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Graduate Fellows Program

Thank you for your interest in this opportunity; the application for the Spring 2020 UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program is now closed.

Application Process

GFP 2019-2020 application and process

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Graduate students including international students in good standing from any of the universities in the area of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA)[1] enrolled in graduate programs during the Spring 2020 semester are welcome to apply to this exciting program; graduate students from other areas temporarily in Metropolitan Washington 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 of concern to the Program are particularly encouraged to apply.

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


With the help of over 5,000 members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington area,  UNA-NCA works to build public knowledge, strengthen US-UN relations, and aid the UN in achieving its goals. Within this larger framework, the mission of the Graduate Fellows program is to help Fellows to develop understanding of UN issues, policies and organizations and assist them to prepare for UN-related careers.

The Graduate Fellows Program offers participants an opportunity to build knowledge and skills through seminars with experienced foreign affairs professionals on current global issues in relation to the United Nations, combined with mentoring and career strategy support drawing upon the extensive UNA-NCA network. 

Since it was initiated 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. UNA-NCA’s access to the United Nations system of agencies and a diverse range of professional relationships has helped make the program successful.

Components of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program

·       A seminar program focusing on current key global issues as they are faced in United Nations agencies. These seminars will be hosted in the DC area every Friday afternoon during the spring semester of 2020.  Thematic areas and concerns to be addressed, as these issues arise in the UN system, will include: (a) Economic Development and Economic Policy; (b) UN Budget and Finance, (c) Gender; (d) Human Rights, Education, and Social Development; (e) Energy, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change; (f) Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Peacekeeping; and (g) Refugees and Migration.  The UN’s Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be addressed, but it will not be possible to reach each of the 17 goals. 

·       A visit to the United Nations in New York City. Fellows will be expected to participate in the annual UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit at the United Nations in New York City– a highlight of the Program[WU1] .  The Summit brings together nearly 2,000 people from around the country to learn from key UN officials and network with peers. A special session is planned for the Fellows in the UN Secretariat on a key UN issue. Fellows will not be charged a fee to participate in the Summit. UNA-NCA is unable to provide transportation or lodging, but inexpensive day-of-the-event travel by bus is feasible.

·       Intensive career strategy supportof the Fellows as they explore UN-related careers. The career support will include sessions on career strategy, preparation and review of resumes, and mentoring arranged by UNA-NCA with mentors engaged in the thematic areas of the Program. UNA-NCA plans to match Fellows to professionals who share some of the Fellow’s interests. Mentoring can take various forms depending on the nature of the Fellow’s personal and career objectives. At a minimum it will include career strategy and resume review and discussion but could extend to contacts that might lead to potential internships and coaching around a relevant piece of writing that might be targeted for a professional journal.

·       Discounted participation in the January 2020 Career Fair of the Society for International Development (SID) – a nationally recognized event for recruitment of both entry-level and mid-level personnel in international development

·       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 2020 semester to earn a certificate of completion.

  • Option: Fellows may also follow an optional online course on the history of ideas that led to the creation of the United Nations. 
·   Option: Fellows may wish to participate in the Program for academic creditwith their home university. While details will need to be worked out by individual Fellows with their academic advisor and university, UNA-NCA will assist in such arrangements, if requested, with supervision and support for preparation of a term paper by Fellows participating for academic credit.


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. 


UNA-NCA Fellows are required to attend the series of seminars and to participate proactively in the career strategy activities. They will also be expected to serve as ‘Ambassadors’ for the Graduate Fellows Program and the United Nations Association at their universities. The seminars will address challenges and opportunities facing the UN system and will cover many topics of contemporary importance. Prominent experts and officials will be included as guest speakers. Past seminars have featured notable experts such as: Ambassador William Wood, U.S. Envoy for International Sanctions Implementation at the Department of State; Dawn Calabia, Senior Advisor to Refugees International and UNA-NCA member; Karen Mulhausr, President of Mulhauser and Associates; Patricia Beneke, Served as the North America Regional Director and Representative for the United Nations Environment Programme; Vivian Derryck, Founder and President, Emerita of The Bridges Institute; Kimberly Weichel, social entrepreneur, catalyst, and nonprofit leader ; Chris Whatley, Former Executive Director of UNA-NCA and current Executive Director of The HALO Trust USA.

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 the application and, for candidate Fellows under final consideration, a personal interview with a member of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Team. Instructions for scheduling the interview will be available when candidate Fellows are contacted.

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