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The Handshake Presents: Kirsten Mildren- Storytelling to Ignite Action at UNOCHA 

The Handshake aims to attract and retain talent in The Hague by offering students and young professionals a chance to hear from seasoned practitioners in the peace and justice sector. For the first edition, hear from Kirsten Mildren about her pathway to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Listen to the live event below.

Meet Kirsten:

 Kirsten Mildren has dedicated over two decades of her career to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), making significant contributions in various capacities across global locations such as Addis Ababa, Geneva, Bangkok, and New York. 

As the Chief of Public Advocacy and Campaigns Kirsten spearheads global communication campaigns to provide support to the staggering 230 million individuals in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Kirsten’s focus lies in utilizing innovative digital content and compelling storytelling techniques to raise awareness and garner support. Her campaigns for World Humanitarian Day have garnered accolades and commendation.  

Before joining the UN, Kirsten worked as a television journalist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and she shares how she moved from being a journalist to working for the UN. During the conversation, Kirsten also tells stories from her experiences of being deployed to humanitarian crises worldwide, from Indonesia to Japan, giving the ups and downs of working in these challenging circumstances. 

Kirsten’s Advice:  

Kirsten knows that there are many qualified, talented people applying for positions in the UN, therefore, she places highlights the UN Junior Professional Officer Programme, an opportunity tailored for young professionals and recent graduates seeking hands-on experience in the realm of international cooperation. Through this programme, participants not only engage in mentorship but also actively contribute to the advancement and fulfillment of their organization’s mission. It serves as a stepping-stone for aspiring professionals to make significant strides in their careers while making a tangible impact on global affairs. 

Further, she highlights that: 

  • Making connections and having name recognition is something that can really help your application stand out.  
  • Developing skills such as languages, specialising within your area, and get hands on experience through internships.  
  • Do your research about what the application entails, there might be a written exam, a competency-based interview, and be specific about how you meet the job requirements. 

Kirsten also suggests checking these helpful websites: