One year later, Kuwait's JPOs cement their positions as UN employees

26 Aug 2013

image IICPSD team, including JPO Programme Analyst Suliman Al-Atiqi, met for a consultation session with Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

In 2012, the Government of the State of Kuwait agreed to support United Nations activities through the direct funding of 10 Junior Professional Officer (JPOs) posts. After a rigorous selection process, 10 young Kuwaitis were deployed to UNDP offices in duty stations including New York, Barbados, Copenhagen and Istanbul. Several months into their assignments, the JPOs have already experienced new challenges and the excitement of creating a new professional life for themselves in diverse surroundings.

Musaad Al Saleh is a Programme Analyst for Environment, Energy and Climate Change at the UNDP office in Bridgetown, Barbados. He describes a typical working day as follows: “starting off by driving down the coastal road and entering the beautiful UN House compound where I usually find Green Monkeys lying around the parking spaces, on my way to the office surrounded by friendly and supportive colleagues. Every day I come across a new challenge working in Energy, Environment and Climate Change for a Sub-regional office dealing with 10 Small Island Developing States around the Eastern Caribbean. We aim to accelerate efforts on climate change adaptation and build a sustainable energy sector, which is critical to growth and development for these islands, therefore some days are very hectic with long working hours but in the same time very rewarding.”

UN staff around the globe are called to the job by a sense of purpose to work for international peace and development. Khaled Al-Khashram, Audit Analyst at UNDP headquarters in New York articulates how he feels to be working for this common goal: “There is no word to describe my excitement and motivation to work for United Nations, because working for the UN means that you are living the values of the organization in your everyday activity and behavior. There’s a great feeling of satisfaction gained from working in a globally recognized and integrated organization that contributes toward maintaining international peace and security, and fighting global poverty and promote development.” Jawaher Al-Reda is a JPO Programme Analyst working on strategic partnerships in the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, also in New York. Jawaher notes that “Becoming a JPO gives me an opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills by exposing me to UNDP from a macro perspective where sustainable development is approached through policy development and building global partnerships. One of the things I enjoy most about the UN is the extremely diverse staff I have the privilege to work with. Our shared passion for development is what continues to inspire me and keeps me going.”

The JPO programme offers Kuwaitis an opportunity to develop their skills in a highly professional working environment, exposed to international best practices and innovative thinking. The range of issues addressed in the international development field also provides great scope for learning and professional development. Suliman Al-Atiqi is a Programme Analyst working at the Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development, an emerging priority area for the UN in fostering international cooperation. Suliman explains some of the opportunities he enjoys: “Now that I have understood and adapted to the Center’s vision and objectives, what I am excited about most is leveraging my professional and academic experience to increase the efficiency of the Center and contribute something original, marking my presence in an institution that is fundamentally innovative and inclusive of all public and private potential partners. By working directly on projects aimed at capacity building, I am developing my professional experience by increasing my knowledge about the various developmental trends, themes and challenges facing our world today. More importantly, I am learning about how research and knowledge is translated into actionable partnerships; particularly those with the private sector.”

For any young Kuwaitis considering applying to the 2013 JPO recruitment round, Yumn Almufarrej, Programme Analyst working in Local Development and Inclusive Finance in UNDP Headquarters in New York has these words of encouragement: “This is an exceptional opportunity on dually professional and personal levels… The programme eventually opens a window of professional opportunities to its participants such as getting mainstreamed in the organisation later on and increasing Kuwait’s representation in the United Nations, returning back home and contributing to advancing our country’s development agenda while strengthening its governance structure, pursuing a career in international development with other multilateral organisations, or alternatively pursuing further graduate studies and seeking an academic career.”

Recruitment for the 2013 Kuwait JPO Programme will open shortly and will be announced on the UNDP Kuwait website and via social media.