“The UN is so big and the work is so varied, that you should just study what interests you. Work on your language and writing skills. There are never enough good writers and if you can draft content in several languages, you’ll always be in demand.”
“Can you imagine if there was no place where the more and the less powerful nations can sit down and talk? It would be a chaos. Maybe world war III. Justice, freedom, and equality are long-term struggles, the struggles of the entire human history. And today, we are still a part of this history. It is clear that we have not attained the ultimate goal, and often we cannot provide a simple answer or a quick path to it, but we are trying hard to push things into that direction, and this process itself is also very hard.”
“There are so many people involved at the UN, everybody or at least a major portion has to agree on something, then what happens often is that we talk about issues and we know where the problems are, but not able to settle down to implement a solution.”
“Before coming to headquarters in New York, I worked on IT for a private bank in Switzerland. I have a specialized master degree in finance. But, since childhood, I have had a passion for geopolitics. I have always been interested in international affairs. I applied to a vacancy and passed the written exam, but it took me another year and a half to receive the offer. I was convinced that email must be a scam the moment I received it, as I had waited so long that I couldn’t believe it anymore.
I feel that people often tend to close themselves once they settle in their area. All they know then is what they deal with systematically every day, they may be good at it, but that’s it, it stops there, without reflection on the impact or the meaning of their doings and being, without realizing that there’s a bigger world out there that is not just composed by endless numbers at their desks, but people interlinked; a world that we shall all consciously be a part of, and a positive part of it.”
Young UN New York is the first hub where the initiative grew up before it expanded to other UN locations all over the world. It started in Spring 2016 when a group of young professionals expressed its will to organise brainstorming sessions and turn the dream of improving the UN from the inside into action.
The group has increased to reach hundreds of members from all entities represented in New York. It has met with many Senior Leaders among them, the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, and the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanyake.
The initiative is regularly invited to the Career Development Roundtable conference (2016 in Helsinki and 2017 in Dublin) to share the latest achievements and new ways of collaborating. Young UN New York invites colleagues from the UN family in New York to join the network. If you would like to join as a member or have questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In January 2018 the UN Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, hosted a global and virtual joint workshop with Young UN. The workshop served to discuss key findings of Young UN’s Global Ideas Survey and to come up with proposals for making the UN system an employer of choice for young talent in terms of recruitment, career development and retention. As a result, five key priorities for HR reform were identified:
- More career development support;
- Cross-UN talent-management approach;
- Longer and more secure contracts;
- Better middle management;
- Better collaboration within the UN system.
Since then, several proposals were submitted by the Young UN network to address these key priorities. A common thread throughout all of them was a need for more system-wide interagency collaboration, coherence and information sharing in order to better meet the SDGs and the complex needs of the 21st century.