Kohawk fuels passion for politics during UN externship

Laura Niday UN Externship
Laura Niday ’20 (center) and
Alan M. Anderson ’78 (right)

Political science and philosophy major Laura Niday ’20 recently returned to Coe College following a week in New York on a U.N. externship. Niday’s externship involved observing the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s (UNCITRAL) 71st session of Working Group II (Dispute Settlement) with Coe alumnus and Board of Trustees member Alan M. Anderson ’78.

Taking part in the U.N externship was a natural fit for Niday who spent fall term studying in Washington, D.C., and working as a congressional intern for the U.S. Senate via Coe’s Washington Term. 

“During Washington Term, I had the opportunity to see gridlock on the Senate floor firsthand. Even though individuals' goals were similar, they still couldn’t agree,” Niday said. “I was especially interested to learn how different countries could come to a consensus.”

Through her externship, Niday learned about expedited international arbitration and witnessed discussion of specific rules for a quicker process to resolve international commercial disputes. “UNCITRAL recognizes six languages so there was a great deal of back and forth to make sure the policy translated the same in each of the languages,” Niday said. 

“Laura was able to see diplomacy in action,” Anderson said. “She learned how countries interact and how international relations work in the real world, not just from an academic standpoint.” 

Niday plans on pursuing a career in politics, and the U.N. externship only solidified her passion. She savored the opportunity to meet delegates and diplomats from all over the world during her externship. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” Niday said. “The opportunity to observe how countries interact on a world stage was simply amazing.” 

Niday plans to head back to Washington when she graduates early this December. She’s dedicated to discovering her niche and plans to spend time learning what she’s passionate about. She can see herself with a future in international relations, perhaps as a diplomat working internationally.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunities Coe has given me,” Niday said. “If it weren’t for Coe, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time interning in Washington or attend the U.N. externship in New York.”

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