Juan Mosquera Sepúlveda is a Colombian peacebuilder passionate about policymaking for conflict transformation. Here at the Kroc Institute, Juan is finishing his studies as part of the Master of Global Affairs, International Peace Studies concentration. From January until July, Juan was in Italy completing an internship with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) where he worked on topics aiming to tackle violence against children. In this conversation with fellow MGA-IPS student Anna Romandash, he highlights his most important takeaways and outlooks from his six-month experience.
What did you do during your internship?
I worked with the UNICEF’s Office of Research in Florence, Italy. My internship was a double appointment with the Knowledge Management and Research Facilitation and the Child Protection teams. I mainly supported the research project and agendas of the organization on topics related to violence against children, children on the move, and a broad agenda on children's rights in the Americas.
What was the most challenging task during your internship? And what was the most rewarding one?
I was the co-chair of a task force that coordinated UNICEF's participation in the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum, one of the most important forums for research on sexual violence. This task allowed me to connect with UNICEF colleagues from all over the world working on the research agenda on the gender dimension of violence against children.
Through this experience, I could witness how evidence can translate into effective programs to prevent violence against children, especially gender-based violence.
How is your internship helping you prepare for your future professional career?
My work with UNICEF helped me identify an interest in evidence generation and policymaking and to connect with people working in these areas.
Has your internship changed your perspectives on peace and your role as a young peacebuilder and professional?
This experience confirmed for me once again the importance of evidence generation and research as part of a broader agenda that considers peacebuilding as a strategic process. My work experience [before this internship] was mainly focused on macro-topics such as armed conflict and migratory influxes. Through this experience, I learned to notice the importance of peace at the most interpersonal levels. Peace should translate into people's daily life activities.