“The Master in International Development is more than formal training. It’s lifelong learning.”
Paula de Blas González
Paula de Blas González, Spain
UNSSC Associate Fellow
- Program studied
A global citizen immersed in global affairs
Paula has always had a passion for global affairs, languages and multicultural environments, having pursued two undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Translation & Interpretation. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree in international development, Paula worked in the Spanish public sector in a variety of bodies, including the Spanish Embassy. During her time there, she was excited to see her first study published by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism on the subject of education and copyright.
In addition, Paula has worked for the Education Office at the Spanish Consulate, where she focused on the protection of minority rights by ensuring their access to high-quality inclusive education. Alongside these two roles, Paula also had the opportunity to strengthen her communication and advocacy skills while working for the Spanish Ministry of Defense, as well as analytical and critical-thinking capabilities with the Sicomoro Foundation.
Paula sees the Master in International Development as much more than academic training. The master’s program has given her the opportunity to immerse herself in a multicultural and close-knit environment. Working in teams has been one of Paula’s highlights, with the demanding program having been enhanced by spending time with colleagues, learning from them and sharing unforgettable memories. She believes that this teamwork has enabled her to acquire soft skills that she can apply during her professional career and beyond.
Among the many highlights of the master’s program, Paula would point to IE University’s partnership with UNSSC and the Capstone project in collaboration with UNITAR. The former ensures that a vast number of international UNSSC practitioners bring their theory and expertise to the classroom, in close conjunction with the world-class IE University professors. What’s more, after completing the Capstone project, she and her team were elated to be hired as consultants to launch the project after graduation. This is a hugely rewarding and exciting opportunity that would not have arisen without the master’s.
“After completing the Capstone project, my team and I were hired as consultants to launch our project! This is an exciting experience that I would not have without the master’s.”
The UNSSC fellowship program was a logical next step for Paula, as it aligned with her passions and professional experience. Working in education was a natural step in her career path, and joining the UN System was an opportunity to deepen her knowledge and gain experience in a prestigious UN institution focused on learning and training.
Working as a UNSSC fellow has enabled Paula to gain valuable collaboration skills through remote working and she is proud to be part of a strong team. She has also acquired numerous skills through their Developing Learning Modules, assessments, data analysis, reports and interactive presentations.
Paula is currently working in the UNSSC Knowledge Center for Leadership and Management (KCLM) team. She collaborates on different learning programs, touching on topics such as people and change management, innovation, resilience, agile teams or communication. In addition, her work is largely centered around the UN Innovation Toolkit, primarily with regard to its roll-out and integration into the UN system in order to support the innovation efforts of our UN colleagues. This opportunity has cemented Paula’s desire to work in the education sector. It has also opened doors for her in the field of innovation, which is acutely needed in the education sector, while highlighting the importance and strength of partnerships.
During the master’s program, Paula gained vital skills for this fellowship. IE University is well equipped for online classes, a fundamental requirement in today’s world of learning and training. In addition, her present work in adaptive leadership and community empowerment touches on several of the topics Paula has studied, from delegation and decision-making, people and change management, to agile leadership in times of change. Likewise, the specialization in innovation and technology also equipped her with knowledge that she applies in her day-to-day work around social innovations and the UN Innovation Toolkit. Paula sees this specialization as a really strong added value of the program that will fully support her future work.
Paula’s advice to anyone interested in pursuing the fellowship in the UNSSC, is to remember that passion is key for educational impact. Finally, she would recommend that if education, training and learning is what drives you, just go for it!