Summer 2021 Fellow: Max Hampel, ‘23 (Economics and Symbolic Systems)

Office Description: 

The UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Service was established in 2012 to drive and support innovation across the organization. The Innovation Service creates safe spaces for experimentation to take place in UNHCR’s operations, as well as at Headquarters, whilst instilling a future-oriented approach into how we solve problems and create impact for refugee communities.

The Innovation Service believes diversity and inclusion are at the center of developing a more robust understanding of innovation that departs from tech-centric models that are often associated with new approaches to humanitarian aid. Through methodologies such as building competencies of colleagues through the Innovation Fellowship, creating budgetary innovation space through the Innovation Fund, and experimenting with creative methodologies on how we communicate complexity, the team drives cultural and organizational change throughout UNHCR.

Potential Projects:

Interns are considered equally as members of the team as anyone else would be and the nature of their work will reflect that. Similarly, we believe that at the core of internship experience is the opportunity to learn, explore, and discover new areas of interest.

The role will support many possible projects which may include but is not limited to understanding how the United Nations harnesses innovation to provide value to refugee communities, how storytelling and worldbuilding can benefit the organization, the role of design in innovation processes, the possibilities and limits of artificial technology and data science within the United Nations, and reimagining the future of aid.

This role is unique and will be at the cutting edge of innovation approaches within the humanitarian sphere, digging into narrative change experiments, issues of accessibility in design, as well as cultural change and deeper organizational issues that enable and reinforce positive change. As such the role will work across the Innovation Service and its current presence in Bangkok, Panama, Nairobi, Budapest, and Geneva. The internship will be anchored with the team in HQ in Geneva with work spanning across the globally distributed team and others who are allies outside of the Service.

We actively encourage people who have an interest in our work at the Innovation Service to apply for this position even if they do not have a background in innovation, communications, data science or design work. We are interested in candidates with a wide range of skill sets, experiences and visions for the future of our work.

Desired Skills:

  • 1-2 years of experience in innovation, communications, data science, design, research and/or operational support is desired;
  • Understanding of global refugee issues and a deep interest in innovation and how innovation processes can improve organizational efficiency to solve pressing issues related to forced displacement is desired;
  • An interest in challenging the status quo and exploring new visions for the future of human rights, borders, value systems and society;
  • High written and verbal command of the English language at the native or fluency level – knowledge of other languages (including coding languages) is an advantage;
  • Knowledge of Microsoft and other collaborative applications  (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Suites) required;
  • Ability to work on multiple projects at one time in a fast-paced environment;
  • Ability to work well independently as well as in a team environment, both remotely and in-person;
  • Ability to think strategically and take initiative when needed;
  • Ability to understand instructions and ask for clarification when needed;
  • Ability to deal well with ambiguity and adapt plans when needed to produce results;
  • Demonstrated interest in humanitarian work and affinity with UNHCR’s mandate; and
  • Demonstrated interest in inclusion, diversity, gender and race equity and its intersection with innovation work

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