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United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) Graduate Fellows Program

24 Mar Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments

Each spring, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) offers graduate students in the Consortium of Universities in the Washington Metropolitan Area (including George Mason University!) the opportunity to explore the role of the United Nations within the context of modern global affairs and other international organizations through it’s UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program.

The UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows program is unique in that it provides not cash in hand, but rather access to a fully funded program of professional development experiences and resources in the community of international organizations. This makes the UNA-NCA a very valuable award in terms of its potential impact on a student’s career.

The application for the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program opens each year in the fall. Enrolled graduate students in international affairs, development, trade, finance, and related disciplines fields at any Washington D.C. metro area university are eligible to apply. There are no citizenship restrictions, and graduate students at any stage – Master’s, doctoral, or professional – may apply. Successful applicants win the chance to participate in the program during the subsequent spring semester:

So what do UN-NCA Fellows get? Here are the components of the program:

  • Participation in a 10-session seminar program focusing on pertinent current issues facing the United Nations system. Fellows must commit to attending the full seminar program, which includes prominent experts and officials as guest speakers. Fellows also agree to author and publish at least one extended blog post relevant to a topic discussed in the seminar series.
  • Membership in the UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program, which includes invitations to networking events. UN-NCA Graduate Fellows must attend at least one UNA-NCA sponsored event during the spring semester.
  • Free membership in UNA-NCA for Fellows under age 25 (carries the obligation to attend one additional networking event.)
  • The opportunity to be mentored by a senior international Washington DC-based professional in the field of international organizations. The program will try to match Fellows to senior professionals who share their interests. Mentoring can take various forms depending on the Fellow’s personal and career objectives. At a minimum it will include a resume review, but could extend to leads that might lead to potential internships and coaching around a relevant piece of writing that might be included in a professional journal.
  • Certificate of Accomplishment awarded to Fellows who successfully complete all component of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows program.

In sum, through the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program, Fellows will become more informed about present-day issues facing the United Nations system and the wider community of international organizations, while also gaining opportunities for mentorship and networking in this professional community.

A number of Mason graduate students have participated in the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program in recent years. One of these is Ms. Reena Desai, an MPA student in Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, who is a Spring 2016 UNA-NCA Graduate Fellow. In February, 2016, Ms. Desai had the opportunity to attend UNA-USA’s Members Day at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where she heard Ms. Sana Mustafa speak about her experience as a refugee of the ongoing conflict in Syria. Ms. Desai was so moved by Ms. Mustafa’s lecture that she authored a response piece, which was recently published on the UNA-USA’s web site. You can read her article here.

Reena commented on her experience as a UNA-NCA Graduate Fellow, saying, “Being a UNA-NCA Graduate Fellow allowed me to gain the intellectual tools necessary to thrive in today’s rapidly globalizing environment. The UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program has given me valuable insight into United Nations system-related issues through seminars, mentorship, and the opportunity to connect with a network of professionals with a common mission of strengthening the US-UN relationship.”

Learn more about the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program and how to apply here: http://www.unanca.org/what-we-do/programs/graduate-fellowship-program The application for Spring 2017 will become available in Fall 2016.

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