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.
There are an estimated 1.8 million people today between the ages of 10 and 24, which is the largest generation of youth in human history. Their numbers are expected to grow—between 2015 and 2030 alone, about 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 years old.
Connected to each other like never before, young people increasingly contribute to innovative solutions, driving social progress and inspiring political initiatives. They are agents of change, mobilizing to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the lives of people and the health of the planet.
UNITAR is therefore delighted to offer a five-days training programme in Geneva specifically designed for the global youth. It will offer participants the chance to gain first-hand experience of the United Nations and will provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to fully unfold their potential as global leaders.
Hosting 35 international organizations and more than 250 NGOs, the city Geneva offers itself for a whole series of formative experiences. UNITAR will host most of the programme in the headquarters of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the historic Palais des Nations. It will provide a unique agenda consisting of a nuanced balance between the following elements:
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 Young Leaders Programme programmes have included lectures from the following organizations:
- United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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 Skills
- Public Speaking Skills
- Innovation and Social Media 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)
UNITAR also provides several opportunities to engage in group projects together with your fellow participants. These are both centred on the knowledge and skills necessary to become a global leader and can include the following components:
- Group projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Model United Nations (MUN) simulation exercises on UN-related topics
- Information sessions on internships and volunteering in the UN system
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 peace and security, human rights and humanitarian affairs, global health and well-being, trade and technology and environment and sustainable development.
The Young Leaders Training 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.
The Young Leaders Training Programme is open to all actors related to international affairs wishing to take on leadership roles in their respective environment and to build up knowledge and skills related to the United Nations and International Geneva.
Participants can include university students, high school students and other aspiring young leaders of similar background. Junior professionals from public and private sector and senior officials who are young at heart are equally welcome to apply.
In order to ensure the highest quality standards, the registration will be closed after 30 participants. Slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. At the end of the programme, participants will receive a UNITAR certificate.
UNITAR will be responsible for the overall design, coordination and implementation of the Young Leaders Training 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.
For participants under the age of 18, it is possible to attend the programme solely after written confirmation by their parents. It is strongly suggested for parents to contact responsible UNITAR organizers in order to clarify questions of housing, oversight and degree of independence.
UNITAR will sponsor a welcome dinner to the participants, a welcome package including relevant material, 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.