International RelationsCareer Challenge
February 19 - 23, 2018
King's College London, United Kingdom
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Congratulations to young professionals who have successfully completed the IRCC program! The IRCC program has a 100% satisfaction rate – the data collected anonymously from the program graduates. View the details here.

Upon program completion, graduates were able to follow the path they have selected for themselves: get employed in the developmental sector, including the United Nations system, government and private sector, or proceed further with their studies. Stories of the participants who agreed to share their success and feedback on the IRCC program are presented below.

Julian Blom
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
Coming from the private sector with limited experience in the international relations field, the IRCC gave me great insights into the procedures and challenges involved. The course outline was well laid-out and covered the main functional areas, supported by intensive group projects based on current affairs. Additionally the course provided great networking opportunities both with guest speakers and among students. I was positively impacted by the IRCC, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is either about to start a career in international relations, or looking to integrate into the field. Whether directly or indirectly, I am 100% sure that the outcome from the IRCC will kick-start my career in international relations!

Valentijn Punt
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
I am certain my experience at the IRCC will positively affect my career path- and change. It still amazes me how much this one-week program has made such a lasting impact on me: the inspiring speakers, the assignments, the excitement of the time pressure to complete our presentations, and most importantly my fellow participants. It was truly a “work hard, play hard” week, as life should be!

Sonia - Sun Wen Qin
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
The IRCC is more than a conference. It is difficult to find a career that is most appropriate for ourselves. But it doesn’t mean we have to stop or hesitate when opportunities knocked at the door – and that’s why I decided to participate in the IRCC. It really helped me a lot on the career searching and life journey challenging. A series of practical programs with experienced experts and aspiring like-minded professionals from different continents do provide me necessary intercultural environments and precious experience on a career choosing. Meanwhile, traveling to a remote country to take part in the program is a unique life experience. As for me, together with all knowledge gained at the program, travel with many hours flights, several hotels reservation, famous scenic spots viewing, experience on different kinds of gourmet food plus all walks of people I met during the whole journey will be an exceptional treasure in my whole life experience.

Ishani Debnath
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
I had the privilege to be a part of the IRCC program focusing on conflict resolution and refugee integration. Besides meeting with leading experts in this field, this program provided us with extremely valuable insights, knowledge and helped us gain practical experience on project management and implementation. Delivering project recommendations under the time constraint with your team and incorporating the feedback from the panel of experts to improve the socio-economic conditions of the refugees and asylum seekers required a multi-faceted work environment involving research, project management and implementation, advocacy, outreach and policy recommendations. Being able to share this platform with colleagues who have a common vision and being part of the winning team at the end of the program was an enriching experience and I am looking forward to applying it in the future.

Minnie Cui
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Growing up, international development was an enigma to me – I always knew I wished for nothing more than to make a difference in the world but could never decipher where I can make a true contribution. The IRCC helped me precisely define my ambitions and how they align with my unique set of skills. The conference not only allowed me to explore professional roles suited to the current trajectory of my development, but also opened my eyes to other crucial roles I didn’t know I had to ability to undertake. In summary, my week was a humbling experience filled with research into problems in foreign countries I had never even thought about, presentations to initially-intimidating professionals within the field I never thought I would have an opportunity to talk to, friendships with like-minded individuals that will surely blossom into professional relationships in the near future, and I loved every second of it.

Brittany Pembroke
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The progression from university to the career realm can be overwhelming – especially in the competitive age we exist. However, attending the IRCC in 2017 opened up doors I did not think possible. The guest-speakers who attended the IRCC mentioned three ‘power actions’ that a young professional must entail to fulfil their career capabilities: the power of persistence, the power of networking and the power of volunteering. Attending the IRCC provided me with extremely valuable insights, knowledge and perspectives from the guest speakers on various job roles and the best way to be employable. Attending the IRCC was the basis of spending three months in Rwanda volunteering – largely because I took on the advice of the speakers: to persist, network and volunteer. As a consequence, I have a much clearer idea of my future career path as well as increased career prospects.

