By Christopher Brooks
Quadsia Niaz was in tears when she received a phone call pertaining to an internship opportunity she had always dreamed of. Luckily for the senior global studies major, they were tears of joy.
The phone call, which Niaz described as “unbelievable,” was from the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, where she will accept an internship after her graduation in May 2015.
“At first I couldn’t believe it,” Niaz said. “When I get really excited, I start crying. It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Niaz was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 1993 and moved to the United States with her family in 1996. Besides Niaz’s immediate family, most of her relatives live in Pakistan, but she still finds ways to stay in touch.
“It is very easy to stay connected through Skype and Facebook.”
While she has not been to Pakistan since 2004, she speaks the Urdu language fluently and is well informed on the Pakistani culture.
Currently living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Niaz wakes up at 5 a.m. during the week to take a three-hour bus ride to Rider’s campus. Starting in May, Niaz will take a similar journey to the U.N. headquarters in New York City, every Monday through Friday.
Pakistan has been a part of the United Nations since 1947 and today is a charter member, participating in all of the special agencies and organizations. Pakistan has made a large commitment to the U.N. since it joined, taking strong stances against international terrorism and arms control. In addition, Pakistan is an active contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping operations. According to the Pakistan Mission to the U.N., Pakistan contributes over 9 percent of the U.N.’s total peacekeeping deployment with over 8,000 troops, more than any other member.
During her internship, Niaz’s duties will include researching with a Pakistan U.N. officer. While she does not know what she will be researching yet, she hopes to work in the terrorism branch or in the human rights department.
Being wheelchair-bound, Niaz would like to work with others who have disabilities in Pakistan and give them the same opportunities she has been given.
“Being in a wheelchair, people like me [in Pakistan], people with disabilities, they don’t have the opportunity to go get an education like I do,” she said. “I’ve heard stories of people who die in bed because they don’t have the resources they need. For me, my ultimate goal is to help provide those resources that I have gotten in the United States. So they can be an integral part of society and contribute.”
According to Niaz, another field she would like to be involved with is education, which she feels plays an integral part in the fight against terrorism.
“Terrorism is a very big issue,” she said. “There is a big link between education and terrorism. The more educated we become, the less terrorism there will be in the world. It is important for people to learn right from wrong. Being Muslim myself, [terrorism] is not a part of Islam. This is not what it teaches.”
Dr. Roberta Fiske-Rusciano, adjunct assistant professor of global studies, feels Niaz will be a perfect fit at the U.N. headquarters.
“Quadsia’s success at being chosen for the internship for the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations has made us all in global studies extremely happy,” Fiske-Rusciano said. “Her academic and personal skills will serve her well in this post, and the Mission will find her an exceptional intern.”
After the completion of her internship, Niaz hopes to continue her education by receiving a master’s in political science with a focus on the United Nations. She also hopes to apply for a job at the U.N.
As her time at Rider comes to a close, she feels her experiences at the university will help her be successful at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.
“All of my classes have prepared me to some length,” she said. “I came in as an education major and didn’t like it. I switched to global studies and now I feel the world knowledge will help me along the way.”
By Christopher Brooks