The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was established in 1963 as an autonomous body within the United Nations with the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the UN and its member states.
UNITAR designs and conducts close to 500 different training and knowledge sharing events per year for some 50,000 beneficiaries worldwide. Participants include diplomats, other government officials, non-governmental representatives, and other stakeholders.
At the heart of UNITAR, the Multilateral Diplomacy Programme Unit (MDPU) delivers training workshops to address the needs of these international actors. MDPU’s activities cover a wide range of domains, including training on the UN system and skills development.
As part of the training activities implemented during the summer months, UNITAR designed a 5-day field visit to Geneva, offering participants a full immersion into the United Nation's multilateral working environment.
In line with UNITAR’s mandate, its main purpose is to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills in the area of international affairs and diplomacy. This will empower them to work more efficiently and effectively in any multilateral setting.
UNITAR further intends to strengthen the participants’ conviction of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, especially multilateralism. It lastly aspires to give its participants the opportunity to gain valuable insights into possible future career steps.
Hosting 35 international organizations and more than 250 NGOs, the city Geneva offers itself for a whole series of potentially formative experiences. UNITAR hosts the activity in the historic Palace of Nations and provides a nuanced-balance between the following different components:
UNITAR’s professional network across Geneva allows it to organize a series of 1-2-hour expert lectures, in which participants can directly learn from UN personal or other high-level officials. Previous immersion programmes have included lectures from the following organizations:
- United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva
As its core activity and raison d’être, UNITAR provides several face-to-face workshops to the participants. Delivered by experts such as retired ambassadors, previous programmes have included the following workshops:
- Leadership and Negotiation Skills
- United Nations Resolution Writing
- Diplomatic Communication Skills
With its more than 10.000 conferences a year, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) counts as one of the most active international conference centres in the world. UNITAR offers participants to attend such meetings and thereby experience multilateral negotiations first-hand:
- Human Rights Council
- United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT)
- United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Geneva is rich in historic buildings important to international affairs. Thanks to its access across the city, UNITAR can provide a series of private guided tours. Previous programmes have included tours through the following facilities:
- The United Nations’ Palace of Nations (3-hours extensive private guided tour)
- The headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- The headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Career Development Sessions:
UNITAR also provides several 1-2 hour sessions on how to advance your professional career and find a solid footing in the world of international organizations. These sessions can include the following components:
- Information sessions on internships and other entry positions in the UN system
- Review of application material, including CV, motivation letter, PHP Form, LinkedIn profile
- Counselling on envisioned entrepreneurial projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
To complement the experience within the multilateral environment, UNITAR blends the above-mentioned components with cultural activities, allowing participants to enjoy Switzerland’s beauty and its culture and traditions. Past programmes included the following activities:
- 3-hour boat cruise on Lake Geneva
- Traditional Swiss dinner including Swiss music
- Open-air cinema and free concerts at the lakeside
Given the complexity of Geneva's multilateral environment, UNITAR will cover a series of different thematic areas during the course of the Programme. These will include the United Nations, conference diplomacy, core diplomatic skills, humanitarian affairs, trade and commerce, sustainable development and other topics of interest.
The Immersion Programme is designed to be highly interactive and participatory. Activities will include a high level of direct exposure to policy practitioners and diplomatic settings, thereby allowing participants to gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of the United Nations.
All of the activities will take place in the English language. Should there be any component such as a multilateral conference or an expert lecture not be available in English, UNITAR will ensure the participants will be provided with simultaneous interpretation.
UNITAR explicitly welcomes a variety of professional backgrounds as well as differing degrees of experience among its participants. The Immersion Programme is therefore open to all actors in international affairs wishing to build up knowledge and skills related to the United Nations or International Geneva.
Participants can include public sector officials, private sector professionals and representatives from NGOs, think tanks or academia. Junior professionals and graduate students are equally welcome to apply.
In order to ensure the highest standards in quality and implementation, the registration will be closed after 30 participants. At the end of the Immersion Programme, each participant will be awarded a UNITAR certificate of participation.
UNITAR will be responsible for the overall design, coordination and implementation of the Immersion Programme. It will liaise with participants on a regular basis prior to the activity's implementation in order to ensure a smooth and flawless organization for everyone involved.
The participants are responsible to purchase their own travel tickets to and from Geneva as well as to apply for visa to Switzerland. UNITAR gladly supports this process with the help of official visa invitation letters. Participants further need to take care of their own accommodation and daily meals.
UNITAR will sponsor a welcome dinner to the programme's participants, entry tickets to sights and museums as well as the transportation cost during the activity. Please note that as of now, no scholarships are available to facilitate participation.