Program Analyst - Belarus United Nations Development Program
“My interest in other countries and cultures brought me to Belarus' leading linguistic university where I obtained a bachelors degree in English and German. After teaching English there for several years, my career set off in a new direction when I became a program assistant in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Minsk. The job responsibilities were challenging: promote orderly and humane migration, engage national counterparts and international partners to ensure respect for migrants' rights, and combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
I discovered that working for a humanitarian intergovernmental organization matched my professional and personal ambitions perfectly. It also gave me the chance to make a real difference in helping people build a better life. I quickly realized, however, that I would need further specialized education to be successful.
The Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program and the Patterson School provided me with the opportunity to develop a solid understanding of the current geopolitical arrangement and the roles played by key international actors, while acquiring a set of practical skills that are indispensable for an international civil servant. My education at Patterson occurred both inside and outside the classroom, studying with an exceptional group of American students, Fulbright Fellows (from around the world), and other Muskie Fellows from the former Soviet Union. While at Patterson, I completed a summer internship in Washington, DC with the counter-trafficking unit in IOM's Office for North America and the Caribbean. This gave me a deeper practical insight into the organization's global operations.
Returning to Belarus in December 2009, I was hired by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to serve as a community development expert on a project addressing the socio-economic consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In 2011, I moved from that project to the UNDP Country Office in Belarus to be a program analyst focused on local and regional development. My new duties involve analysis of the national development context, identification of obstacles to performance, formulation of international technical assistance projects (in close cooperation with concerned national authorities), liaison with multilateral and bilateral donors, and coordination of projects' effective implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
My UNDP portfolio covers many interrelated areas, such as sources of regional competitiveness and human development in Belarus; strengthening the role of micro-, small, and medium enterprises in the regional economies; fostering cross-border cooperation; promoting participatory local governance mechanisms; and introducing innovative energy-saving technologies at the local level. In advancing local development, UNDP insists that we pay close attention to the empowerment of women, the protection of human rights, and the environmental sustainability of any proposed interventions. I am happy to say that for each issue or task in my very wide range of responsibilities, I have been able to draw upon a solid theoretical background or practical tool that I learned at Patterson.
My education and experience at the Patterson School makes me feel confident, competent, and well-equipped to climb new heights and take on any new challenge.