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08 October 2020

Graduate Fellows Program

Apply Today

*In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Fellows Program faculty and staff are preparing an all-virtual format for the 2021 semester. We will continue to adapt our approach as necessary while prioritizing the safety of our Fellows as well as the accessbility of our programming.*

Deadline to Apply by is Thursday, October 8th, 2020 at 5pm.  Any applications submitted after this time will not be considered.


With the help of over 2,000 members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington D.C. area, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) works to build public knowledge, strengthen U.S.-UN relations, and aid the UN in achieving its goals. Within this larger framework, the mission of the Graduate Fellows Program (GFP) is to help Fellows develop an understanding of UN issues, policies, and organizations while assisting them in preparing for UN-related careers. Since its founding in 1991 by UNA-NCA, the Graduate Fellows Program has brought together the resources of UNA-NCA with over 500 students and 40 international public and non-governmental organizations.

The Graduate Fellows Program offers all graduate students studying at a university within the DC-Maryland-Northern Virginia (DMV) region the opportunity to participate; learning to view the world through a “UN lens” alongside like-minded peers, experienced faculty, and foreign affairs professionals. Please note that graduate students who are temporarily residing in the DMV region but attending a school outside of this region may also apply if granted preliminary approval by the Director. Part-time students, and student interns in the DC area who are employed in fields relevant to the Program are also welcome to apply.

Program seminars will focus on contemporary global issues related to the United Nations and will be supplemented by both mentoring opportunities as well as professional development support that draws upon UNA-NCA's extensive professional network. UNA-NCA’s access to the United Nations system of agencies, in addition to its diverse range of professional relationships, is a cornerstone of the GFP’s success.


UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows must be enrolled graduate students in the Washington Metropolitan Area studying international affairs, trade, development, or a discipline related to the United Nations.  Commitment of four hours per week is expected from each Fellow – 2 hours for the seminar and 2 hours for seminar preparation and career strategy and mentoring. Part-time students and interns, including young professionals in part-time employment in a related area, are especially encouraged to apply.  Students not from the Washington Metropolitan Area may apply with approval of the Graduate Fellows Program Director.

American citizenship is not a requirement and we encourage international students to apply!

The application has five parts:

  • The online application
  • A one page statement of interest for graduate fellowship program
  • A copy of the applicant's unofficial graduate / undergraduate transcript
  • A letter of recommendation
  • An updated resume
All supporting materials must be submitted in PDF format

Components of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program

We recognize that everyone must navigate this ongoing crisis in a manner that ensures their health and well-being. Therefore, if  in-person gatherings become a safe, viable option during the course of the 2021 spring semester, we will continue to provide accommodations for those not yet willing or able to attend, in-person.

Weekly Seminar

  • A weekly seminar held each Friday during the spring semester during which Fellows examine pressing global issues utilizing a ‘UN lens’ alongside prominent guest speakers from across the UN system. Whether seminars will be hosted in-person or via webinar during the upcoming spring semester will depend upon the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Thematic areas include: 
    • Economic Development and Economic Policy
    • UN Budget and Finance
    • Gender
    • Human Rights, Education, and Social Development
    • Energy, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change
    • Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Peacekeeping
    • Refugees and Migration
    • The UN’s Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Fellows will be required to complete a series of readings/listenings/viewings prior to each seminar. We recognize that Fellows are likely to have a full course load in addition to a full-time or part-time professional commitment. With that in mind, GFP faculty pay close attention to the amount of time that weekly assignments require.

Professional Development 

  • Career support for Fellows will include sessions on career strategy, preparation and review of resumes, and mentor-matching arranged by UNA-NCA with seasoned professionals operating in fields relevant to Fellows’ interests. 
  • Other opportunities will include:
  • Free membership in the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) - A network of more than 180 chapters and divisions throughout the country comprised of people passionate about the mission of the United Nations.
  • Membership in the UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program, which includes invitations to networking events. Fellows must attend at least one UNA-NCA sponsored event during the Spring 2021 semester to earn a certificate of completion.
  • *Fellows may wish to participate in the Program for academic credit with their home university. UNA-NCA will gladly assist Fellows with such arrangements, including, if acceptable to the given university, offering Fellows the option of completing a term paper under faculty supervision in order to receive academic credit.* 

Certificate of Accomplishment 

Those who complete the program will be awarded a certificate by the UNA-NCA. 
Selection Process/Timetable

The UNA-NCA Fellows selection will be based upon a Fellow's application and an interview with a member of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows faculty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Apply Today


08 October 2020

Eleanor Roosevelt Virtual Happy Hour 2020

birthday_cake_eleanorJoin UNA-NCA's Human Rights Committee for a virtual happy hour in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt!

Register Here!

Come join UNA-NCA members, staff, and volunteers for a happy hour celebrating Eleanor Roosevelt's birthday, the International Day of the Girl, the 75th Anniversary of the UN and the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Dress up, dress down but come celebrate these signature achievements! This is a great opportunity to meet members, volunteers, and staff from UNA-NCA, as well as other DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia folks interested in hot topics in international affairs, and get involved with issues you are passionate about!

This year, our virtual happy hour will feature guest speakers, a presentation of Eleanor Roosevelt's life and acomplishments, and an online trivia contest!

 Thursday, October 8; 5:30 - 7:00 pm 

Virtual (Zoom)

Cost: Free, but registration is required

Register Here!


15 October 2020

UN75 Coffee Chat: The Future We Want


UNA-NCA is proud to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations alongside Congressman Jamie Raskin and a panel of US Ambassadors  for a special edition of our Coffee Chat discussion series. 

