Jobs, Learning

How do you hire?

I always ask about the thing you’re most proud of and the thing you’re least proud of, and sometimes it could be a four-part question, because they’ll give something personal and professional for each of them. I’m listening for whether they talk about their accomplishments with “I, I, I,” or what their team was able to do.

This is from an interview with Lloyd Carney, CEO of data handling company Brocade.

I’m currently in job application purgatory and often find myself wondering ‘what do these people really want to know’?  Little cues like this seem pretty useful to me.

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Commentary, Uncategorized

The spirit of Paris – alive and kicking

Written by Jasmin Cantzler for The Climate Analytics Blog. Jasmin is a fellow Hertie graduate.

Today the presidents of the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters, China and the US, ratified the Paris Agreement.

Xi Jinping and Barack Obama’s ratification, ahead of the G20 meeting in China, shows that the momentum to address climate change is strong as ever, making the possibility of the Paris Agreement’s entry into force by the end of this year or early next ever more likely.

On the 12th of December 2015, the plenary halls at Le Bourget on the outskirts of Paris erupted in standing ovations, tears and cheers – a turmoil of emotions of relief and euphoria.

The Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 governments after a two-week negotiation marathon, was a remarkable achievement and a landmark in the global fight against climate change, rattling off the shock and lethargy following the failure of Copenhagen.

But since the wave of euphoria, detractors set in, with many assuming the Agreement would not be operational until 2020. Luckily, the world seems determined to prove them otherwise.

To recap the rulebook: The Paris Agreement will automatically enter into force 30 days after it has been ratified by at least 55 countries, and by countries representing at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Both conditions have to be met before the agreement is legally binding.

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In April this year, the Paris Agreement opened for signature and ratification.

Since then, our ratification tracker followed not just the actual ratification but also the statements made by government officials about their intention to ratify – and when.

With China and the US (together accounting for 37.98% of global emissions) keeping their promises made during the signing ceremony in April to ratify the Paris Agreement by the end of the year, the spirit of Paris proves to be alive and kicking.

Including the US and China, 26 parties have ratified the Agreement as of 3 September 2016.

Another 32 countries have signalled their intent to do so by the end of 2016, bringing the possibility of an early entry into force within reach by meeting both conditions (number of countries and share of global emissions).

With two of the world’s top emitters showing their determination to combat climate change, the momentum is likely to continue and boost participation by other governments.

Investors managing over USD 13 trillion in assets also urged G20 leaders to swiftly ratify the agreement, reminding them of their “responsibility to work with the private sector”, stating that the “Paris Agreement on climate change provides a clear signal to investors that the transition to the low-carbon, clean energy economy is inevitable and already underway”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will hold an event during the UN General Assembly in September, which will allow governments to deposit their instruments of ratification to “keep up momentum on the development agenda and climate change” and to “bring that Agreement into force this year.”

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Governments have shown in Paris that they are ready to “converge onto a common path, onto a common direction of travel”towards a low-carbon economy. As our work with the Climate Action Tracker has shown, the current climate pledges by governments are certainly not yet sufficient to take us anywhere near the agreed long-term temperature goal of 1.5°C, instead we projected they would keep warming to 2.7˚C, but this ratification is the first step.

Paris achieved a common direction for all to pursue “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” and “aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible”. The latter means zero global greenhouse-gas emissions by mid-century to be consistent with the 1.5°C efforts.

We look to Governments to accelerate climate action and get us on a path to that Paris Agreement temperature goal. Their first step must be to ratify it.

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Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: An unpaid act one year later

In this episode Clement speaks to the infamous tent-living intern of Geneva, David Leo Hyde, and his partner Nathalie Berger.

A couple of our writers took on this topic at the time:

  1. Sleeping rough in Geneva – a good overview and hot-take on the story by Alex Odlum.
  2. 4 ways unpaid internships undermine the UN – an anonymous break down of how an (unpaid) UN intern sees the wider problems of unpaid internships in the UN.

So what came from this big tent stunt? The UN hasn’t changed its way just yet. But David’s time in the tent became a rallying call to help organise interns and pro-pay activists get attention from the media.

Looking forward to checking out their documentary on the unpaid internship issue!

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign. You can also check out his blog here.

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Uncategorized

The Internship Grind: Better Know An Intern #3

We love the Better Know An Intern series here at Development Intern. One of the main reasons to start this site was to build a platform for other interns so they wouldn’t be anonymous, interchangeable, part-timers.

Clement’s short interview profiles have reminded us how good it is to hear from a wide range of people (like our contributors). Do you ever feel like telling your story or giving your opinion on something in the industry? Then please join our writers’ group and pitch me your ideas!

