The mandatory 3-months internship is an integral part of our Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture and provides the connections and experience our students need to take the next step in their careers. We have agreements with over 30 organisations around the world in all areas of development and emergency practises, including international organisations as well as smaller scale NGOs and research institutions. Our class of 2018-2019 just finalised their internships with a vast range of hosting organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Urban Resilience Hub of UN-Habitat, MSF Spain, the Resilience Development Initiative in Indonesia, Spanish architecture firm and think tank n’UNDO, as well as local institutions Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability and Barcelona architecture collective Straddle3.

Here are some of the experiences of our students:

Ramiz Khan – Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Ramiz did his internship with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the Hague, Netherlands, which provides technical inputs to Red Cross Red Crescent actors and their partners in integrating climate risk management into their work. During his internship, Ramiz worked on a range of tasks including the production of urban WASH guidelines, guidance notes on policy dialogues in cities, organizing urban webinar series and developing new projects and suitable strategies. He is now supporting the team in developing Heatwave guide for the national societies and volunteers of the Red Cross Red Crescent. According to Ramiz, his previous extensive work experience of working with different cities in South Asia and the knowledge and skills gained from our Mundus Urbano course positioned him very well for the tasks he performed for the organization. In addition to the technical knowledge on urban climate risk management, he was able to gain soft skills in the areas of communication, coordination, and networking. Ramiz appreciated that in his short time with the Climate Centre, he was given valuable opportunities to enter into dialogue with a large number of Red Cross actors around the world, such as in Lebanon, Nigeria, the UK, Tanzania etc. and to work in close cooperation with the climate scientists.

Ramiz will continue to work with the Climate Centre on a new assignment to support their Urban Policy Advocacy work in Asia. We are looking forward to hear more about his new role in the upcoming months!

Judy Mahfouz – Shelter Centre

Judy worked for the Virtual Office of the Shelter Centre, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Shelter Centre was founded in 2004 and is a Swiss humanitarian NGO, which works to support all humanitarian stakeholders involved in the shelter of populations affected by conflict and natural disaster. Her main role was to support the team working on a post-conflict engineering proposal that aims to develop tools to assist post conflict societies and in particular internally displaced communities and returnees in the Shelter response and recovery. Her tasks initially included intensive research, literature review, and editing the PCE funding proposal. Later in the internship, her role also included coordinating the project and re-structuring the proposal content.  Judy highlighted the great experience of working with her supervisor Tom Corsellis that allowed her to benefit from his hands-on experience and knowledge related to the humanitarian field, and to gain insights into how the different stakeholders in this field work. Though working remotely, through Skype meetings she could exchange knowledge and experiences with team members based in Switzerland, Spain, France, Cameroon, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Colombia and the UK. For these discussions, her thesis research on post-conflict reconstruction in Aleppo was specifically valuable. Judy’s thesis on the recovery of Aleppo also received a grant from UCL’s Bartlett Development Unit, who invited her to present her research at the Silk Cities Conference in July.

Brooj Al-Ammari – Office of Displaced Designers

Brooj went to Greece to work with the Office of Displaced Designers – ODD. This NGO, founded by former students Kimberly Pelkofsky and Shareen Elnaschie, is a creative integration agency utilizing design and education as a tool for positive change. The organization is supporting refugees and local resident by providing workshops and mentoring programs in order to support them to develop their skills and amplify their portfolio to enhance their job opportunities and professional networks while creating a space for integration.  The portfolio of the organization includes workshops, mentoring programs, research, and design.

Brooj’s worked on various projects, including research on the housing situation in Greece to create a guide that can serve as an advocacy tool to create community-led housing; the Alternative Atlas of Lesvos, a research project that proposes to change the narrative around the island and communicate the many layers that make Lesvos special, such as the solidarity they showed as the first to respond to asylum seekers reaching the island and the Olive Grove community garden, participatory design and construction training project to create much needed social space on a site adjacent to Moria refugee camp on Lesvos and as  part of working on the garden with the resident of the olive grove she gained new skills in traditional dry-stone wall building. Furthermore, she was involved in promoting the mentoring programs and engaging with the Arab-speaking participants in the various projects. Brooj points out that she was able to apply many of the skills acquired in the master program.  One of the most personal aspects of her internship, she acknowledges, was working on the Olive Grove Community Garden, an endeavor that many might consider as non-essential considering the current refugee crisis. She feels though that the provision of social and recreational spaces for everyone, independent of their financial situation, is a cause worth advocating for.

Our students of class 2018/2019 have now successfully finished the course. We wish them all the best with their next professional steps and are looking forward to hear about the amazing work we are sure they will be doing around the world!

Feature image: 6-Drought in Kenya’s Ewaso Ngiro river basin © Climate Centre (Creative Commons licensed)

All other images: courtesy Al-Ammari

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