Webster IR Students at RAUN

Webster IR Students Anda Radu and Theresa Rüth participated at RAUN 2015/16. Anda shares her experience:

"RAUN stands for Regional Academy on the United Nations. For 10 months, it offered me a space to develop an International Relations (IR) - related research paper and the chance to meet extraordinary people.

What was it all about? The program, developed under the umbrella of ACUNS (Academic Council on the United Nations System) and endorsed by the UN Deputy Secretary General, brought together approximately 40 young people studying in 5 countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia. Small groups were formed, topics were distributed according to the larger theme of this year’s edition, “Peace and Security”, and, with the collaboration of UN agencies, we worked on research papers. The experience was spiced up by three mandatory conferences, taking place in the Czech Republic, Hungary and here in Austria. These conferences offered food-for-thought via lectures, some good time for networking and simply to get to know our colleagues. Eventually, some of these relations developed into genuine friendships that went beyond simple professional interactions.

My team consisted of two Germans, a Hungarian and a Romanian (me). While, for me, it had definitely not been the first time to work in such a multicultural environment, it was the first time that we had to work on one research paper during such a long period of time. Naturally, this came with both benefits and challenges. Particularly daunting was the finding and formulation of a particular field of research, but we eventually settled for A Human Rights Approach to Industrialization in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals. Looking back, RAUN taught me a great deal about communication and team-work.

A distinctive feature of the program was the collaboration of each group with an UN agency. In our case, we worked with UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organization), a collaboration which characterized the direction of our study. Although time constraints did not allow for frequent encounters, the respective UNIDO representatives were very welcoming and tried to help in any possible way. The paper, of course, represents only the views of the authors and does not qualify as official UN publication.
 
After three intense months, we were there, this January, sitting at the speakers’ desk of a 200 persons’ conference room in the Vienna International Center, delivering our presentation in front of an expert jury. As we had been told, we were lucky to have this experience, since not many people get the chance to sit there. It truly was a special feeling.
 
All of us students had our unique story, each representing a piece of RAUN. In the end, the academy was not only about the knowledge that we acquired through papers and lectures, but also about the people we met and the connections that will last for the future. The RAUN story continues: each  year new students are joining, enriching the experience."

Find more about RAUN on http://www.ra-un.org/. The next round of applications is already open.

Anda Radu, Webster Graduate Student in International Relations