UN Internships

Summer Student Internship at the United Nations

2016 TOU UN Summer Interns

Meet our 2016 Summer Student Interns! >>


*** Applications for summer 2016 are closed. Please apply in Nov. 2016! ***

Since 2005, the Temple of Understanding has implemented its commitment to education of young people by hosting a Summer Internship at the United Nations.  High School students from different parts of the USA as well as many countries, spend five intensive weeks learning about the United Nations by attending open meetings of the Security Council, the General Assembly and their various Committees.  This program launches their careers as global citizens who care about the humanitarian goals embraced by the UN. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with different Missions and NGOs for discussions based on their specific questions and interests.

In addition, interns choose a topic for research that they are passionate about, and they present what they learn through an oral presentation and written paper at the end of the program.  Throughout the program, interns also have the opportunity to learn about different religions through visits to various interfaith sites, and they participate in volunteer work, which includes park cleanups and teaching other youth about the UN.

The dates for the 2016 UN Internship Program are June 27-July 29. Our daily meetings and activities will mainly take place at 777 UN Plaza (corner of East 44th Street and First Avenue), across the street at the UN, and in the neighborhood around the UN. However, we will travel to other boroughs for volunteer work and religious site visits.  If you would like to see a daily schedule or find out more information about last year’s program, you can visit www.templeofunderstanding.tumblr.com. Application process for 2016 program begins October 7th, 2015 and ends on February 15, 2016.

Please fill in all of the information on this Application Form (or download the application here). Then, mail a hard copy to the address below, and e-mail copies to Alison Van Dyk at Alison@templeofunderstanding.org and Amy Pacula at apacula@cshnyc.org by FEBRUARY 15, 2016.

Amy Pacula
Temple of Understanding
777 UN Plaza, Office 3E
New York, NY 10017


Your Name: ____________________________________   Date of Birth: ________________________

Age: __________ (You MUST be 16 years old to receive a UN Grounds Pass. There are no exceptions.)

Your E-mail Address: _______________________________________________________________________

Your Current School: _______________________________________________________________________

Summer Address: (You are responsible for finding your own housing if you are accepted into the program.)



Names of Both Parents: _____________________________________________________________________

Your Tel No. Home: ________________________________________________________________________

Cell: ________________________________________________________________________

Tel Nos. of Both Parents: ____________________________________________________________________

How did you find out about our program? _______________________________________________________


The fee for the United Nations Summer Internship Program is $1,600.   If the fee represents a financial hardship for you, please submit a request for a scholarship with your application.

Background and Interests

Please answer all of the following questions. Your response to each question should be at least one paragraph long.

  1. What are your interests in the UN?
  2. What are your expectations of our program?
  3. Have you participated in a Model UN program at your school? Describe your experience.
  4. What is your favorite subject in school and why?
  5. What are your favorite after school activities and why?
  6. What major activity, job, or volunteer position did you hold last summer?
  7. What personal strengths and skills will you bring to the program and to your fellow interns?
  8. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?


Past UN Summer Internship Programs


2015 UN Summer Interns & Staff


Some of the presentations from the 2015 interns are presented below:

2015 Intern Mosque Visit

Site Visit: Mosque, New York City

In the summer of 2014, our interns looked at a number of timely  issues under discussion at the UN. Here are the topics they chose to present on.

Annie Abruzzo – UN Peacekeeping missions
Robert Borek – Education in conflict zones
Gea Bozzi – Human trafficking
Julia Byrne – MDG 6
Isabelle Davis – sexual violence against women in the Middle East
Priya Gada – changes in the laws of war
Noah Gelles – Children and armed conflict
Matthew Grillo – UN micro finance program
Yervand Melkonyan – Biowarfare
Teddy Neuman – Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Dylan Peer – environmental sustainability
Luke Pramberger – child mortality in third world countries
Regina Soriano – women’s rights
John Kim – Sustainable development


2013 saw 20 young people whose chosen issues fall into three categories: Human Rights Violations, the Millennium Development Goals 3,7 and 8 and Civil Unrest .  The executive summary of their topics are reproduced here. The Millennium Development Goals that students use as a guideline for their topics are:

Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Achieve Universal Primary Education
Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Reduce Child Mortality
Improve Maternal Health
Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Disease
Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Develop a Global Partnership for Development


In 2013, interns looked at a number of important and timely issues, including:

  1. Women’s Rights
  2. The Environment
  3. Trade and Natural Resources
  4. Human Rights
  5. Civil Unrest

The research topics chosen by the students are of contemporary importance each year and were on the summer agenda for the United Nations. See presentations from 2010 and 2011 below.


What Interns have to say about their experience:

“First, I would like to thank you again for all that you did to make the UN internship possible.  I have fully taken advantage of the “bragging rights” that Mr. Gelles mentioned, and practically everyone at Nightingale is now clamoring to apply next year!  I even invited Mr. Josh Black from the US Mission to be a guest speaker at Nightingale, and he was the most dynamic, engaging, and popular speaker we have ever had.  I think I am realizing even more now what an amazing and unique opportunity I had this past summer.  When I looked up the UN journal a few weeks ago, I wished I could have been there for all the important meetings about ISIS and terrorism, especially when all the presidents came from all around the world!  I know that I would not be so privileged to have had this opportunity without all your hard work with the Temple, and for that, thank you.”   ~ Annie-2014

un internshipsIn retrospect the internship at the UN was one of the most moving, intellectually stimulating, and fun activities I have ever participated in. I was so intrigued at all the speakers and meetings we saw that I feel the internship has changed my views on worldwide politics and numerous major issues including climate change and many more. Additionally, I feel it has made me more interested in careers in NGOs and foreign policy. I want to extend another thank you to you and everyone at the Temple for allowing me to experience such an amazing internship.” ~ Christopher – 2010

Thank you for allowing me to be part of something so extraordinary. I can confidentlysay that during these past weeks I learned more than I ever thought possible. Not only did I learn about the issues the world is facing, I also awoke to my deepest passions for life.” ~ Besa-2010

It was an experience that broadened my horizons and one I will surely never forget.” ~ Bobby-2010

2011 Interns at The UN

I take with me a long and rich experience….. I realize, as you no doubt do, that we hold differing ideologies and viewpoints, but I have learned that such differences bring about discussion and dialogue – whether interfaith or international or simply interesting.” ~ Brian

Through the meetings at the UN, our smaller meetings at the Temple and each other’s final presentations, I was able to gain insight and perspective that I know will be useful in my academic work, but more importantly, in becoming a responsible global citizen.” ~ Kelsey-2010

The lessons I learned and new viewpoints to which I was exposed by the Temple staff and at the UN are truly innumerable. I hope to incorporate what I have learned into my life with the intention of becoming even more of a global citizen. The program you have created for students my age is remarkable and unparalleled.” ~ Kristen-2010


Internship Presentations 2010

Internship Presentations 2011

The Developing World

How Global Poverty is Addressed by the UN

Police Brutality

Maternal Health

Child Soldiers

UN G2O Relations

UN Project Presentation


Palestine-Israel Relations

Sex Trafficking

North Korea Disarmament


UN Child Health

Birth Registration

Drug Trafficking

Health Education in African Nations

Financial Institutions Response to Global Economy

Primary Education of the Phillippines and Ethiopia