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Lehigh senior well on her way to changing the world

Nur-e Rahman, left, with Bill Hunter and Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri during a visit to Iraq's Permanent Mission to the U.N. last year.

“I’ve always been interested in the U.N.,” Nur-e Rahman says. “On a trip to an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) conference that I was covering as a student journalist with Lehigh, I realized it was possible to get an internship there.”

Rahman, a senior economics and journalism double major, will graduate from Lehigh on May 24 and begin the next chapter of her life as an intern at the United Nations.

As one of five on an intern team, Rahman will work to help plan the 57th Annual Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Conference by reviewing speakers for sessions, extending invitations to selected speakers, and compiling the final report—work that ties directly into her editing and writing background. The conference will host more than 2,000 NGO representatives.

Rahman is no stranger to the U.N.; she was one of a group of Lehigh students who met with Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri at the U.N. last year.

Unsure of how to go about applying for the coveted intern position, Rahman sought the counsel of Bill Hunter, director of the office of international students and scholars. “Bill Hunter has been possibly the single greatest influence in my college career,” says Rahman. “He’s a staff member who really practices the true nature of education and tries to give students as much knowledge and first-hand experience as possible.”

A champion for cross-cultural understanding

Hunter says only a handful of students worldwide are chosen for this internship each year. “I suspect Nur-e will impress them,” he says. “During her four years here, Nur-e has been a champion for cross-cultural understanding, a promising young reporter who wrote even-handed, telling stories. Her displayed sense of curiosity and eagerness drives her to succeed.”

Hunter, who had been in contact with officials at the U.N., told Rahman about an available internship spot there and helped her through the application process. To secure the internship, Rahman went through a resume review, letter of interest, and an on-site interview with the chief of the NGO section at the U.N. After a few phone conversations, she was offered the position.

“Considering that it’s been a life-long goal of mine to work at the U.N., an internship there is a dream come true and a step in the right direction,” Rahman says. She hopes to walk away from her experience with a better understanding of what she will need to do to fulfill her personal and career goals of becoming a diplomat.

After the internship, Rahman will be off to Georgetown University to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. She hopes her future as a diplomat will help her to effect positive change.

As she prepares to graduate from Lehigh, Rahman urges Lehigh students to never take things for granted. “If you have it,” she says, “you’re meant to use it to make things better.”

Rahman also advises students to blaze their own trail in life. “Take hints from people if you admire them, but never follow in footsteps,” Rahman says. “Try and make your own path and take advantage of all the opportunities that you are given, so as not to have any regrets.”

--Sarah Suh

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004

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