Asma, Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences with a Major in Criminology and a Minor in Law, Communications Support at the Forum of Federations
In March 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the corona virus outbreak had reached the level of a global health crisis. Many business activities transitioned online, except for essential businesses. And while all university courses were shifted to be at a distance, I was unsure to what extent the pandemic would affect my undergraduate studies - particularly when it came to experiential learning. Experiential learning is a significant aspect of my academic experience. It bridges the gap with classroom learning and constitutes a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience, while improving relevant professional and communication skills.
Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of the Faculty’s professors and staff who have coordinated with non-governmental organizations to make an international internship at a distance possible for students such as myself. And for that, I am truly grateful.
So, I began my internship in the fall providing communications support at the Forum of Federations. Although I have not been able to meet many of the Forum’s members and interact directly with stakeholders, it is amazing how much time and money is saved when working from home. My role at the Forum ranges from editing podcasts and book chapters to producing content to stimulate social media engagement. From an institutional perspective, the Forum’s core principle is “learning from each other.” And this is indeed the kind of opportunity the Forum’s members have given me - to learn from their knowledge and experience.
The pandemic has put to the test the effectiveness of federal countries’ institutional design while also highlighting the advantages of this form of government. Now more than ever, the impact of digital communication and indeed online volunteering are reshaping our understandings and conceptions of how to effectively work together as a global community.
The Forum is playing an important role in sharing the comparative experiences of federal countries in terms of how they manage and cope with the virus. The Forum’s impact goes beyond national borders and supports the growth of resilient local communities where everyone is valued and included in decision-making processes.
As I continue to adjust to my internship, I am eager to connect with more people from different countries and further integrate into the online community the Forum has fostered while also playing my part in flattening the curve.