Ryan Hughes, BS '08
International Labour Organization, SAFEWORK
My main tasks as a SAFEWORK intern centered around the annual worldwide event sponsored and coordinated by the department—April 28th’s “World Day for Safety and Health at Work.” My contribution to this event consisted of several long-term projects, such as editing and formatting “World Day” Reports and their translations, organizing and documenting incoming information about the numerous “World Day” celebrations occurring on April 28th, and updating the “World Day” website (a new skill they trained me in on-the-job with the help of the IT department). These tasks required a high level of responsibility not found in many internships, and the SAFEWORK staff made every effort to ensure there was always a high level of exposure to the industry as well. For example, when a “World Day” related video message from the department’s director was to be made public on the event website, I was able to witness the entire organization wide process that went behind making the product—from recording the video in the Communications department all the way to IT department’s launch of the webpage—rather than just seeing what went on behind the SAFEWORK department’s doors.
In between these long-term “World Day” related projects I was given short-term tasks involving the SOLVE project—an educational program concerning the development of policy and action to address psychosocial problems at work. These responsibilities ranged from preparing manuals and certificates for the class to double-checking project financials. At the end of the internship I was given the opportunity to take a two-week SOLVE course in Geneva—a great learning experience and a great example of the opportunities this internship allows.
Another large part of the internship was assisting with committee meetings. This included acting as a note-taker in multiple week-long committees between SAFEWORK and Korean delegates on the progress of the upcoming World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Seoul. I also attended several interdepartmental “brainstorming” meetings, during which I was actively engaged in the discussion and treated as a team member rather than a temporary note taker. In addition, I was given the opportunity to sit in on the ILO’s annual Governing Body committee and was offered an extension to my internship to work with SAFEWORK during the month-long International Labor Conference held at the United Nations—where I met with countless government, labor, and employer leaders from around the globe and was able to hear six heads of state speak during opening addresses, including the Presidents of Chile, Ghana, Jamaica, and Senegal. All in all it was a rewarding and unforgettable experience with a supportive, friendly staff and an active social network of international interns.
- Ryan Hughes, BS '08