Institute for International and
Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA)

International Organizations: How to Get your Foot in the Door

UN-how-to-get-your-foot-in-the-door

There are a few different ways to get an experience from international organizations, and the United Nations as a young student.

United Nations

  • Internships
    • The first way to get into the UN is to apply for an internship with the organization. Internships are offered in all their regional offices as well as in New York and in Geneva. Do not limit yourself just to the UN Secretariat, all of the UN agencies also offer internships. The downside however, is that the UN system does not pay its interns, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get a private scholarship to fund your internship. Below are a few useful link to apply for internships at the UN:
  • UN Youth Volunteers
    • The UN Youth Volunteer programme is a UN programme for youth between the ages of 18 and 29. Through this initiative you can be assigned to work in a different country as a UN Youth Volunteer. The assignments vary from 1 year to 2 years and the qualifications vary as well, as each assignment is different. In order to apply, you need to fill out a profile on their Global Talent Pool link and wait to be selected. You will only be contacted when they need someone with your skills and qualifications, therefore it is important to keep updating ones’ profile and to be patient. Note that this programme does offer a small compensation that covers your basic needs while abroad.

 

  • UN Volunteers
    • UN Volunteers are mobilized internationally to support the UN’s peace and development programmes. In order to be eligible to apply for a UNV position, you must: be 25 years old and older (no upper age limit), hold a university degree or higher technical diploma, have at least two years of relevant work experience in a professional background and good working knowledge of at least one of UNV’s three working languages: English, French or Spanish, Similarly, to the UN Youth Volunteers, you must create a profile under the Global Talent Pool and when an assignment arises, you will be contacted if your profile matches their needs. This programme is compensated and the compensation varies on the assignments.  

 

  • Young Professional Program (YPP)
    • The YPP is an examination required for all P1 and P2 positions (entry level positions at the UN and its programmes, funds and agencies).  The YPP is administrated once a year in December. Applications usually open in June of the same year. In order to be eligible to apply for the exam you have to be a national of the country list provided by the UN. You also have to apply to a specific category, which will determine the kind of job you get if you pass the test. The categories are POLNET (Political, Peace and Humanitarian Network), MAGNET (Management, Administrative, HR, Finance) and INFONET (Languages, public information, protocol). You must hold a degree in the field of the category you are applying for in order to be eligible to take the exam.

Other organizations

  • Internships
    • There are many other organizations that do offer a stipend to their interns. You can find a list of those NGOs on the link below: 

 

Prepared for ICLA by C. Montant.

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