My name is Ines, I am 23 years old and I work at the UN, in the International Labour Organization as a development project manager.
Our goal is to develop businesses in developing countries to create a lot of jobs, decent jobs and especially in large value chains. The second part of my job is to use economic development to reduce the amount of child labor.
Why did you choose to work at the UN?
At first, I was supposed to go to medical school. But even though I love science, it wasn’t really what I was passionate about. What I liked about medicine was helping people. So finally, I was interested in international relations, economics and history. So I asked myself, “How can I combine my love of languages, my love of history, my love of economics and help people at the same time?” And I thought, “Development is a good approach! And who is the best actor to advocate for social and economic development in developing countries? In my opinion, it was the United Nations. So it became a dream when I was 13 years old and I had to fight very hard to achieve it.
Is the judgment of others important to you?
The judgment of others regarding my passion, my work, my dream does not matter to me AT ALL. Because it is much more than a professional career, it is a vision of life, a philosophy.
How do you overcome the judgment of others?
Because it is the heart that speaks. This work is so important that I don’t even have to think about it. The judgment of others is not important, the brakes are not important. Work comes so much before many things in my life that it’s not even just a job but a vision of life that creates the way I act and that I put certain priorities before others.
Did you ever think that this would be possible one day?
At first I thought yes, of course it is possible, anything is possible! But because I was 13 years old ! And then I realized that there were in fact many people who were potentially interested in the same career, in international relations, politics, etc. But I really had an idea of what to do. But I really had a very precise vision of where I wanted to work! But my father, my mother always told me, “Ines, in life, if you really want something, you’re going to have to work for it, you’re going to have to work HARD.” So I think I’m a bit of an example for that, when you really want it, you can, hard work pays off and merit is very important. By working hard, I realized, that ok it moves, we get there and that finally, I am there!
What message would you like to share with the world?
I have 3 messages to share with the world. The first one is: “You must always believe in your dreams” Because you can always get there, with enough work, with enough conviction, with the right attitude, the smile is also very important!
The second thing I want to convey to the world is that we work better together. Together, we can do many things: develop ideas, unite abilities, learn another culture, share another way of expressing ourselves, of analyzing things, find new opportunities. Cooperation is priceless, this is how we move forward: together.
The third point I would like to address is the importance of peace. Yes, we work together, but we work together to achieve PEACE between different populations, communities, people. In this way, we can have a greater impact on society and let everyone benefit from all the work we do. In fact, these three points are super linked: it is by working together that we benefit society. And in order to benefit society, we need to push everyone to achieve their own dreams: together!
Tell us about your most touching mission memories
The first mission I did with the UN was in Laos, it was the first time I went to Asia and traveled alone. And one time I was in a beautiful village, and to my right I saw a family, all generations, grandmother, mother, daughter, child and baby working in a rice plantation. And I was simply walking towards a school. So I wondered if this was normal, if it was because of lack of money or if it was just a transfer of knowledge. Should I do something or not? That’s what struck me the most! Then, when I came back to Geneva, I decided to start working against child labor.
My second experience is that a month ago, I had the chance to go on a mission in Afghanistan where I stayed for two weeks. It’s not the first country you think of when you want to spend a good vacation! It is a country at war for 15 years, especially now, their situation is very delicate because the Taliban are winning. You might think that the families feel bad and are very suspicious of foreigners but NOT at all. They are really open and caring, full of kindness, always ready to help others, they are really peaceful and spiritual people. So when you see these human beings, you ask yourself “Why is there even a war in this country?” I absolutely have to do something to avoid this kind of stupid situations!
How do you find your balance between your work and your well-being?
The first piece of advice I would give is to make sure your home is a temple: you don’t think about work, it’s a temple of well-being. It’s comfortable, it’s a reflection of you. If you like to read, there should be a nice library, if you like to watch movies, your sofa should be comfortable. For me, in my house, the balcony is a very important room, it allows me to get some fresh air, to look at the mountain, to recharge my batteries. So yes, your home is very important.
Secondly, we must always refocus on reality, on what is happening right now, where we are. Because often, when we are on a mission, we think about what is happening in Geneva and when we are in Geneva, we already think about the next mission. So no, it is very important to think only about the activity that we are doing now, the moment that we are spending pleasantly with friends. It’s extremely important to always refocus on the present moment.
The third thing is that in order to do this, I always plan everything. In my calendar, there are: my drinks with friends, the monthly appointment to do my eyebrows. I try to put everything in my agenda, because in fact what is not there, finally, cannot happen.
What would you like to say to end this interview?
I really wanted to do this interview with Di Paradise because it’s a website that advocates that there are as many ways to take care of yourself as there are people. I’ve told you mine, but it’s certainly not the best one. It’s the one that suits me. But I am sure you will find yours on this site!