Alumni - Aaron O’Dowling-Keane- MA in Publishing and internship at the International Labour Organization

I did my interview for the Brooke’s MA in Publishing whilst sitting under a mosquito net in a remote village in Tanzania where I’d been working as a teacher in a local school. Evidently, from the outset the international element of the MA was important to me. 

And the publishing department didn’t let me down, from the diverse make-up of the students, to international book fairs, to the courses I chose for the second semester - International Publishing Management and Publishing and Language - my passion for the global world of publishing was more than satisfied. One of the biggest international opportunities that came my way via Brookes was the chance to intern in the publishing department of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN specialized agency for labour. The ILO is based in Geneva.

Six months ago I moved to Geneva to begin my internship and in the course of those six months I did everything. Within the department I got to work with interesting and passionate people in varied capacities. I explored the nature of international copyright in the lead up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, visited Frankfurt, edited documents in five languages, attended press launches in the Palais de Nations and liaised with translators, economists and reviewers across the world. As my responsibilities grew I was encouraged to take a lead on our ebook production and distribution and worked closely with the main aggregators in the ebook arena. Within the organization itself, I was exposed to some of the great international thinkers, with opportunities to attend talks, classes, conferences and the occasional party. I became the co-President of the Intern Board which gave me the opportunity to benefit from a different side of the ILO from negotiating intern rights, improving our working conditions to throwing the biggest social events of 2010/11. And all of this took place within Geneva, a cosmopolitan hub of banks and cuckoo clocks where I learnt how to ski, make fondue and eat more chocolate than I thought humanly possible. I left the ILO to start a new job back in Oxford but my time there was invaluable not only for the publishing experience, but for the chance to live in the heart of the United Nations and the opportunity to make life-long friends across the world. I can’t imagine a better way to spend six months. 

Posted on 14 Mar 2011 around 5pm