| by Jason Warburg

News Stories

Group of people sitting cross-legged on the floor around a rectangular carpet.
Marie Djeni MAIPD ’19 (center, farthest back) meets with UNICEF beneficiaries in a village in Chin State, Myanmar, 2019.

Middlebury Institute students interested in international development gained an exclusive new career opportunity with the signing of a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Institute and UNICEF, the United Nations’ primary child- and youth-focused agency. Under the MOU’s terms, UNICEF will reserve two internship slots per year for current Institute students. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to ensure that MIIS students have an internship with a major employer like UNICEF,” says Carolyn Taylor Meyer, director of immersive professional learning, who collaborated on the development of the MOU with Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships Jill Stoffers, Director of Employer Relations Bryce Craft, Director of Sponsored Programs Meghan Rasmussen, and Executive Assistant to the Vice President Barbara Burke. “We have had MIIS students intern at UNICEF in the past through cold-pitching supervisors, but this MOU formalizes and clarifies the process and should help to ensure that we have a steady stream of students interning at UNICEF and hopefully launching coveted UN careers.”

The paid internships will be supported by a combination of Immersive Professional Learning (IPL) funding and Freeman Foundation Award funding, depending on the location of the internship. The IPL program funds immersive learning opportunities for students, and the Freeman Foundation’s East Asia Internship Fund has made available eighteen $5,000 awards to support students undertaking internships or practica in East Asia during the 2021–2022 academic year and summer 2022.

“Many of our students come to MIIS with the goal of working for the United Nations, and this partnership gives them direct access to prestigious, paid internships with UNICEF,” says Stoffers. “Internships offer invaluable insight into an organization and provide opportunities to network and make contacts, understand the internal landscape and organizational structure, and ultimately help them discover if it’s the right career fit for the long term. We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with UNICEF and are excited to see students take advantage of these paid internships.”

This [UNICEF] internship made me understand the need to socialize and network to broaden my experience and perspectives. My education and internship gave me skills and experience, and reinforced my personal strength and beliefs about sustainable development.
— Marie Djeni MAIPD ’19

Numerous Middlebury Institute students have enjoyed positive experiences interning with UNICEF in the past. Calling her time serving as a program evaluation intern with the UNICEF office in Yangon, Myanmar, “a great and rewarding experience,” Marie Djeni MAIPD ’19 said her active participation in meetings was welcomed and “helped me to become more confident.… This internship made me understand the need to socialize and network to broaden my experience and perspectives. My education and internship gave me skills and experience, and reinforced my personal strength and beliefs about sustainable development.” 

Marie Djeni standing in front of a reception desk and wall with the UNICEF logo.
Marie Djeni MAIPD ’19 at the UNICEF Office in Yangon, Myanmar, in 2019

Program evaluation is a key element of the Institute’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) and MA in International Policy and Development programs. “This internship is an invaluable experience that will help me and others at MIIS who are interested in similar work,” reported Elizabeth Fisher MPA ’18, who interned under the program evaluation specialist at UNICEF Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Fisher also benefited from the Teaching Assistant Program in France Scholarship, and both Fisher and Djeni pursued their internships through the Institute’s International Professional Service Semester program.

UNICEF, known also today as the United Nations Children’s Fund, works across more than 190 countries and territories “to help children survive, thrive and fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.” The world’s largest provider of vaccines, UNICEF also supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality education and skill building, HIV prevention and treatment for mothers and babies, and the protection of children and adolescents from violence and exploitation. The UNICEF acronym is derived from the agency’s original incarnation as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, created in 1946 to provide immediate relief to children and mothers affected by World War II. The agency became a permanent part of United Nations operations in 1953.