George Mason Students Embark on U.N. Assignments

Posted: June 28, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

The first group of George Mason students has traveled abroad as part of the university’s new linkage with United Nations Volunteers and its U.N. Information Technology Services (UNITeS) initiative. UNITeS is designed to help developing nations by strengthening their capacities to apply information and communications technologies to human development projects.

Sonja Taylor, U.N. projects coordinator in the Provost’s Office, says “the response has been tremendous” to the U.N. opportunities. Five students selected from 100 applicants have embarked on two-month assignments for which they will receive internship credit. Four students in the “IT Corps” went to Ecuador, where they are training citizens to use computers in various community organizations. The fifth student went to Bosnia to design web pages for a U.N.-sponsored organization that is committed to lessening tension between ethnic groups.

George Mason is the first institution of higher learning in the world to form a partnership with UNITeS. Future plans call for placing students in 10 other Latin American, African, European, and Asian countries where there are UNITeS volunteer projects.

On the domestic front, six undergraduate students have internships with the U.N. in New York City this summer. Three are developing training materials and conducting training sessions for ambassadors; one is creating a training manual for peacekeeping operations based on military training manuals from different countries; one is working in the U.N.’s public relations division; and one is helping with web page development in the U.N. library.

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