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The global lockdown challenged our ability to hold face-to-face learning opportunities – subsequently impacting incoming Swedish Junior Professional Officers (JPOs) and Special Assistant to the Resident Coordinator (SARCs) who take up in-person learning experiences at the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC). With travel restrictions loosened in different parts of the world UNSSC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) built on evaluation data from face-to-face and virtual editions, as well as JPO and SARCs learning needs to co-create the highly successful blended “UN Emerging Leadership and Career Booster for Swedish JPOs and SARCs” learning programme.
The blended learning offering combined online learning with in- person training at the UNSSC campus in Turin, Italy. In total, 27 JPOs and 3 SARCs from 22 duty stations came together for a transformative learning experience which allowed them to learn, contribute and network in a variety of ways.
“I think meeting in person creates more human interaction and makes people bond more. I am sure I am going to meet most of the people even after this session and it has broadened my network. In case I have questions, I know who is doing what. It is good to have that knowledge “ - Juuko Alozious – Associate Expert in Political Affairs United Nations Department of Political Affairs
“I think this course has been very fun and rewarding. It has helped us a lot to grow as emerging leaders within the United Nations system. We also received valuable peer feedback to learn from each other” Luisa Karst – Special Assistant to the Resident Coordinator – RCO Cambodia.
The tailored learning programme is designed to broaden the JPOs’ and SARCs’ leadership skill sets, help them improve their career prospects within the UN, foster collaboration and deepen their knowledge about the UN System. It covers a number of key areas — building resilience and cultivating well-being, learning how to be self-aware, emotional intelligence, understanding and embracing your personal leadership style, communication skills, career planning, the UN Values and Behaviours Framework and more — to support JPOs and SARCs navigate their future careers.
From dynamic sessions led by seasoned faculty members to small group exercises, the JPOs and SARCs had ample opportunities to reflect on how to reach their personal and professional goals.
“We have been asked very good and useful questions that have really made us think about our career choices. We have also gotten a lot of concrete advice and tips on what to do next” - Henna Kjellberg Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Officer – World Food Programme Italy
Speaking about the importance of the UNSSC – Sida partnership, Lorena Acevedo (Programme Manager at Sida) noted that, “We want to be able to provide our JPOs and SARCs with necessary tools to navigate their future careers and next steps in their journey within the United Nations and the World Bank. We also want to provide them with the necessary tools to be able to make conscious decisions when they make these next steps."
Thao Do Jörgensen emphasized the importance of the “UN Emerging Leadership and Career Booster for Swedish JPOs and SARCs” in enhancing Swedish strategies to support human resources within the UN System.
The Staff College and Sida believe that the learning initiative will have a lasting impact on each participant.