Shooting for the Stars
Mallika Auplish ‘13 is living her dream of working at the U.N.
Professor Steve Kleinknecht remembers a conversation he had with Mallika Auplish when she was in her second year at Brescia.
“She told me that her goal was to work at the United Nations,” he recalls. “I thought it seemed like a pretty lofty goal, but why not shoot for the stars?”
Within two years of graduation, Auplish was interning at the U.N. Today, she is a Program Associate at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the focal point for the Secretary-General’s Gender Parity Strategy for her department, where she supports senior leadership in implementing gender parity and provides strategic advice on gender policy and programmatic initiatives.
Auplish was born in New Delhi and spent her middle and high school years in Dubai. When it came to choosing a university, she considered Australia, the U.K., and Canada. She ultimately chose Canada when she came across the Brescia website. “It was a gut feeling,” she says. “I saw a picture of the library surrounded by snow. It looked cozy and I could just picture myself there.”
The Brescia environment fit her like a glove. “I appreciated the dedication to academics and holistic development,” she says. “I liked that the University was focused on female education and leadership”
After Brescia, Auplish won a Rotary scholarship and prepared to study at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. But she ultimately chose a Fellowship with the renowned Teach for India program, which places exceptional young people as full-time teachers in some of India’s most under-resourced schools. “As a third culture kid, I wanted to reconnect with my roots,” she says. “It felt like giving back, which is something Brescia cultivated in me.” It was also an opportunity for her to gain a grassroots foothold in the field of international development.
In addition to being a Fellow, Auplish helped launch a project to reduce gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. “Because it’s such a taboo topic in India, even starting the dialogue and giving voice to the issues is very significant.”
Upon her return to Canada, Auplish sought to broaden her experience within international development and affairs. After months of applications, she finally got the call offering her an internship at UNHQ on her birthday in 2014. Currently, in addition to her full-time job at the U.N., she is completing a Masters of Public Administration through the University of Birmingham to develop her managerial, operational and strategic skills.
Auplish sees a rewarding future in helping shape policy and implement programs in the intergovernmental sector. “I enjoy the complexities this work and lifestyle brings,” she says. “At the U.N. you have 193 member states coming together to debate and make decisions, and, given the uniqueness of the organisation and the events that transpire, there may not be many precedents to learn from. It takes time and requires patience, persistence, passion, and especially a sense of humour.”
This fall, Auplish will address a Brescia first-year seminar, Introduction to Global Challenges. Heather Campbell, Associate Director of the Advanced Learning and Teaching (ALT) Centre, is helping develop the course. She says Auplish will be an inspiring presence in the classroom. “Mallika is exactly who we need. She set a challenging – some might say unattainable – goal for herself, achieved it in record time, and is really passionate about her work.”