October 11, 2022

CGA Student Spotlight: MSGA Student Nahjae Nunes

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Nahjae Nunes is pursuing an MS in Global Affairs, with a concentration in International Relations/Global Futures and specializing in the United Nations, at the NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs. Among his many activities, he is a Dean’s Scholar, president of the Student Association for Global Affairs (SAGA), and sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board. This summer, he was named a Harold W. Rosenthal Fellow in International Relations. Beyond NYU, he is a policy advisor on social, cultural, and humanitarian issues at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica at the UN. He was recently named one of the “30 Under 30 Changemakers” from the Caribbean by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Washington, DC.

What led you to NYU SPS and the Center for Global Affairs?
When applying to graduate school, I wanted to take one step closer to working at the UN, and NYU SPS clearly offered the best opportunity. I sought new skills, challenging learning opportunities, and guidance to ensure that my aspirations and research interests are fulfilled in the classroom and the work I do after completing my degree. The program also reflected my philosophy of developing dynamic curricula that respond to industry needs and current global issues. The creation of three new specializations in the curriculum—the UN, Global Risk, and Data Analytics—are recent examples.

Describe your experience as a student at CGA.
As an MSGA student, I learn from a faculty of expert practitioners and leaders in professions ranging from energy and gender to international law, transnational security, peacebuilding, and everything in between! The love that NYU SPS professors have for their scholarship and students is palpable and reflected heavily in our interactions and engagements. Special programs launched by SPS faculty provide unique opportunities to intertwine the pedagogy of our lessons with the realities of the working world. Whether they be global field intensives, consulting practicums, or research opportunities generated by collaboration with external institutions, CGA students are offered numerous opportunities to obtain a hands-on global perspective.

What did you do as a Rosenthal Fellow?
The Rosenthal Fellowship is a prestigious program that offers outstanding and civic-minded graduate students in international affairs the opportunity to spend a summer working to solve some of our biggest national and global challenges. I was one of 27 students from across the US selected as a 2022 Rosenthal Fellow. This summer, I worked at the US Department of Labor in the research and policy unit at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, where I provided analysis for policy-making decisions and impact. I also worked to assess the current scale of child labor and forced labor risks in supply chains, and how it impacts trade and policy. This led to the creation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and other congressionally mandated reports.

What has been your role at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the UN?
I formerly served as the advisor on youth issues to the Permanent Mission of Jamaica and currently am the social, cultural, and humanitarian policy advisor. In my most recent role, I discuss questions relating to the advancement of women, youth, education, the protection of children, the elimination of racial discrimination, and the right to self-determination.

What are you passionate about and why?
I am passionate about understanding Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) functions and how they can be reformed. The world looks to the IGOs for answers to problems everywhere, from ending conflict and safeguarding migration to combating climate change and protecting human rights. The issues on their agenda are as manifold and diverse as the careers they offer. However, my work with them made me realize that many IGOs today are entangled in problems that their founding fathers neither foresaw nor left much room for flexibility in riding the tumultuous storms of historical change, rendering them ill-equipped to handle contemporary problems. I want to uncover how IGOs can adapt and remain relevant in a protean world.

Plans for the future?
Post-graduation in May, I’d love to earn my PhD in International Relations to further my interests in researching global governance and IGOs.

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