In this Better Know an Intern, we get to better know Jolan Remcsak. He talks about coming from France/La Réunion, the need for more sleep as an intern, and how impending doom is the greatest challenge the United Nations faces today.

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign. You can also check out his blog here.

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Commentary, Experiences

Dear Backpackers

I have spent the last couple of weeks in Colombia. I went there partly to celebrate graduating, partly to visit a friend and partly just to go somewhere new. Side note: Colombia is great! Go visit.

Colombian cities are pretty good at viewpoints

A photo posted by Rowan Emslie (@rdemslie) on

One of the reasons I became interested in international development (of which there are many) was my desire to go overseas and to see new things. It’s a selfish reason. I know that there are a bunch of problems with volunteering or working overseas. The majority of development work should be carried out by people from the place being ‘developed’ – that just makes sense. But when you’re laying out your career aspirations, it’s useful to be honest.

I would like a career that takes me to new places and challenges my worldview, I want to go see the world. I dread the idea of finding myself living where I grew up. (I also want to be able to do creative work, to contribute to something meaningful and to be able to live comfortably while doing it. I’ll probably have to choose between these, but that’s a task for another day). And so, these factors all considered, international development seems like a good fit – it’s got ‘international’ right there in the name!

Now, some people might argue that I could discover new places just by visiting them. I could go on package tours or plan long backpacking trips. I have always heard this referred to as “going travelling”. And, I’ll be honest, the thought of it brings me out in a rash.

When I lived and worked in Kampala my friends and I would see backpackers in a bar and groan. They were always dressed like they were about to hike over a mountain when they were, in fact, simply having a few beers in a nice bar in a large, cosmopolitan city. Leave your safari boots at the hostel. And then they’d be overenthusiastic about every ‘authentic’ detail – whoa, man, is that a genuine calabash? – while simultaneously only hanging out with other backpackers.

Not every experience is life-changing. Having a couple of drinks in a bar is pretty similar no matter where you are. Try talking to some of the ‘authentic’ Ugandans all around you. This phenomenon was such a recurring one that we joked about starting lookatthisfuckingbackpacker.tumblr.com*.

Santa Marta is both a tourist destination and a working port, with all the grit that comes with that.

A photo posted by Rowan Emslie (@rdemslie) on

In Santa Marta the other week I overheard a group of white people discussing which yoga retreat/hiking weekend was going to be the most rewarding, “spiritually speaking”. They were the only other white people in the restaurant. You’re making us all look bad! Yes, of course arepas are gluten free! Stop asking!

Irritating hipster parallels aside, backpacker culture can (inadvertently) stir up nastier waters. In Kampala, I always knew that I could turn up to a film premiere, fancy part or fashion event looking pretty much however I wanted. I could have been out partying for several days, dressed in a raggedy t-shirt, jeans and dirty flip flops and still get let into the VIP section. If my Ugandan friend came looking like that it’s likely that they would get barred at the door. Mzungu privilege. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

As foreigners, we should be making the extra effort not to behave like we’re trekking into the wilderness to experience the exotic delights of the new world. We’re in someone else’s city, their home. Dress and act appropriately. Of course, expat development workers are guilty of disregarding this advice too but, in my experience, they’re less likely to than backpackers. Why? Maybe because they work with and know people from the country they’re visiting. Maybe because they are hanging around long enough to notice people reacting negatively to their behaviour.

In the wake of the recent Brexit vote and the rise of xenophobia all over the Western world I actually think more people should spend extended periods of their lives living overseas. But living and travelling are hugely different. I propose the three month rule: three months in one place is enough time to get to grips with it. You’ll know your way around, you’ll have figured out where some of the better bars/restaurants/clubs are and, most importantly, you can actually form friendships that will distort your Facebook bubble and open your world up a little more.

After (at the very least) three months, you’ll have a genuine glimpse of how life somewhere else looks, really looks. Working overseas is a great way of doing that. If I learnt anything from Colombia it’s that while I genuinely do love travelling oversea, I greatly prefer living there.

Now to get back to reality and start churning out job applications.


*Still very happy to get this going if anyone is interested.

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Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Intern Nation

This episode sees Clement interviewing Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. 

This definitely looks worth checking out. Perlin asks:

How have internships become almost as important as a college degree? Why are prestigious internships routinely being auctioned off for thousands of dollars?
Why does Disney World in Orlando employ up to 8,000 interns through its College Program every year?

Good questions. Especially for those us looking to go into an industry that more or less requires unpaid internships as a right of passage this way in seems like an inevitable fact of life. But you know what? It’s pretty new.

Remember, if you want to keep The Internship Grind going, please contribute to my crowdfunding campaign by donating or sharing it with your social networks. You can see what it’s all about over at igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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