Summer Student Internship at the United Nations
Applications are being accepted for the 2018 program! Apply Here >>
Since 2005, the Temple of Understanding has implemented its commitment to education of youth by hosting a Summer Student Internship Program at the United Nations. This is an educational program in which high school and college students from different parts of the USA, as well as many countries, spend four and a half intensive weeks learning about the United Nations and what it is like to be an intern for a non-governmental organization (NGO).
The minimum age for the program is now 18. Up until this year, applicants had to be at least 16 years old to receive a UN Grounds Pass, but the UN has now mandated that one must be at least 18 years old to obtain a UN Grounds Pass. Unfortunately, this means that we can no longer accept students under 18 years old into the program.
The student interns attend open meetings of the Security Council, the General Assembly, and 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.
Student interns also choose a topic for research that they are passionate about and that connects with the work of the Temple of Understanding. They present what they learn through an oral presentation and written paper at the end of the program. Throughout the program, student 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, serving food at soup kitchens, and teaching other youth about the UN.
This internship is a commitment, and each day should be taken very seriously. Student interns are expected to be self-motivated, responsible, and dedicated in addition to being interested in the work of the UN as part of a future career. They are expected to be professional and respectful, to be on time each day, to be actively involved, to turn in assignments on time, and to put forth their best effort.
For more information about the program, including the daily schedule, pictures, and assignments, please see our Tumblr Site, Instagram Page, and a video created by a 2016 student intern. You can also explore the Temple of Understanding’s website and social media to learn more about our organization and to see former interns’ projects and papers.
- Application Form
- TOU UN Internship on Tumblr
- TOU UN Internship on Instagram
- 2016 Internship Program Video
- Past Intern Research Projects
- TOU on Facebook
- TOU on Twitter
- Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization (ICEC), a partner organization of TOU
Highlights from Our 2016 Student Intern Research Projects
What Interns 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
“In 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 confidently say 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
“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