Home>Giulio Catanzariti, Political Affairs Officer, Syria Team of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs


Giulio Catanzariti, Political Affairs Officer, Syria Team of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

Coming from Italy, Giulio Catanzariti has graduated in International Public Management (now International Governance and Diplomacy), dual degree with Columbia University (SIPA). Giulio is a Political Affairs Officer in the Syria Team of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in New York City.

What are your main responsibilities?

I am part of a dedicated team responsible for providing analysis and advice to senior UN leadership on Syria-related issues and extending support to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria. My role involves analyzing political and on-the-ground developments and supporting UN meetings and senior officials’ visits. Regular dialogue with diplomats, civil society, and UN colleagues from different departments, as well as drafting analytical products, are integral to my responsibilities. Additionally, I deliver conflict maps and visualizations to enrich political narratives and aid mediation efforts.

How did you prepare for this job?

Embarking on targeted classes and internships was essential to get to know the multilateral system, and asking for advice and networking became a sort of a curricular activity, to learn and explore. Skills in data and geospatial analysis, and cartography, definitively added an edge, allowing me to complement political narratives with maps, visualization and conflict trends. Also, business skills learnt in consulting and marketing roles were invaluable, as the multilateral workforce is increasingly valuing the dynamism and versatility of private sector professionals. 

While writing skills remain pivotal, technology is radically altering the means of political drafting. Aim to acquire skills that ensure relevance a decade from now, as Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing our field, levelling the playing field between native and non-native English writers, forcing the integration of data and multiple voices into political and diplomatic discussions, and carving space for true critical thinking.

What is the most fascinating part of your job?

Having the opportunity to collaborate and learn from diplomats and colleagues, each steeped in diverse cultures, with truly unique life stories and distinct leadership and communication styles, is profoundly enriching. Also, walking the corridors once traversed by giants of multilateralism like Dag Hammarskjöld continually fuels my enthusiasm, reminding and inspiring me of the foundational principles and ideals that shaped the United Nations and the multilateral system. 

How did your PSIA experience contribute to the position you hold today?

PSIA was a treasure trove of opportunities, starting with the chance to interact with word-class professors and practitioners who were not just experts but were also genuinely interested in helping us navigate our paths. Being a student at both Sciences Po and Columbia not only opened my mind but also opened doors, leading me to my initial experiences in the UN through internships and consulting roles at UN-OHRLLS, UNOCC and the DPPA. Those days were filled with unparalleled learning, and I hold profound gratitude for all my supervisors and colleagues who welcomed a young, eager UN enthusiast fresh from grad school, providing me with opportunities to grow and learn that were nothing short of incredible. Sciences Po gives you confidence in your intellectual abilities and the keys to access a community of accomplished professionals who genuinely care about your success. 

What advice would you give to current students?

Never lose sight of that dream that drew you to your professional vocation in the first place. Without it, you wouldn't have set out for this marvelous journey. Your career will likely be akin to running a marathon. Aim high, practice integrity, set elevated moral standards, and learn something new from everyone you meet. And as a mentor once shared with me, “We are but humble servants in the vineyards of multilateralism.”