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Monica Chan

Monica Chan, '17

Strategy for humanitarian aid

Time: June 2015. Place: Geneva, Switzerland.

Finally, I had arrived for my long-awaited summer internship with the Shelter and Settlement Section of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

During my nine-week internship, I was taken on board several projects. The most interesting project I was involved in used the UNHCR's newly developed "Master Plan" concept. The "Master Plan" aims to promote holistic and comprehensive design and development of settlements. My specific project was to develop a plot of land (1500 hectares) in Kenya not only to build a new refugee camp, but also to work towards a more sustainable solution for interaction between the refugee and host communities.

I started by conducting research on the incoming refugee population, tracing out land contours, and studying the county government's Integrated Development Plan. Drawing multiple drafts of camp designs was a long and iterative process, but essential to developing a settlement that ensures the safety and dignity of refugees.

This summer internship allowed me to merge my three passions – engineering, global affairs and public service. Working with such a qualified, dedicated team at an international humanitarian aid organization has definitely motivated me to educate people on and off campus about refugee crises and to be a more strategic advocate for human rights.

Monica Chan, '17, studied mechanical engineering and international relations.
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