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 blended programme consisting of a 4-weeks e-Learning course followed by 5-day field visit to Geneva, offering participants a full immersion into the United Nations' 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 effectively and efficiently 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 access to UN institutions and personal in order to gain valuable insights into future career opportunities.
The United Nations Immersion Programme - August Edition Premium Package consists of two parts: (i) a 4-week preparatory e-Learning course, followed by (ii) a 5-day field visit to Geneva.
i) e-Learning course (20 July - 16 August 2020)
The e-learning course will be implemented on UNITAR's e-Learning platform. It comprises 6 different modules, can be studied in a self-paced manner and requires 6-8 hours of studying per week. The course includes weekly reading material, multimedia files as well as discussion boards exchanging views with fellow participants and UNITAR instructors.
- Module 1: The United Nations
- Module 2: Conference Diplomacy
- Module 3: Negotiation Skills
- Module 4: Cross-cultural communication
- Module 5: Sustainable Development
- Module 6: The Art of Speechwriting
ii) Field Visit to Geneva (17 August - 21 August 2020)
Hosting 35 international organizations and more than 250 NGOs, the city of Geneva offers itself for a whole series of potentially formative experiences. UNITAR hosts most of the activity in the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 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 programmes have included lectures from the following organizations:
- United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
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:
- Negotiation Skills
- Public Speaking Skills
- Workshop on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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 Museum of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- The Maison de la Paix, housing the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
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 session on internships and other entry positions in the UN system
- Training workshop on application to a UN job opening and interview skills in the UN context
- Review of application material, including CV, motivation letter, personal history form, Inspira profile, LinkedIn profile
UNITAR also provides several opportunities to engage in educational and interactive outdoor activities. Previous field visits to Geneva have included the following components:
- Discovery tour of UN agency buildings through the diplomatic district of Geneva
- 3-hour Dinner Cruise on Lake Geneva
- Guided tour through Geneva´s old city
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 peace and security, human rights and humanitarian affairs, global health and well-being, trade and technology as well as environment and sustainable development.
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 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 related to 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 quality standards, registration will be closed after 20 participants. Allocation of slots will be on a first-come, first-served basis. At the end of the Immersion Programme, each participant will be awarded a UNITAR certificate of completion.
-------------------------------------------------- IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON COVID-19 --------------------------------------------------------------
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, UNITAR will assure the programme will be entirely conform to up-to-date health safety standards, including social distancing, hygiene measures and contact tracing. The programme's agenda may be subject to modifications in line with the most recent developments in this regard. For the most recent information by Swiss authorities on travel, kindly check the following link.
Participants are responsible for complying with Swiss immigration and travel policies to enter the country. In addition, participants must have a health insurance plan that is valid in Switzerland and comply with Swiss health rules and recommendations during their stay in the country. Participants will also be responsible for their visa, accommodation, transportation and meals. UNITAR will only be responsible for the design and implementation of the activity.
In case that due to any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, participants registered for the field visit to Geneva are unable to travel to Switzerland this summer, it is possible for them to attend the United Nations Online Immersion Programme free of charge. In addition, their slot for the field visit to Geneva will be automatically transferred to the next edition in winter 2021, with no additional costs charged. For more information, kindly contact the UNITAR event focal point.
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.
For premium package participants, the accommodation in Geneva is included in the fee. UNITAR will provide 6 nights in a reputable mid-range hotel in close proximity to the United Nations institutions (check-in Sunday, 16 August 2020, checkout Saturday, 22 August 2020).
UNITAR will further sponsor a welcome dinner to participants, a welcome package including relevant training materials, 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.