Working at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York has always been a dream for Tiffany Chui, an alumna of the University of Macau᾽s (UM) Faculty of Business Administration (FBA) and Honours College (HC). In 2020, Chui became one of the first young civil servants to be selected by the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) to participate in the UN Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme. She says: ‘It is a rare opportunity to work in the UN with talented people from around the world. I am grateful for the faith the Macao SAR government had in me. And I also want to thank UM, my alma mater, for giving me the opportunity to gain international experience while I was still in college.’
Nominated by the Central Government to Work in the UN
After graduating with honours in 2013, Chui joined the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO). A keen learner, she continued to take short courses after work, including many years of continuing education in Portuguese, to prepare herself for challenges and opportunities that might arise in the future. ‘In 2019, the deputy director of MGTO told me that the central government planned to promote the Macao SAR government’s participation in the UN JPO programme, so the SAR government would have the opportunity to send its civil servants to work in international organisations and help Macao᾽s youth to enter the global arena. I think it is a very precious opportunity to be able to learn and train myself in an international organisation,’ says Chui.
After passing the assessment, Chui and another civil servant were selected by the SAR government, and with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the MFA’s Office of Commissioner in the Macao SAR, they passed the UN assessment and became the first two young civil servants from Macao to be nominated by the central government to participate in the UN JPO programme. Chui is currently responsible for social media-related work in the UN Department of Global Communications, where she brings the latest UN news to readers in a timely manner, taking into account the interests of the Chinese readership. ‘Our department deals with a wide range of information topics, including peace and security, economy, environment, health, culture, education, and humanitarian aid,’ she says. ‘This is a very challenging environment and has helped me develop a global mindset.’
The UN deals with a plethora of information in a wide variety of languages. Luckily for Chui, her international exposure at UM has helped her develop a sensitivity to languages and international issues. ‘My colleagues in the UN come from around the world,’ she says. ‘The social media section is made up of eight language teams (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Kiswahili, and Portuguese), and each language has a different focus for its readership. I need to digest and collate thousands of messages in English every day, select the right topics, trans-edit them into Chinese articles, and post the articles on the UN᾽s many Chinese social media accounts with the aid of multimedia, so that more Chinese-speaking readers can be informed about the UN quickly and accurately.’
Having worked at the UN, she now has a better understanding of the UN’s guiding principle ‘Leave no one behind,’ and was inspired by the fact that the UN studies measures carefully before introducing them in order to ensure that all countries are involved and everyone can benefit.
College Years Help Develop Collaboration Skills
Chui says that the various learning opportunities provided by the university have been crucial to her career development. ‘During my undergraduate studies in the FBA, I acquired knowledge of marketing and learned to think like the customer,’ she says. ‘I also studied many subjects other than marketing, such as human resource management, computer technology, and statistical research, which greatly enhanced my effectiveness in inter-departmental collaboration.’
In her sophomore year, Chui was admitted into the HC, which aims to provide leadership training to outstanding students from different departments and faculties. She was inspired by the weekly leadership training courses she attended, as well as the exchanges and the practice with the best peers with various areas of expertise. HC students have the opportunity to study for a semester at a top overseas university in their junior year. At that time, Chui went to Boston College in the United States with more than ten other HC students. Studying in the US has opened her eyes to a bigger world, exposed her to different people, and allowed her to develop more diverse ideas and creative thinking.
University life provided Chui with many experiences that helped her grow personally and professionally, and she also met many close friends that she still keeps in touch with. Apart from the HC, Chui was actively involved in various student organisations and activities, including the university’s Public Speaking Team. ‘Through participating in and organising different activities in my university years, I have learned to maintain an open and respectful attitude and to work with people from different backgrounds and professions,’ she says. ‘These skills have been very important to my career development, making it easier for me to understand people from different backgrounds and professions at work and to work together more smoothly. Training and participating in speaking competitions has also sharpened my presentation skills and has given me more confidence to speak in public.’
Encouraging Students to Try New Experiences
With a strong attachment to UM, Chui has continued to give back to her alma mater after graduation by participating in university activities such as the Alumni Mentorship Scheme, sharing her experience and useful job information with younger students. She says, ‘The university offers a wide range of opportunities in many areas and fields of study, and the choices it provides are more diverse than those in secondary schools, and it also offers students a lot of room for development. Therefore, I encourage students to be bold, to try new experiences, and to challenge themselves, so that they can discover their interests and strengths during their four-year learning experience.’
Source: My UM