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The UN and I-House: Michael Memari

Michael Memari, originally from from San Diego, California, first came to the east coast to study at Georgetown University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Regional and Comparative Studies in the Middle East. He then spent a year working in Egypt at the American University in Cairo as part of the Presidential Internship Program, before going on to study advanced Farsi in Tajikistan as part of the Critical Language Scholarship the summer of 2016. He then spent a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Turkey.

He came to New York in July 2017 for an internship at the UN. He aspires to becoming a diplomat and thought I-House would be the perfect place to live during his stay.

Michael’s internship is with the Office for the Special Advisers on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, within the Department of Political Affairs. He spoke of his role being two-fold: “1) To raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of genocide, alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide, and advocate and mobilize for appropriate action; and 2) To advance the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the Responsibility to Protect as an international principle and norm.”

Over the course of his internship he has been able to work on a range of interesting projects. He monitors various countries that exhibit “risk factors” for atrocities and provides weekly reports on concerning developments. He also attends UN Security Council meetings and Inter-Agency Task Force meetings, as well as private meetings involving the Special Advisers and conferences on topics such as preventing and countering violent extremism or transitional justice. Michael also briefs his colleagues on key developments, conducts research an analysis and provides recommendations for his team.

The intensity of his work does not stop him from engaging in great conversations about world events when he returns home to I-House each night.

Michael enjoys speaking with his fellow Residents about their home countries and getting their perspective on various issues. “Hearing their views really helps me understand more fully issues I regularly monitor and research at work, and in that way definitely provides a personal element that naturally complements my time at the UN.”

“I-House truly provides a unique opportunity for inter-cultural exchange and dialogue,” he continued. “In this way, I-House very much reflects the rich diversity of the United Nations, and both serve as a means for a higher, noble purpose: the cultivation of a ‘global community.’”

He has also found inspiration in the friendships he’s made at I-House. “When you get to know people from around the world and hear their stories, it inspires you to work toward of a global brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends national boundaries and identities.”

When asked what three words he felt describes I-House the best Michael said: Community – I-House Residents are among the most talented, inspiring, and motivated individuals in the world; Dialogue and Learning – Through different programming, from language exchanges, culture nights, and documentary screenings; and Global Leaders – When you put people like that together, to learn from and inspire one another, you help pave the way for the next generation of global leadership.”