Join us on Thursday, October 15th from 11:30am-1:00pm EST for a dynamic exploration of how key stakeholders are bridging the gap between global and local goals. As the United Nations turns 75, what role will its institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals play in shaping our future? 

Register here


Congressman Jamie Raskin 

Congressman Jamie Raskin is the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. He was a professor of constitutional law for more than a quarter-century at American University Washington College of Law before entering Congress and has published several books, including the Washington Post Bestseller Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People, and dozens of scholarly articles and essays. 

Congressman Raskin is currently serving his second term on the Judiciary, House Oversight, and House Administration Committees. He also serves on the Rules Committee and is an elected Member of the House Democratic Leadership Team. He also serves on the new Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Prior to his time in Congress, Raskin was a three-term State Senator in Maryland, where he served as Senate Majority Whip. He earned a reputation for building coalitions in Annapolis to deliver a series of landmark legislative accomplishments, including marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty, decriminalization of marijuana, strong equal pay for equal work legislation, and several pieces of strong anti-drunk driving legislation, including the compulsory ignition interlock device for convicted drunk drivers.

Congressman Raskin is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He and his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board and the former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department under President Obama, live in Takoma Park with their dogs, Potter and Toby. They have three grown children.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Ret.)

Ambassador Don Bliss is a Past President of UNA-NCA. From 2006-2009, he served in Montreal as U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN-affiliated international organization, and U.S.  Permanent Representative on the ICAO Council. From 1977-2006, he practiced law in the D.C. office of the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Prior government service includes Acting General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation (1975-76), Executive Secretary to the U.S. Agency for International Development (1974-75); Executive Secretary to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under the Honorable Elliot L. Richardson (1969-73) and Peace Corps Volunteer lawyer (Micronesia) (1966-68), where he met his wife, Nancy, who has also served as a Director-at-Large of the UNA-NCA.

Don serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of American Ambassadors. He has also served on the Boards of The Studio Theatre, Arts for the Aging, Inc. (as president and co-chair), Cedar Lane Unitarian-Universalist Church (as chair), Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company and as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Air and Space Law Forum and President of the national Ripon Society and the Harvard Law School Association of D.C. He co-authored a book with the Honorable William T. Coleman Jr., Counsel for the Situation, Brookings Press (2010). He also has authored, The Law of Airline Customer Relations, Hale & Northam (2005) and Mark Twain’s Tale of Today, CreateSpace, (2012), a book about Mark Twain and  politics.

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson is Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and Head of CMU’s Heinz College in DC.  She previously served as the US Representative to the UN’s ECOSOC. There she led on international development, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. Prior to her appointment, she served as a Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID from 2010-2014 where she was the Agency lead on democracy, human rights, and governance. 

A long time policy entrepreneur, she has spent twenty-five years working on development and human rights as a scholar and a practitioner.  She spent over a decade as a senior adviser and the inaugural director of the Human Rights Initiative at CSIS. She also worked as a senior fellow in CSIS’s Russia and Eurasia Program overseeing focus groups, public opinion surveys, and social marketing campaigns in Russia.  Her current work centers on the Sustainable Development Goals.  At CMU, she co-chairs the University’s Sustainability Initiative. Ambassador Mendelson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the editorial board of International Security.  The author of over 70 scholarly and public policy publications, Ambassador Mendelson received her BA in history from Yale and her PhD in political science from Columbia. 

Ambassador Susan Page

Ambassador Susan Page is passionate about education, critical thinking, learning, and mentoring. She speaks as a guest lecturer at universities and organizations in the U.S. and overseas. She has lead through strategic vision and direction and excellent communication skills. She demonstrates strong financial management, is an astute manager of persons from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, and a strong relationship builder who achieves strategic results. Ambassador Page seeks consensus through team work and is a mediator of conflicts, large and small. She has deep expertise in international relations, particularly in Africa, excellent French language skills, and the political, legal and analytical acumen of a Harvard-trained lawyer– her first career.

Through her senior level roles as Assistant Secretary General/Special Adviser on Rule of Law, Global Focal Point Review Implementation, Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) to the United Nations Mission for Justice Support to Haiti (MINUJUSTH), first U.S. Ambassador to newly independent South Sudan, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to the African Union, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, key adviser to the peace process that resolved Africa’s longest-running civil war through international mediation, head of rule of law programs for the UN, and a foreign service regional legal advisor and political officer in East, Central, and Southern Africa, she has demonstrated repeatedly the ability to lead people and manage complex, broad-based programs.

24 October 2020

Fall 2020 Young Professionals' Career Series

On Saturday, October 24th, 2020, UNA-NCA invites students and young professionals to participate in its semi-annual Young Professionals' Career Series.

Saturday, October 24, 2020
12:00 - 2:00 pm


Professional speakers in each of the topics will offer career advice and guidance, and share personal stories of experience in their particular fields. Attendees are encouraged to ask specific or general questions about the field and engage in conversation in a uniquely intimate and comfortable setting.

Registration will open soon!
Please be advised that you are only allowed to register for one series.

Each series has its own length of program.

Careers in Advocacy: Running for office 

Speakers To Be Confirmed

Will be held virtually.

Registration will open soon!

Careers in International Environmental  Law

Speakers To Be Confirmed

Will be held virtually.

Registration will open soon!

Careers in the UN

Speakers To Be Confirmed

Will be held virtually.

Registration will open soon!

Global Health

Speakers To Be Confirmed

Will be held virtually.

Registration will open soon!