Faduma Ali is a Junior Professional Officer at Environmental Co-operation Unit at the OSCE Secretariat. ( OSCE )

1)      Please tell us about your professional background. Where have you worked before coming to the OSCE and what did you do?

Before joining the OSCE, I worked for a private consulting firm in Toronto, Canada as an urban planner. For nearly two years I led on and supported land-use project coordination with multiple stakeholders, drafting and developing proposals that focused on mixed-use development for a sustainable and well-connected City. Prior to this position, I completed a 6 month internship with UN-Water in New York City. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water related challenges and to support Member States to sustainably manage water and sanitation.

During my tenure, I honed my drafting, public speaking and technical research skills, particularly in the realm of water issues. I also had the opportunity to be a youth representative of UN-Water in side-events during the Science, Technology and Innovation Forum, the High-Level Political Forum and Stockholm World Water Week. I remain an active member of the Water Youth Network, which has helped me connect with other young people around the globe interested in solving the world’s water challenges.

2)      What’s your academic background? How does it align with the career you developed?

I received a Bachelor of Arts Honours in International Development Studies from York University, which further heightened my interest in international relations, development and diplomacy. During my undergraduate degree I developed an interest in how environmental sustainability can be brought to the forefront of the global agenda. Thereafter I chose to pursue a Masters in Environmental Studies from the same institution merging my study of international development and environmental sustainability issues such as water management and governance. Upon learning about the JPO program and the OCEEA office’s work, I became more interested in the holistic and analytical understanding of conflict,  the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security and sustainable peace-building. The connections I have developed as well as the experiences and knowledge acquired in my previous positions have prepared me for my current JPO position.  

3)      Where are you based now and what do you like most about your current job at the OSCE?

I am currently working out of Vienna, Austria, for the first half of my JPO program. My current role centres on water management activities in the OSCE area. I am incredibly grateful to be involved in interesting activities during my six-month placement within the Environmental Cooperation Unit. Here, I will be involved in planning events, working on projects pertaining to transboundary water cooperation, water diplomacy and gender mainstreaming in water management, as well as assisting in online workshops in partnership with international organizations.

4)      What type of advice would you give to applicants considering international civil service?

Do not think it is impossible! Apply for that internship or the consultancy or any other position you may find interesting. Read the job description carefully, and be sure to include all of your professional experience.I would encourage anyone interested in applying for OSCE positions to watch our prep webinars and use the online resources prior to applying. They certainly helped me understand the process better and eventually find a position here.