Ali Ehsan ’20 served a summer internship at the Yunus Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that was supported by Lafayette’s Bossak/Heilbron Internship Fund thanks to the support of donors arranged by the Office of Career Services. He writes about his experience.
I worked on the preparation of Social Business Day 2017, a gathering of 2,000 powerful and innovative people who are contributing to social business. I worked on the conference volume, magazine, and speaker biographies. I was also in charge of maintaining correspondence with the local and international speakers. I was responsible for managing the personal email of Professor Muhammad Yunus and the executive director of Yunus Centre.
I also was the coordinator of the 26-member intern team and team supervisor of a 91-member volunteer team that was responsible for surveillance, country forum preparation, and panel session registration for almost 1,400 participants.
The opportunity to work with your childhood idol and leading a 117-member team (83 of the members were professionals) is both challenging and exciting. I loved the intense workload and the extreme challenges that I had to face. We even had to change the venue of the event when the government declined to provide police security at the last moment. We became national heroes when we were able to organize the event nevertheless, thus saving our country from international humiliation.
Another exciting aspect was the responsibility of taking care of the needs of many high-profile guests like Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Thomas Gass; the president of the World Olympians Association, Joël Bouzou; president of C2 Montreal, Richard St-Pierre; the treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison, etc.
I have worked with Professor Yunus in the past, but this internship gave me the opportunity to get much closer to him. I managed to network with a lot of extremely influential people. I acquired the experience of managing big teams and working under intense pressure, political scrutiny, and media attention. I got to explore skills that I never thought I had, and I got the wonderful opportunity to work with extremely professional people and guide a team that comprised mostly of people who are more than twice my age.