human dignity and to advance her expertise in law at the international level. When asked about what she likes the most about WYA, Faith said “Its unique foundation of grounding the most basic aspect of life into human dignity. Always appreciated the philosophical understanding of the texts, which is an insight that lots of organizations don’t have”. Faith hopes to make the world a better place by enforcing the dignity of each person through intercultural exchange, justice, and equity.
Maria Paula Ramirez is a Colombian lawyer who graduated from the University of La Sabana. As a lawyer, and having a strong interest in Human Rights and International Law, she found in WYA a tool to reach one of her goals which is making her country a better place. By successfully completing the Certified Training Program and understanding more about WYA’s work, she decided to apply for the HQ internship. Maria loves the intercultural exchange that takes place at the WYA house. Though it is sometimes difficult due to cultural differences, as she points out, Maria also learns thanks to how it changed her perspective in many ways. After the internship, she hopes to spread WYA’s mission. “If human dignity is the basis of policies, it benefits everyone”, says Maria.
Mauricio Toledo Ferreira is a law student at the University of La Sabana in Colombia. He is interested in different areas of law, among which are international human rights law, international investment law and conciliation. Mauricio is interested in the recognition of human dignity as a fundamental principle of human beings, which is why he joined WYA. He is full of passion to work in places where he can contribute to the development of protecting human rights and the recognition, respect, and growth of people in society. Through this internship, Mauricio aims to continue learning about the challenges that exist in today’s society to ensure the rights of all people. “What I like most about WYA is the opportunity to address issues that are currently very debatable in scenarios that are too important for the global development”, says Mauricio. As a student in his last semester of law, he plans to contribute to WYA by implementing his knowledge and skills, and in the same way, help promote WYA in Latin America.
Soledad graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Charles III University in Madrid, Spain to follow her interests in economics and politics. At university, she developed a strong interest in diplomatic relations and international law, all of which led her to pursue a postgraduate degree in Law. Having lived and worked in 5 different countries, Soledad was able to appreciate and learn from the various cultures and backgrounds she was exposed to. This ultimately allowed her to develop a great sense of compassion and understanding. For Soledad, WYA seemed to be a great fit. “I wanted to collaborate with the good work WYA is doing and to give back to make a better world. Gaining experience with all their advocacy work has been a very special and very rewarding experience.” She pointed when asked about her experience so far. Soledad also aims to spread FEMM’s ideals and mission within her social circle and social media informing women on an alternative to contraceptives and the importance of understanding their cycles. She believes that WYA’s work is essential for the development of our world.
Ermelinda Gjeci holds a BA in Law and a Master of Science in International Law from Beder University, in Tirana Albania. Her passion in International Law goes back to her participation in the International Moot Court Competition Philip C. Jessup in Washington, DC. While pursuing her Masters degree, she has had diverse experiences on the international and national level. Some of her most remarkable internships were at the National Democratic Institute of Albania, the Municipality of Tirana Department of Law, Contracts Office, the Parliament of Albania, and as Lawyer Assistant in Lawyer Offices in Tirana Albania. Her eagerness to broaden her knowledge resulted in joining the WYA New York Advocacy Fellowship. Her involvement with WYA dates back to when a friend introduced her to the CTP training. “I found WYA’s mission to be a great fit to my passion and education background”, said Ermelinda. WYA has always been praised for its diverse and multicultural working environment, and that is exactly what Ermelinda likes the most. She also loves sharing the mission of promoting Human Dignity and Solidarity with other WYA interns.
Paula Lopez is a law degree candidate at University of La Sabana in Colombia. This is where she reaffirmed her commitment to pursue justice through the application of different notions such as dignity. Equity, social justice and gender equality through hard work on behalf of human rights and her mentality of general wellness have contributed to her education process in institutions such as Harvard University, Stanford University and University of Chicago. Besides her academic requirements, Paula joined WYA driven by her passion for searching a just society, and her alignment with the values and principles of WYA. Paula has a lot to share about her experience in New York with World Youth Alliance so far: “I like how each member is treated with no distinction; how each task and new work is guided through meetings, guidelines and procedures, and its universal community linked with its mission. Now that I joined World Youth Alliance I’m very delighted by the way each staff member treat interns.” After going back home, Paula wishes to represent WYA values and mission in international events and conferences around the world, implement policies in her community and inspire young generations to generate an impact in the world.
Mohamed Chahbi, one of two Tunisian interns, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He has studied, worked, volunteered, interned and trained with international organisations in seven countries, including Russia and the United States. Mohamed holds a passion for learning which provided him with opportunities in international training and fellowship programs that covered human rights, democracy, development and election observation, social entrepreneurship, and venture capital, among others. He was also the co-founder and elected treasurer of the Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association. Mohamed joined WYA as he believes that it is our duty as global citizens to advocate and fight for human dignity and rights. Mohamed was fascinated by the different projects WYA prepared such as the CTP and the Human Dignity Curriculum. Mohamed also admires WYA’s workplace, how the team comprises valuable members from 7 countries representing 4 continents. “This is an opportunity to expand one’s network and to work closely with tomorrow’s global leaders.” Says Mohamed. To him, blogging about human rights and human dignity and promoting WYA’s work is a priority. After the internship, he plans to keep promoting WYA in his community.
Hailing from Tunisia, Balkis has very diverse interests. Following her passion for understanding the world, she gained over four years of experience in Literary theories, Writing and Editing, Communications, Activism, Human Rights, Management, Social Change, Conflict Resolution, Facilitation and Peacebuilding. Balkis earned her BA in English Language, Literature and Civilization from the University of Sfax in her home country. She also holds certificates in International Relations, Development and Human Rights and Advocacy. She also speaks four languages which allow her to further connect to different backgrounds. Balkis started with WYA in 2017 when she came across the organization through a random google search. It then led her to take the CTP, attend the International Solidarity Forum, and do an externship for WYA. “What I love the most about World Youth Alliance, having worked with many nonprofits before, is the fact that this is one big family, not a hierarchical structure that limits your creativity”. After the internship, Balkis hopes to further expand WYA’s mission in the Middle East to engage more members as she believes that WYA’s presence in MENA is crucial, especially under the current circumstances the region is going through.
Looking for a one of a kind internship? Call for applications are still open for this year. Or do you want to get a feel of what it’s like to be a part of WYA? Become a member today and check out our online training program.