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Ali Diop, ’15, is committed to helping solve some of the world’s most difficult problems, and through a highly competitive internship he turns that goal into action every day. Diop’s workplace is the United Nations in New York, in the Office of the President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) at the International Criminal Court.
“The United Nations is the epicenter of world governments,” Diop says. “Without it, I don’t think the world would be peaceful.”
Originally from Senegal in West Africa, Diop came to the U.S. at age 16 to attend a college-prep boarding school in Minnesota.
As an intern at the U.N., much of Diop’s day is spent translating documents, planning discussions between states’ delegates, attending meetings on topics such as terrorism and economic development, taking notes at high-level meetings and creating reports, consulting with ambassadors, and keeping Senegal’s capital apprised of U.N. events.
In September, he helped Senegal during the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly. During the session, heads of state, including Senegal’s President Macky Sall—whom Diop had the opportunity to meet—addressed issues of sustainable development, climate change and terrorism.
Diop also attended the 2015 United Nations Security Council election of the five non-permanent members, including Senegal.
“This job has pushed me to improve my knowledge and learn more about politics, international law and world issues,” Diop says.
Adjusting to the high-pressure world of the U.N. wasn’t as difficult as Diop expected, he says, because of skills he developed at Maryville. He credits Davis Brown, JD, professor of political science, for teaching him diplomatic and persuasive language.
When his internship ends next spring, Diop hopes to pursue a master’s in international relations. Eventually, he wants to work as a leader at an institution like the U.N. or Amnesty International.
“I want to empower women in order to achieve true gender equality, give the poor the opportunity to have a healthy life free of violence and unfairness, and tackle climate change,” he says.
Committed to being part of the solution where these complex world issues are concerned, Diop says, “I hope I always opt for action when given the choice.”
This story was first published in the Fall 2015 edition of Maryville Magazine.