December 18, 2019

Take part in the next round of the EYP mentorship programme!

The EYP Mentorship programme is designed to bring together young EYPers who are beginning their professional careers (and are, for example, finishing their studies and seeking their first jobs) or are in the transitional phase between the jobs and searching for input from EYP alumni who have a more extensive professional experience and can share their advice with the next generation. The 3rd round of the mentorship programme is about to kick-off and we look forward to your application!

We got in touch with Lars Kieni from Switzerland and his mentor Irem Tumer from Turkey, who participated in the 2nd round of the EYP mentorship programme to find out their main take-aways from it:

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

Irem: Professionally, I am the Focal Point for Youth Leadership and Participation at UNFPA HQ, a job that allows me to reach young leaders and youth-led organizations through leadership and participation programs of UNFPA. I am from Turkey and my background is in human rights law. Outside of more serious interests, I like travelling, reading and taking photos.

Lars: If I had to describe myself in one sentence, I’d say that I’m a young man who is ambitious and wants to take on the world, but didn’t yet exactly know how and was rather overwhelmed and held back by this uncertainly until a few months ago.

Why did you decide to partake in the EYP mentorship programme?

Irem: I decided to become a mentor in the EYP mentorship programme for two main reasons. Firstly, I felt that my professional background and personal interest in leadership development and my experience as a young professional in the UN system could be helpful to some younger EYPers who are interested to pursue a similar path. Secondly, EYP has been a very important source of personal growth during my formative years and I thought the mentorship programme would be a way to give back to the EYP community. 

Lars: I was approaching the end of my university career and knew that I wanted and needed a change. I was looking forward to starting my professional life and I knew that I want to get involved in diplomacy – a field that I had only become aware of thanks to EYP – but I didn’t know what the first and second step on the way toward this goal would be. I was looking for a mentor with similar interests, who was already a few years ahead of me in their lives; somebody who had already been in this position and was working in the field I am aiming for. Even better was the offer that this person would also be an experienced EYPer, as this person would then better understand where I was coming from, and what this organisation is that I am so passionate about.

What are some challenges that you are facing in this programme?

Irem: Overall, we had a rather smooth and enjoyable experience with my mentee. I think the main challenge is finding the time in mutually busy schedules and making sure that every meeting counts, and I tried to make sure this was the case by detailed planning, communicating about our expectations at every moment and making feedback a regular part of our conversations.

Lars: During the mentorship programme, we had regular skype sessions every couple of weeks. At first, I was just grateful to listen to my mentor’s experience, her path in life so far, and draw lessons from that; but as time went on, I also started questioning myself and my personality.

How do you want to use this mentorship experience?

Irem: I would like to use this mentorship experience as a learning for future mentorship relationships. I also plan to keep in touch with my mentee for the foreseeable future, can’t wait to see how some of the themes we discussed will be reflected in his life in the years to come!

Lars: From this experience, I not only drew inspiration for the next step in my professional life; I learned to look at this shift from university to professional life as a challenge I want to face, as an opportunity to give my life a new spin that I want to seize, rather than being paralysed about the sheer amount of options. I became more confident and ambitious about taking on this challenge, and most importantly: I also learned something about myself.