This summer I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Julia Gray’s mentorship while studying International Organizations and, more specifically, why they succeed or fail. My work focused on figuring out when and why different International Organizations meet, what exactly happens during their meetings, and whether they’re successful or not in pursuing their goals. Our research was based on Dr. Gray’s paper “Life, Death or Zombie? The Vitality of International Organizations.” In this paper, Dr. Gray argued that the vitality of IOs varies, and that many of them become “zombies,” meaning that they continue to operate without making any progress towards their mission or goals. Thus, in creating timelines for several International Organizations around the world, we hope to deliver critical information that Dr. Gray will analyze and include in the next phase of her research.
In the midst of creating timelines for a number of IOs, we also got to do some research on election monitoring and United Nations speakers. Until then I never would’ve thought of figuring out just how many women have been invited to speak at UN sessions, but the answer was clear—not enough. It will definitely be interesting to see if there is a shift in the narrative of these speeches as more and more women are invited to attend. Still, since most countries only send their presidents, prime ministers, or foreign affairs ministers to these sessions, it might be a while until we have an equal representation of men and women among the speakers.
I never thought I’d learn so much during this summer experience. It was incredibly rewarding to finally work on something I’m deeply interested in, and an absolute honor to have worked under Dr. Gray’s mentorship.