Outline of the organisation
The Australian Permanent Mission to the UN is made up of staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, AusAID, the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Federal Police. The Mission has four posts in Geneva, New York, Nairobi and Vienna.
The Mission represents Australia at UN conferences and meetings, including sessions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It also participates in the ongoing work of other UN bodies, such as the Economic and Social Council, and follows the activities of the UN's funds, programs and specialised agencies.
(1) United Nations General Assembly Internship Program, New York
During the annual United Nations General Assembly (September – December) the opportunity exists for six to seven Australian citizens to undertake voluntary internships at the Australian Mission to the United Nations. While interns receive assistance with visa arrangements and a monthly stipend of $1400 USD to assist with living expenses in New York City, interns are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and insurance arrangements. The Mission seeks people with the skills, education, knowledge and abilities to contribute to advancing Australia's national interests in the UN.
Under the guidance of experienced officers, interns are involved in supporting and advancing Australia’s interests at the international level in a wide range of areas. Interns will need to develop a sound understanding of government policy, particularly as it relates to the area of work to which interns are assigned. Interns may be required to represent the Australian Government in a formal capacity – for example, by assisting with negotiations of texts and resolutions and attending committees and meetings.
The internship program runs from early September through to mid-December. Applications usually open beginning April and close end April or beginning May of the year of the internship.
The minimum criteria for consideration are that you should:
- be an Australian citizen, or have been granted Australian citizenship by the end of April of your application year;
- possess relevant qualifications and background with preference being given to those who have completed, or are completing, tertiary studies in areas such as political science, international relations, international law, human rights, gender studies, environment and international development;
- have prior exposure to, or demonstrated knowledge of, the United Nations system and Australian policies and priorities within then UN (highly desirable although not essential);
- have clear communication and strong interpersonal skills;
- have problem solving and analytical skills;
- have proven ability to handle high pressure environments;
- be willing to undergo a mandatory police check; and
- be available to re-locate to New York for the complete duration of the program.
To apply to the General Assembly Internship Program, you usually will need to send a one-page covering letter indicating policy areas of interest, a CV of no more than two pages, names and contact details of two referees and complete a questionnaire (available from the Mission’s website). Please check the website for details of the Mission’s yearly program.
Ad hoc internships are advertised if and when they arise on the Mission’s website.
(2) United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva
Each year, three opportunities arise for Australians to undertake self-funded internships at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva during the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (and sometimes a session of the Universal Periodic Review). The Mission seeks people with the skills, education, knowledge and abilities to contribute to advancing Australia's national interests in the UN.
The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva is responsible for representing Australia’s interests in the UN system. The work is rigorous and diverse, requiring flexibility, clear thinking, good communication skills and a fundamental understanding of diplomatic principles. The environment is complex and demanding, but the work is highly rewarding. Under the guidance of experienced officers, interns are involved in supporting and advancing Australia’s interests at the international level in a wide range of areas. Interns will develop a sound understanding of government policy, particularly as it relates to the area of work to which they are assigned.
The internship programs take place three times a year: February-March, May-June/July and September-October/November. The training provided to interns at the Mission is very much “on-the-job”. Interns will learn first-hand how the foreign service functions and gain a useful understanding of diplomatic protocol.
The organisation is particularly interested in candidates with academic qualifications in disciplines relating specifically to human rights and legal issues.
The candidates should be:
- talented, highly motivated and committed to the goals of the Mission;
- good communicators with excellent oral and written communication skills;
- self motivated and innovative
- strategic thinkers and practical problem-solvers;
- team players with good organisational skills;
- very flexible, adaptable and resourceful;
- sensitive to, and appreciative of diversity; and
- ability to work under pressure with limited guidance.
A second language is desirable but not essential. Many interns come into the Mission while continuing their university studies.
Applications for the Internship Program should include a CV, the completed internship questionnaire (see website), a written reference and a letter of support from your university (if you are a student).