Hello! My name is Victoria Kulesza and I am a senior majoring in International Relations and Spanish with minors in Peace and Justice Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. During my time at MSU as a PJS student I have had numerous opportunities to utilize what I have learned in the classroom throughout the different internship opportunities I have had. Two summers ago, I was the Project Intern for a human rights NGO in Barcelona, Spain that provides for the basics needs and human rights of refugees and irregular migrants in the area. As a first-generation American, the experience really inspired me to advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants―an issue that becomes increasingly relevant today. I have also been fortunate enough to spend this past summer in New York City interning for the United Nations Population Fund, an agency of the United Nations that promotes gender equality and international development. There I analyzed development plans for country offices all over the world and gained professional skills and connections that I would not have been able to find anywhere else.
Currently, I am part of the U.S. Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service internship program working under Human Rights Officer of the U.S. embassy in La Paz, Bolivia. This is a virtual internship that allows me to research and report on human rights cases in Bolivia for the embassy while I finish my last year in East Lansing, so if you are also a student looking for any good opportunities for the year be sure to check out the VSFS program! After I graduate I hope to serve in the Peace Corps and later become a Foreign Service Officer for the State Department!
Guest Post by PJS student Moussa Traoré
I recently attended the Model AU Conference as a peace and justice student and the vice president of African Student Leadership Association (ASLA) which was created to ponder and propose solutions to a broad range of issues affecting the world and African people through entrepreneurship, political participation, environmental sustainability, economic and social development, and peace promotion.
Due to our vision and mission, I have successful participated at the Model African Union Conference for the last two years. This year at the 13th Model African Union Conference at Howard University, we represented Mali and the Central African Republic. With a delegation of 15 MSU graduate and undergraduate students, personally I represented Mali as an officer and vice chair for peace and security committee. Where I had to double task participate as and delegate of peace and security and as an officer for peace and security community as well. We discussed and wrote resolutions on several issues 1. African Standby Force 2. Conflict Management and Resolution in: A. Egypt B. Sudan-Darfur C. Somalia D. The Situation in Mali E. The Central African Republic F. South Sudan.
At the end of the model we were subject to submit to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government one consolidated resolution on each one of the agenda topics. Once we arrived in DC, we visited both the Mali and Central African Republic embassy where we engaged in an informative dialog with representatives from each country that assisted us in advocating for their country better. We were even lectured by the African Union ambassador to the United States Dr Amina Salum Ali. In four consecutive days, I participated in intense diplomatic procedure in order to improve peace and security issues plus many other African issues, I worked harmoniously and efficiently together with other student delegates from colleges in the US and Canada.
As I end another productive year, I look forward to peace and justice study growing and cultivating peace and justice globally through many programs and courses that raises the awareness of current peace and justice issues on the Michigan State University campus.