From USN to the UN

Cherine Randi Sellami. Photo
DUAL INTERNSHIP HOLDER IN THE UN: Student Cherine Randi Sellami in the United Nations (UN) Geneva Head Quarters (HQ), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Cherine Randi Sellami went from theory to practice merging Human Rights, Multiculturalism, Investigation and International Law in her Master's Odyssey at USN.

As Cherine Randi Sellami embarked on her Master's in Human Rights and Multiculturalism at the University of South Eastern Norway, she was presented with a rare and enriching opportunity: to integrate one UN internship with placements in two units into her academic curriculum as part of her 3rd semester.

The master program includes a course that opens up for internships, called The practise of human rights and multiculturalism (

She went for it, and is now a dual internship holder in the United Nations (UN) Geneva Head Quarters (HQ), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“This journey at USN has been one of growth, challenge, and unparalleled opportunities, enriching my understanding and skill set, and preparing me to be a leader and a changemaker in the dynamic field of human rights,” Sellami says.

Her journey began at the United Nations, driven by her background in International Law, Diplomacy and Human Rights. This path was initially paved by USN Human Rights students' triumph in the Padova Model UPR in Italy, where she and her fellow student Malak Ben Achour together emerged as the best NGO representatives, a recognition that marked the beginning of a series of remarkable achievements.

Juggling demanding roles

At the UN, Sellami juggled two demanding roles as a legal intern in the Universal Periodic Review Branch (UPR) and Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (IICIS/Syrian Comission).

“This experience was both challenging and immensely rewarding, offering me a comprehensive insight into diverse facets of the organization. The UPR internship allowed me to delve deeply into the nuances of periodic reviews, draft diplomatic communications and comprehensive thematic reports, be the focal point of infographics among other things, while my time with the Syrian Commission as an investigation intern provided a hands-on experience in a critical, high-stakes environment, open source investigation, analysis, translations, among other things,” Sellami says.

However, her engagement extended beyond these roles. She was honored to participate as the only speaker and panelist from the UPR in the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) Youth Development Program.

“This platform enabled me to voice my perspectives and contribute to meaningful discussions on global issues. Additionally, I had the privilege of contributing to the UN Media Team and in the MENA Regional Office, where I applied my linguistic skills in French, English, and Standard Arabic. My involvement with Special Procedures further diversified my experience, enriching my understanding of international mechanisms in human rights protection,” Sellami says.

A highlight

A highlight of her internship was the chance to interact directly with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussing critical issues related to the future of human rights and the inclusion of underprivileged populations.

“This interaction allowed me to contribute perspectives on addressing challenges faced by marginalized groups and influencing high-level thinking on these pivotal issues,” Sellami says.

These remarkable opportunities have not only showcased Sellami’s commitment to academic excellence, particularly through courses like 'International Human Rights Protection' at USN, but they've also highlighted the value of her prior professional experiences.

This rich mosaic of academic rigor, hands-on application, and a spectrum of internships has laid an unshakable foundation for her aspirations in human rights and international diplomacy. It underscores the synergy between theoretical knowledge and practical expertise in carving out meaningful careers on the global stage.

“I am profoundly grateful for my decision to pursue the Master's in Human Rights and Multiculturalism at USN as my second Master's degree, “ Sellami says.

Heart and soul

USN stands out not just for its academic offerings but also for its vibrant, multicultural student community, which plays a pivotal role in enabling students like me to realize our ambitions. During her 7-month internship, she was also actively involved in Student Advocacy through the network Scholars at Risk (SAR USN) (, contributing as a Legal Advisor and Diplomacy Officer.

This involvement reached a peak during the Student Advocacy Days in Trento, Italy, where she together with her fellow students, proudly represented USN. 

“The student community at USN is not just active but influential, and I am honuored to have been elected by my peers in Drammen as the Campus Leader. This role has not only allowed me to further amplify the student voice and contribute significantly to our vibrant academic community, but also proven to me first hand that at USN, students are not just participants in the academic process; they are its heart and soul, valued and prioritized in every aspect,” Sellami says.