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The LSESU Travel Fund is a means-tested fund that enables students at LSE to access extracurricular travel opportunities, take part in activities, develop key skills and, above all, to really make the most of their university experience. It is supported by the LSE Annual Fund, and more info about it can be found on our website.
This year, the Travel Fund awarded £11,000 worth of funding between 34 students, allowing them to attend trips that would benefit their academic studies, personal development and future careers opportunities. These trips ranged from high profile and prestigious events such as ERSA Congress in Italy to anthropological trips, including one student’s involvement in the Prison Harvest Project in Malawi.
Want to know more?…
Want to know more about where these students went? Then check out our LSESU Travel Fund Map below, which pinpoints all of the incredible locations each student visited this year. You’ll also find links to students’ photographs and personal reports with full details about what they did, the people they met, and how their trip will improve their academic experience at LSE.
The LSESU Travel Fund helps students at LSE to access extracurricular travel opportunities, take part in activities, develop key skills and, more importantly, to really make the most of their university experience. It is supported by the LSE Annual Fund and more info can be found on the LSESU website. Follow our blog for a series of reports from recipients of the fund this year, where they went and what they did.
Collaborative dynamics triggered by digital turn - Brest, Brittany
From 1st - 4th July, the city located at the tip of Brittany hosted a forum discussing the challenges of collaborative practices for society and territories. More concretely, this means how people – civil society, public and private actors – can use digital tools to support horizontal networks of collaboration based on collective intelligence.
I came to Brest due to my interest for collaborative urban planning and the use of digital devices by local authorities. During my academic education in planning, I have been lacking courses on the challenges of the digital age for planners, both in terms of social and technical changes. Going to that forum was a great opportunity to meet with various actors and collectives, all contributing through their projects to a more contributory society. Not only could it help for my personal academic research, which addresses the issue of civic crowdfunding in the urban space, but it was also a chance to build a network that would be useful for my forthcoming professional future.
The three-day event welcomed more than 400 people and was divided into different sessions and workshops, according to different areas impacted by collaborative practices: education, governance, information, or the urban realm. I was one of the only students there and at the forum and my presence was really appreciated.
I participated mostly in events about collaborative practices in cities, and I had the opportunity to meet with enthusiastic professionals committed to changing the approach to city-making towards more horizontal, creative, open systems of urban governance. This is the case for example of the project Unlimited Cities, which seeks to promote an app to foster more civic participation in urban projects. Fing – a Parisian think tank monitoring digital transformations – also presented four main directions to achieve smart cities, with citizens at the centre of the socio-technical innovations. One of their areas of research focuses on urban crowdfunding, which proved to be very relevant for my personal researches.
The forum even attracted Axelle Lemaire, the French minister in charge of digital technologies, which proves the interest of the French government for the development of innovative digital tools fostering more collaborative policies.
Overall, attending such an event was a unique opportunity for me to meet with professionals, academics and activists engaged in my field of research. It enabled me to confirm at the end of my university course, my interest for the digital aspects of urban planning. This forum acted as a stimulation, giving me motivation and inspiration for my career plans, which hopefully will soon be translated into employment. Finally, my participation in this forum proved that LSESU supports students to get involved with an emerging topic with creativity and knowledge at the centre, which corresponds to the learning principles of the School.
UN Lithuanian Mission, New York
The LSESU Travel Fund enabled me to go to New York for an internship at the Lithuanian Mission to the United Nations (UN). Thus far, my internship has been extremely rewarding and educative. Apart from sitting in various high-level General Assembly, ECOSOC and Security Council meetings, I also had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the work that national missions do at the UN.
My main focus during the internship was international development. I had a chance to participate in the drafting of the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace Millennium Development Goals in 2015. It was a great honour to take part in such a historical process, which will affect lives of many people in both developed and developing countries. I also attended various Security Council meetings on situations in Ukraine, CAR and Middle East. This internship has broadly expanded my horizons and enabled me to apply skills and knowledge gained at LSE in a wider UN context. Apart from writing reports on the meetings, I have also done a lot of research on CAR, Ukraine and international development in general that was used in Lithuania’s Foreign Policy formulation.
In my daily life at the office, I have managed to become an integral team member. I think I can attribute my success to my fulfilling education at LSE – my flexibility and ability to work on several files at the same time (Ukraine, SDGs, Women Rights) to a strong interdisciplinary approach; my efficiency to my good work ethics shaped at the LSE Library; and my ability to be a team player to a very rich extracurricular life at LSE.
On a more personal level, thanks to friendships made with other interns from the British, Armenian, Lebanese, Pakistani, Rwandan and American missions I have managed to become a more versatile person. We have established an informal community, a circle of friends. Together with them – all young, intellectually fresh and energised - we have been familiarising ourselves with the UN structure, discussing possible reforms till the dawn, and pondering upon the new possibilities to make the international system more representative, but less politicised, further from political stalemates and closer to the ordinary people, and definitely more efficient when it comes to saving humanity. The people I have met restored my faith in international organisations. This internship has also helped me realise that after graduation I want to work for a UN agency.
Inspiration from the greatest diplomats in the world, such as UK Permanent Representative to the UN, fuels my daily dedication to fight for a better tomorrow. Exposure to high-level diplomacy, with a glimpse of national perspectives, furthers my intellectual development and inspires me to work harder in order to be better equipped for my future employment at the UN.
Apart from enabling me to come to New York, the LSESU Travel Fund will also fund my internship at the Shiv Nadar Foundation in Uttar Pradesh, India in August 2014. I can honestly say, that this summer thus far has been life-changing and for all of it, I am sincerely grateful to the LSESU Travel Fund.
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