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Kathleen Keene '99

On a Mission for Peace

By Donna Parker

As Operations Officer in the Department of Peacekeeping Operation for the United Nations in New York City, Kathleen Keene, who received a double bachelor’s degree in English and communication from Trinity in 1999, monitors more than 21 peacekeeping and political missions around the world, some in the worst war-torn countries. 

“We monitor the status of these missions 24/7,” states Kathleen. “And, as an example, if a coup d’Etat on a president or head of state occurred, we would be the first to encapsulate the information received into a report and furnish it to the first-line responders, such as the Secretary General of the UN”

Kathleen, who’s worked at the UN for four years, has held her current position for a year and a half.  It’s a far cry from her initial jobs in the dot.com world shortly after college graduation.

“Just out of Trinity, I sort of fell into the dot.com world.  It was a fine foray for a few years, but not ultimately what I wanted to do, so I went to grad school in Sweden, where I studied international relations and cultural anthropology.”

“My first job in the Dominican Republic was with a research agency.  It was an amazing experience, primarily because it showed me that I’d finally found my work’s passion.  I actually had an ‘Aha’ moment when I found myself working in the field, close to the people who needed help.  I felt I was making a difference in the world and knew at that point that I had found my calling.”

It was during that time that Kathleen “volunteered” her way into the UN and that turned into a hired position.

For fun, it doesn’t hurt that she lives right in New York City by the East River, where there is “always something to do culturally.” 

“I love relaxing in Central Park, museum-hopping and checking out new restaurants.  My boyfriend and I love to travel.  In fact, we just returned from a holiday in Wales, his home.”

She says her friends would describe her as someone interested in the world and one who loves to have fun going to Indie films and listening to great jazz in NYC clubs.

“Trinity remains a big part of my life.  I’ve remained in touch with Dr. William Christ, department of communication, all of these years.  He was and continues to be a great support for me.  He’s always supportive of my endeavors and I find it amazing that he still remembers me after all the students who have come through,” says Kathleen.

She also names Professor Norman Sherry, department of English, as a strong influence. 

“He was inspirational due to his international experiences and world travels which he shared with his students.”

“Trinity’s strong sense of community was significant for me and was a great investment in my education.”

You may e-mail Kathleen at kathleenkeene@gmail.com.