I was no stranger to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) when I began my digital marketing internship at the United Nations specialized agency following my graduation. Little did I know how relevant the work of ICAO was – and continues to be – to the aviation industry, or just how much I would gain from the experience.
From September to March 2020, I joined the Digital Marketing unit at ICAO’s Headquarters in Montréal. Over the course of six months, I worked on a variety of marketing projects. I developed campaigns for email, social media, search engine and automation marketing. I was able to create engaging content to bring greater awareness globally, curating landing pages and provide editing and copywriting support for numerous initiatives. I especially loved coordinating written content for the UnitingAviation.com blog and even had the opportunity to publish my own articles!
So many pivotal events happen at ICAO. In my role I was able to assist in live-streaming some of the big ones and I worked on new products. At the first-ever Innovation Fair just a few days into my internship, I got to see prototypes of drones and flying taxis and even experienced a virtual reality trip over Los Angeles with Uber Elevate.
My time at ICAO also coincided with important milestones for the Organization. It is one thing to study United Nations Assemblies in Political Science textbooks and participate in Model UN simulations as a student, but to get a glimpse of the real ICAO Assembly in action at the landmark 40th Assembly back in October felt so surreal. Later that fall, I got to work on a special campaign to mark the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Chicago convention. Seeing that campaign draw to a successful end on International Civil Aviation Day, after weeks of planning, felt very rewarding.
Every project I worked on at ICAO presented a challenge: developing content that would be interesting, engaging, culturally sensitive and politically neutral. But with every challenge came an opportunity to develop my problem-solving, creative writing and thinking, skills I will value wherever my career may take me. Thankfully, I was never on my own either. My team consisted of helpful, supportive and brilliant individuals who possessed great insight into the aviation industry. I made great memories with my colleagues and some have even become good friends of mine.
Walking by the UN flags and stepping into the ICAO Headquarters every day felt incredibly humbling. It is not every day that you get to explore an impressive building filled with unique and intricate State gifts. I would take any chance I had to walk by the Assembly Hall and Council chambers where the representatives of 193 Member States meet along with leading civil aviation authorities and industry experts. (I could never get used to seeing the Secretary-General in the elevator or running into the former Canadian ambassador to the Organization in the cafeteria).
I felt incredibly proud to be contributing to the work of an institution with reach that spans across the globe and impacts the lives of millions of travelers. Air transport and consequently, the work of ICAO, is vital to global connectivity and to the sustainable development of our world. I was also proud to be working for a workplace that values integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity, an example to the industry itself.
And though the aviation industry has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have learned that it is a remarkably strong and resilient one. Now more than ever, there is space for innovation and young people can play an important role in the industry’s restart and recovery. So, whether you are fascinated by aviation or looking for experience in an international setting like I was, consider an internship at ICAO for the immeasurable knowledge and experience it will bring you!
To learn more about the internship opportunities that are available at ICAO, visit the website that is continuously updated, here.