UN Internships

Summer Student Internship 2014 at the United Nations



June 23– July 31, 2014

  Welcome. This is an adventure for all of us. After considerable debate, the Temple of Understanding is pleased to offer the Summer Internship Program at the United Nations again in 2014. We are very fortunate to have as Program Director, Ian Humphreys, Chair of the History Department and Moderator of Model UN at the Convent of the Sacred Heart

The Temple of Understanding is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with Consultative Status at the United Nations.  Students who apply for this immersion program are expected to gain insight into global issues and to learn how an NGO functions at the UN. They receive a UN Grounds Pass enabling attendance at open meetings on a wide variety of topics in the Security Council, General Assembly and various Committee meetings.   After a week or ten days, you will be required to choose a focus of interest and to research your topic in preparation for a written and oral report given at the end of the internship. The strategy is to allow the students latitude of choice while we observe your ability to make serious intellectual decisions.  Exposure to the international issues before the United Nations will educate you for global awareness – a significant transformation of consciousness. The goal of the program is to develop global citizens.

Our UN Representative, Sr. Joan Kirby, has many connections at the UN having served there from 2000-2013 as Chair of the Committee of Religious NGOs (RNGOs), on the Steering Committee for a Decade of Interreligious Dialogue at the United Nations and am a member of the Human Rights Committee. Each of these Committees hosts monthly Briefings.  The Committee of RNGOs and the Decade work closely with Member States and UN Agencies to foster Cooperation for Peace.  Environmental Sustainability is a primary focus of the Temple of Understanding and you will learn a great deal about Climate Change and the Green Economy.

Interns have access to all open UN events and we invite speakers from Member States, UN Agencies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to help you understand the important issues before the UN and to explore your particular interests.  There is a required interns meeting every Friday morning at 9:30 am at the office of the Temple of Understanding.

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 Neumen – Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Dylan Peer – environmental sustainability
Luke Pramberger – child mortality in third world countries
Regina Soriano – women’s rights
John Kim – Sustainable development

Temple of Understanding Contact Information:

Sr. Joan Kirby
Alison Van Dyk
777 UN Plaza, office 3E
New York, NY, 10017
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.templeofunderstanding.org


To read more about the internship and see some past projects please scroll down.

Since 1995 the Temple of Understanding has implemented its commitment to education of young people by hosting a Summer Internship at the United Nations.  High School and College students from New York and different parts of the USA as well as China , Spain and Mexico have spent 6 weeks  learning about the United Nations by attending open meetings of the Security Council, the General Assembly and their various Committees. They have begun a career as global citizens who care about the humanitarian goals embraced by the UN.

Each year they have chosen for research a topic they are passionate about and they present their research to their colleagues at the end of the program.   Since many are debaters many consider both sides of the issue but do not fail to make an ethical judgment.  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. Here are the summaries of their power point presentations.

  1. Women’s Rights
  2. The Environment
  3. Drugs and Crime in LA-Thomas TysonTrade and Natural Resources
  4. Human Rights
  5. Civil Unrest


These 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 the Interns said about the 2010 experience!

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

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

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

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


Internship Presentations 2010

Internship Presentations 2011

The Developing WorldHow Global Poverty is Addressed by the UNPolice BrutalityMaternal HealthChild SoldiersUN G2O Relations UN Project PresentationUN ICCPalestine-Israel RelationsSex TraffickingNorth Korea DisarmamentPeacekeeping UN Child HealthBirth RegistrationDrug TraffickingHealth Education in African NationsFinancial Institutions Response to Global EconomyPrimary Education of the Phillippines and Ethiopia