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PLAS Feature: Fanchao Meng (MPA '17) at the United Nations

September 30, 2016

What was your role at the United Nations?

I interned at the United Nations in the Sales and Marketing division. The Sales & Marketing division is one of only two UN bodies that generate revenue to support the UN’s initiatives worldwide.  As a marketing intern, my main responsibility was to help create content for the social media outlets of the UN Publications and UN Development Business departments. These two departments need to introduce their products to prospective customers in a timely manner, keeping pace with relevant UN events, high-level forums/conferences, international days, and the Secretary-General’s initiatives. As the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are very popular media themes this year, the majority of my research focused on how to connect those themes with available UN titles and project procurement notices.

What was the most challenging aspect of your internship?

The outputs of the Sales and Marketing Division are extremely important to the overall UN agency. When I drafted materials, I had to ensure that all the information I received was from official UN agencies, and that all the pictures/infographics I used had UN sources. As UN social media outlets have an enormous amount of followers and convey official messages to the public, there is a strict approval process before publishing content from those accounts.

What was most interesting about the work you performed?

An interesting aspect of my work was researching development finance news, and aligning those updates with the latest general procurement notices from international development banks. During this process, I established a better understanding of how regional development banks work, how development projects are put on bid, and how project procurement contracts are awarded. This process confirmed my interest in the field of international development overall.

In addition to that research, there were many client events to organize, on-line and off-line campaigns to launch, and a variety of stakeholder meetings to attend. Overall, my internship allowed me to explore a variety of avenues within the UN.

How did PLAS funding assist you in obtaining this internship?

Thanks to a Fels PLAS Fellowship, I was able to work at the UN on a voluntary basis. PLAS funding was integral to creating such a rewarding and practical summer work experience. 

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu