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Niels Peters Williams

Niels Peters Williams has always been fascinated by the relationship between governance and society, and, after graduating in International Relations in 2019, has spent time in both Kenya and Sri Lanka working on various United Nations programmes.


Niels Peters Williams


International Relations

Year of graduation 2019
Niels Peters Williams

At the moment  

Currently, I am working as a United Nations Volunteer in Colombo, Sri Lanka for the Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). As a Programme Support Officer, I assist the Head of GMCP in the development, implementation and evaluation of the programme’s activities.

Your time at the University

My fondest memory remains the life-long friends with whom I was able to explore Edinburgh’s hidden gems, spend long afternoons on the Meadows, celebrate St Patrick’s Day, climb Arthur's Seat, and share countless walks around George Square.

I was born and raised in Ecuador. Although attending Edinburgh was not in my initial plan, it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. Looking back at what I have achieved since graduating, Edinburgh has certainly determined my career path and created unique opportunities for me to grow professionally and personally.

My fascination with the complex dynamics between society and politics propelled me to pursue a degree in International Relations. Edinburgh embodied a practical base, a support structure geared at facilitating open study, and a mentality that stimulates innovation, leadership and action. And Scotland’s capital is an unbeatable city. From royal castles and ancient volcanoes to quirky pubs and the sound of bagpipes in the morning, Edinburgh has something for everybody.

During my time there, I took part in several extracurricular activities including the Latin American Society, the Model United Nations Society (MUN) and the Squash Club. Through the MUN society, I managed to attend several international conferences in places like Rome, Cambridge and Cork. In my third year, I studied abroad at Sciences Po (the Paris Institute of Political Studies) - a great opportunity for me to put into practice the French language skills I had acquired during my first two years at university.

My fondest memory remains the life-long friends with whom I was able to explore Edinburgh’s hidden gems, spend long afternoons on the Meadows, celebrate St Patrick’s Day, climb Arthur's Seat, and share countless walks around George Square.

Your experiences since leaving the University

Soon after graduating, I moved to Nairobi to complete an internship with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Before I joined UNEP, a new law banning the use of plastic bags was introduced in Kenya in 2017, marking an environmental achievement for the organisation’s advocacy work against plastic pollution. As an intern, I continued supporting these efforts by contributing to the development of outreach materials on issues related to marine litter, biodiversity loss and climate change. Living in Kenya gave me unique exposure to some of the greatest varieties and concentrations of nature and wildlife as well as the chance to travel to other countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

During my last months in Kenya, I met someone who was working for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP). I was immediately captivated by the nature of her work and got inspired to apply for a job in the same organisation. Shortly after finishing my internship, I was heading to Sri Lanka to join the headquarters team of the GMCP. GMCP is the UN’s flagship programme that works to improve criminal justice systems to effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute maritime crimes. Working for such a dynamic programme and living in the island nation of Sri Lanka has been a fascinating experience. My journey taught me: “it is the smallest decisions that lead to the greatest places”.

Life during Covid-19

While starting my job in a pandemic world created countless challenges, changes in working habits have made me reassess my perception of a healthy work/life balance. As our notoriously fast-paced lifestyle and demanding routines came to an abrupt halt, we began to re-examine how we spend our time, and reevaluate priorities, purpose and life plans. Whether it’s pursuing a new career, learning a new language, moving to the countryside or focusing on family and friends, now is the time to make that move.

Alumni wisdom

Grab every opportunity you can but make sure to do all the other things - the ambitious things: travel, take risks, get famous, innovate, lead, make new and fantastic mistakes. In the end, the best experiences are those yet to come.

Related links

School of Social and Political Science