An Impactful Learning Experience at the OAS

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Shirin Vetry, COL ’18

My internship at the Organization of American States (OAS) was phenomenal. The people at my internship inspired me on a daily basis and the content of my work gave me profound insight on human development initiatives and their implementation across the region. All of this was complemented by working at the region’s leading international organization. The location itself gave me a whole new perspective on the ability of international organizations to make a profound impact, especially in the field of development.

The people I met during my internship provided me with a network of leaders across Latin America and the Caribbean. There was a total of 75 interns, the majority of whom came from outside of the United States. The interns were all incredibly welcoming and loved sharing their interests and experiences in their home country. This made for an extremely informative experience, especially in our weekly intern meetings where we discussed issues across the region, like the crisis in Venezuela. Every day felt like I was coming to work to meet a group of friends that always had something new to teach or to talk about.

Outside of the people I was surrounded with, the substance of my work felt truly impactful. The first task I was given responsibility for was the newsletter for the Inter-American Network for Labor Administration (RIAL). This newsletter was sent out to the all of the Ministries of Labor in the region on a biweekly basis and included the new policies and programs that different Ministries of Labor were implementing. This newsletter was one of the mechanisms by which Ministries of Labor would initiate bilateral cooperation activities. Since I was heading the research and content of the newsletter, this provided me with the opportunity to select the initiatives that would be presented to Ministries across the region. Aside from having direct tasks assigned to me, my supervisor also provided me with space to create and implement my own projects. While working on the execution of the RIAL Workshop on Labor Migration, where representatives and experts from 22 labor ministries across the region discussed programs and policies surrounding labor migration, I created one of the final outcomes from the workshop based on my own observations and thoughts. Having this flexibility in my work truly inspired me and demonstrated to me the power I could have when working through an international organization.

Indeed, the work I did on the RIAL shed light on the massive impact that tools that the OAS has created, like the RIAL, could have on the region. This tool was a product of one of the Inter-American Meetings of Ministries of Labor. The Plan of Action for one of these Ministerials had the creation of a space for productive exchange as one of the region’s new initiatives. The RIAL was thus created in order to have this space for exchange between Labor Ministries. Being a part of the implementation of the new Portfolio of Programs that is the main database of programs across the region as well as the RIAL newsletter and the RIAL Workshop on Labor Migration taught me how one tool could truly have tangible and meaningful results on the labor initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean. Being a part of this program, and the OAS at large, was an incredibly experience, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.