SUNY New Paltz will be launching a new SUNY Global Engagement Program starting this fall, according to Faculty Director S. Ilgu Ozler.
After getting her tenure, Ozler proposed the program and began discussing it with SUNY Global and International Programs, SUNY New Paltz Administrators and her department members. She said it took about a year and a half to two years to completely put it together.
The program, which will run each fall and have 13 to 14 students enrolled next semester, is based in New York City and gives students the chance to immerse themselves in international affairs for a semester, Ozler said.
Students will complete a six to nine credit internship, which Ozler will supervise, along with a weekly seminar she will teach at the SUNY Global Center.
“The courses are designed to enhance the student’s internship experience. We will be studying to understand the on the ground experience of students from a social scientific perspective,” Ozler said. “‘What do we know from the literature about the impact of non-governmental organizations on the intergovernmental world like the United Nations?’ ‘What is the relationship between civil society and the United Nations?’ ‘How does the business world impact the work on NGOs and IGOs?’”
The internship and classes will be accompanied by a research colloqium where they will write a full-length paper on their internship topic, she said.
The program is open to any student interested in international affairs and global issues, and the deadline to apply for the next round is March 30. Treated like a study abroad, the Center for International Programs is supporting the program and the application is available online.
Ozler said she expects the program to grow more competitive as the word spreads to other SUNY schools.
While the school will guide and help students with their internship search, Ozler said they cannot guarantee placement or ensure students keep their internship. She said, in the end, it is up to them to “make that happen.”
“Students will be asked to get internships that are globally engaged. The internships are to be in non-profit making organizations where the students are immersed in topics of interest,” Ozler said. “The options are endless given New York City is the center of globally interconnected world with the United Nations.”
There are a variety of internship opportunities, such as advocacy organizations like Human Rights Watch, foundations like the Clinton Foundation and research based organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the Foreign Policy Assoc-iation, Ozler said.
The seminars will cover topics including international relations, global politics, intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, but Ozler said she intends to cater the readings to student’s internship placements.
“We can enhance their experience in the field with supplementing their readings from academia in understanding how global politics and international relations work around their internship experience,” she said.
Students will be graded based on multiple components. Ozler said these include internship performance, which involves weekly journals, a 10-page reflection paper about their experience and their effectiveness on the job, as well as seminar attendance and participation and the final paper.
Alexander Elmasri, a third-year international relations and sociology double major, will be participating in the program this fall and said he decided to apply in order to get a unique experience that will help him in his career.
“I wanted to have a chance to do something that was worth more than the average in-class experience that I would get from a usual course load in New Paltz,” he said. “This would give me the perfect opportunity to not only experience what I am passionate about, but also hopefully allow me to make connections for the future for life beyond college.”
His top three choices for an internship are with the Council on Foreign Relations, the Clinton Foundation and the World Policy Institute. He said he wants something dealing with policy and that the program’s internship focus is very valuable.
“I am really happy that SUNY New Paltz and Professor Ozler were able to put this program together before I graduated and still had time to take advantage of this opportunity because I think it is becoming increasingly necessary, especially for kids in our field, to have and maintain a relevant high-quality internship before they graduate,” he said.
Third-year political science major Caitlin O’Donnell will also be part of the program next semester. She said she will be looking for an environmental advocacy organization and is also interested in gender issues and development.
Currently concentrating in American government, she said she has not studied global affairs much, but is looking forward to doing so.
“I am realizing that studying within this field will become increasingly relevant given the way world politics works,” O’Donnell said. “I am hoping that the Global Engagement Program will give me the chance to be exposed in this field so I can eventually pursue global relations within my career path.”
Ultimately, Ozler said she hopes to give students real world experience that will help them better understand the discipline and work to add something to it and improve it.
“My goal in making this program happen is to have students who are well connected to international relations field on the ground,” she said. “Students who understand the structure of international relations well, who can analyze it critically and from experience and be able to understand how and what they can contribute to make the world a better place for us all to live in.”