Summer Stories: Saiful Salihudin MIA ’21 at the United Nations, Princeton, and with AOC

Thanks to Saiful Salihudin MIA ’21, concentrating in Economic and Political Development, for this post.

Apart from learning the culinary art of my native land of Malaysia, I spend my COVID summer days as a Political Affairs intern, at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch. There, I conduct research on political issues and countries, as they relate to the mandates of the Security Council.

Since March, I attended and covered various Security Council meetings on agendas including the Middle East and the Palestinian Question, Afghanistan, Non-proliferation, and Threats to International Peace and Security; analyze the evolution of the discussion and the working methods of the Security Council; and contribute to the drafting of the Repertoire of the Security Council.

I have also been working as a Researcher at Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC) for their joint project with Microsoft Research Group. I research and analyze various misinformation narratives emerging globally surrounding COVID-19, led by Professor Jacob Shapiro, ESOC co-director and professor of politics and international affairs, at Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. The project aims to contribute ground truth on narratives to help researchers develop better knowledge about the source and impact of misinformation. This also helps industry to develop better tools to prevent their systems from spreading it.

An article I co-authored with my colleagues, as well as ESOC specialist, Jan Oledan, and Prof. Shapiro, based on this analysis, has been published and is now available on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

I also spent some time working with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez re-election campaign doing check-in calls with the residents of the Bronx and Queens during COVID-19, phonebanking, tabling, and (socially-distanced) canvassing during the primaries. It was a fun experience and I learned a lot about community organizing and political campaign management during this period.