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The Peacekeeper

Law student Dan Jones to spend his summer at the UN.

Known for having the largest influence in global affairs, the United Nations is pivotal in establishing humanitarian advancement, peacekeeping, security and conflict resolution throughout the world. When nations disagree, they often go to the U.N. for mediation. But what happens when a member state has a grievance within the U.N. itself?

Daniel Jones, BA ’10, a third-year Ohio Northern University law student from Ashland, Ohio, is about to find out.

As United Nations intern, Jones will spend the next 10 weeks in New York City at the U.N. Headquarters working with the U.N. Management Evaluation Unit. His duties will involve researching previous rulings of internal U.N. disputes, which can be established as future precedents, as well as assisting with ongoing or incoming grievances.

Established precedents are issued by the secretary general to dissolve tensions within the U.N. body that may otherwise derail negotiations. Before a matter is ever resolved on the floor of the General Assembly, it is crucial for members to stand in good faith.

“This protocol is very important, because the resolution of internal disputes allows for member states to unlock their full potential,” says Jones.

International law has been an interest of Jones since he was an undergraduate student at ONU. A political science major, he found the subject to be one of the most hands-on, with many avenues available to pursue his interest.

“As an undergraduate, I did get to work with some international professors and international students through programs like Model U.N.,” says Jones. “Of all the experiences I had as an undergrad, these were my favorite.”

Jones was involved with the ONU Model U.N. team for four years, serving as head representative when Northern took part in the New York Model U.N. conference in New York City his senior year. At the conference, one of the highlights was a tour of the U.N. Headquarters. Jones could not have guessed that his future would include working in the very buildings he visited.

Jones continued on his path towards an international law focus through The Washington Center’s (TWC) London study-abroad program. During summer 2009, he partnered with the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, located in the heart of London. Jones greatly believes that this experience helped set him apart from the other applicants to the U.N. Summer Internship Program.

Dr. Robert Alexander, associate professor of political science and campus liaison to TWC, is excited to see Jones’ hard work and previous experience pay off.

“Dan has a great personality, and it didn’t surprise me in the least that he had a great experience in London,” says Alexander. “I couldn’t be more pleased to hear about his placement with the United Nations. To see Dan’s success, we are all just a little bit a part of that. It’s just outstanding.”

Jones credits a number of his current professors in the College of Law with giving him the support and motivation that helped him seek out such an ambitious internship program. He has taken a number of law classes with an international focus, and he is ready to apply some of his newfound knowledge outside of the classroom.

“I’ve had a lot of encouragement from professors to look around and see what is available, and I think that an important part of being a law student is learning to take initiative,” says Jones.

Upon his return, Jones would like to continue his focus on international law within his law degree program and beyond. Based on previous experiences, he maintains an interest in the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their impact on international consensus and law.

He hopes that his internship will further guide him and affirm what he has been working towards since he came to ONU—to gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to make a positive impact on the world.

—Steve Saunier
Political Science major

Centerburg, OH