ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, ICLEI influences sustainability policies and drives local action for low-emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient, and circular development. The team I interned for (the Urban Research, Innovation, and Development (URID) Team) is part of the ICLEI World Secretariat based out of Bonn, Germany, which coordinates the 24 other regional offices.
When interning with the URID team, I conducted desktop research to inform project work, proposals, and reports, as well as helped to write or edit several project reports, agendas, and speaker notes for high-level sessions and events. One of my favorite parts of the internship was helping to design, edit, and write proposals for programs that will directly assist cities with climate adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development. Another highlight was helping to write a new approach to combating climate change, I had never previously considered visionary thinking as something that could be a part of my future occupation.
My internship lasted three months and was mostly remote, with a 7-hour time difference. This made communication a bit difficult, but my supervisors and I figured it out pretty quickly, and we were able to check in most days online. I was also able to visit the office in Bonn for a week, so I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow colleagues and seeing the offices.
Overall, I gained knowledge and experience in a wide array of sustainable development topics and tasks that I had yet to be exposed to, such as urban governance, digital finance, and stakeholder mapping. I also sharpened several skills, such as working under time pressure, communicating and networking in a professional setting, and critical thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience at ICLEI, the three months ended all too quickly.