Bhargav Sriganesh
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The International Relations Careers Challenge (IRCC) is not like any other workshop, seminar or conference. As the name suggests, the IRCC will challenge participants to deliver projects under time pressure, work in teams, present to a panel of experts and quickly incorporate the feedback to improve their performance in subsequent tasks. The theme for this year’s IRCC was “Women’s Economic Empowerment”. We were split into teams and each group was assigned a particular country. Subsequently, we had to work on tasks related to enhancing women’s economic empowerment in the assigned country. The tasks assigned to us were meant to simulate the kind of multi-faceted work – research, project management and advocacy – that UN officials are engaged in. After completing the tasks, we had the opportunity to present in front of experts like Mike Penrose (Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund) and Thomas Erikkson (Deputy Director for European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). They provided invaluable feedback on our progress and even gave us some insider knowledge on the challenges that they faced whilst implementing projects at the UN. Most importantly, on the last day of the IRCC, participants were given hands-on, practical tips on how they can navigate the UN Inspira application portal. Overall, I would highly recommend the IRCC. It was an enriching and engaging programme!

Sanjana Rathi
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
For me, the IRCC was a life changing workshop, through which I was able to get firsthand experience of working in a project, as a team and under pressured circumstances, in the field of international relations.
My knowledge about the work of the United Nations was limited to what is given in the online articles and videos. However, through IRCC, I was able to personally connect with experts working at the international organisations to enhance my knowledge and broaden my perspective, which helped me envision the working environment of the UN.
While working on practical assignments simulating future work responsibilities on the issue of Gender Equality, I was able to better analyse my strengths and weaknesses and ask for suggestions for future improvement. Also, this platform helped me to connect with prospective colleagues, and most importantly, wonderful human-beings, who share a common vision for a better world.

Andreea Badiu-Slabu
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The knowledge and skills gained at the International Relations Career Challenge contributed towards both my academic and professional life. All that I learned through this experience has applied in the roles I had after that. My participation in the IRCC was a crucial step for my career and it gave me more confidence in myself. Moreover, it enabled me to better understand the people I work with.



Francesco Bruno
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge has been a life-changing course for me. I had the opportunity to meet with multiple professional panellists who have worked for the United Nations in the past and have also made important contributions in their work. Among them, I met the director of UNICEF UK as well as experts who have been working for the Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan and representatives for Women Empowerment programs. In addition, I also worked with incredible colleagues with inspiring stories and ideas. I felt truly blessed to have been able to work with some of the future leaders of our societies. The course has been challenging for me, but it is an experience of which I am proud of. During interviews for future jobs, I often point out this course for its complete nature and the challenging environment in which I worked as well as the people I met with. It also equips the participant with the knowledge of researching policies, project management as well as public speaking and presentation skills.

Qurat Ul Ain Arendas
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
As my career goal is to work at the United Nations, the Program has trained and pointed me in the right direction where to look for future career opportunities that match my educational background and my skills. In addition, while attending the Program, I was able to expand my network of contacts, which is very important for future endeavours. Speaking directly to UN diplomats willing to share their valuable knowledge and provide necessary information for future career development is very important for young professionals. After attending the IRCC Program, I have learned to frame my cover letter pointing out my skills and competencies according to the career opportunities, which is essential when applying for international organizations.  Lastly, the best part of the Program is the speakers and the organizers always willing to provide proper guidance, which has aided a young professional like me to build my future professional career in the field and organization of my choice.

Ludovic Arnaud
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Participating in the IRCC allowed me to move from a general interest in International Relations to the conviction that I want to work in this sector. The seminars provided me with an in depth understanding of international organisations, which I found was an invaluable opportunity to forego my preconceived and romanticised ideas in favour of a more realistic vision of UN bodies. This experience cannot be found in Model United Nations or in a classroom, which is why I strongly recommend anyone interested in pursuing a career in International Relations to participate in this programme.

Maximilian Kallenbach
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Since the very beginning of my studies at University, I wanted to pursue a career in the field of international relations. But honestly, I did not really know what this exactly means. After one week attending the IRCC, I have learned many new skills and I am way better prepared for a career in this highly competitive field. The participation showed me what it needs to work for the UN as we simulated one week the real-life work of the UN, which is funny, demanding and tough. At the end, we got an insight into how applying for an internship or the YPP program, which was very helpful. I would definitely say that it affected my career and intentions in a very good way, as I met many renowned speakers I could ask questions about such a career path and I can prepare my selves much better for my future career plans.

Sandhya Pachiappan
IRCC 2016 Columbia University Intake
Although I wanted to be at the UN so much, I would not have been there so soon without the crash course. I wish to say that it ignited my passion more so I landed here at the UN at the right time. This is for all of you who want to shape what you already know about the UN from the website or anywhere. It’s a platform to put to test of what you know about the organisation.