Meet Surabhi Goswami, who works as Digital Communications Officer for UNEP DTU Partnership – a leading international research and advisory institution on energy, climate and sustainable development based in UN City. As a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Collaborating Centre, UNEP DTU Partnership is an active participant in both the planning and implementation of UNEP’s Climate Change Strategy and Energy Programme.
From colorful Delhi to the dynamic UN City
Surabhi was born and raised in New Delhi, India. Through Erasmus Mundus – the European Union’s study abroad programme for higher education – she came to Europe to attend a joint Master’s programme in Media and Cultural Studies at Roskilde University in Denmark and at UCL Institute of Education, University of London. As a diasporic Indian and with a particular interest in new media and digital communication, Surabhi combined her interest in Identity and Diaspora with the use of social media, writing her thesis on online cultures and graduating with a Master’s degree in Communications from Roskilde University in 2010.
“During my studies I undertook two internships, first with the European Parliament at Luxembourg and then with UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. This provided vital initial work experience in large International Organizations. After graduating, I briefly considered opting for Ph.d. research in the US, but soon realized that I was more inclined to apply my skills and be a practitioner.”
This led her to undertake a third internship with the UNOPS’ communications team in Copenhagen, following which she joined UNEP DTU Partnership to bolster its communications.
“This trajectory seems a long time ago”, says Surabhi, reflecting on her time since being a fresh student in Denmark.
She has now lived in Denmark for nearly 9 years. To begin with, Surabhi and her colleagues worked at Risø, Technical University of Denmark’s research campus outside Roskilde, before moving to UN City in Copenhagen.
“It was quite a change of scene. We went from working in a very academic setting to this extraordinary imposing building with a dynamic environment. Sharing the building with other UN organizations gives me a sense of having a shared mission and of being part of a bigger family.”
Surabhi speaks excitedly about life in Denmark, while pondering over the differences of life in India:
“I can’t imagine living anywhere else – I feel at home here. Funnily enough, coming from the prohibitive heat and humidity of Delhi, I rather cherish the cold weather and appreciate the Nordic way of life. I like the Scandinavian sensibility, that everything is in order and respectful, and I feel safe and mobile here. At times, I do miss the colors of India; Danes mostly wear black and grey. And of course, I most certainly miss Delhi’s street food with all its spices.”
Connecting academics with external stakeholders
UNEP DTU Partnership is an organization formed under a tripartite agreement between United Nations Environmental Programme, Technical University of Denmark and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The partnership works with research, policy analysis and capacity building activities to reduce countries’ carbon emissions and improve climate resilience.
Surabhi works with outreach mainly through digital platforms. Communicating across the different projects of the UNEP DTU Partnership, Surabhi tries to create a link between research and with policy-makers, donors and partner organizations.
“By making our research and know-how available, UNEP helps countries switch to cleaner energy production and consumption, for example.”
Recently, in connection with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, UNEP DTU Partnership provided technical assistance to 32 countries in formulating the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The idea behind INDC is that each country determines its national contribution towards a low-carbon and climate resilient future. The initiative is a means for governments to communicate internationally the steps they will take to address climate change in their own countries. INDCs will reflect each country’s ambition for reducing emissions, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities.
Surabhi finds that UNEP DTU Partnership’s technical assistance to these countries is an important contribution in the effort to limit the rise in global temperatures.
“Climate change is a global challenge as we are all affected by it in some way. It gives me great job satisfaction working in this dynamic environment to facilitate communication between researchers and policy makers and thus work towards the sustainable development of our planet.”
Click here to learn more about the UNEP DTU Partnership