Read this year's Graduate Fellows Annual Report here!

With the help of over 2,000 members, volunteers, and supporters in the greater Washington D.C. area, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) works to build public knowledge, strengthen U.S.-UN relations, and aid the UN in achieving its goals. Within this larger framework, the mission of the Graduate Fellows Program (GFP) is to help Fellows develop an understanding of UN issues, policies, and organizations while assisting them in preparing for UN-related careers. Since its founding in 1991 by UNA-NCA, the Graduate Fellows Program has brought together the resources of UNA-NCA with over 500 students and 40 international public and non-governmental organizations.

The Graduate Fellows Program offers all graduate students studying at a university within the DC-Maryland-Northern Virginia (DMV) region the opportunity to participate; learning to view the world through a “UN lens” alongside like-minded peers, experienced faculty, and foreign affairs professionals. Please note that graduate students who are temporarily residing in the DMV region but attending a school outside of this region may also apply if granted preliminary approval by the Director. Part-time students, and student interns in the DC area who are employed in fields relevant to the Program are also welcome to apply.

Program seminars will focus on contemporary global issues related to the United Nations and will be supplemented by both mentoring opportunities as well as professional development support that draws upon UNA-NCA's extensive professional network. UNA-NCA’s access to the United Nations system of agencies, in addition to its diverse range of professional relationships, is a cornerstone of the GFP’s success.


UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows must be enrolled graduate students in the Washington Metropolitan Area studying international affairs, trade, development, or a discipline related to the United Nations. Commitment of four hours per week is expected from each Fellow – 2 hours for the seminar and 2 hours for seminar preparation and career strategy and mentoring. Part-time students and interns, including young professionals in part-time employment in a related area, are especially encouraged to apply. Students not from the Washington Metropolitan Area may apply with approval of the Graduate Fellows Program Director.  In order to be considered, applicants must be current, active members in UNA-NCA.

American citizenship is not a requirement and we encourage international students to apply!

The application has five parts:
  • The online application
  • A one page statement of interest for graduate fellowship program
  • A copy of the applicant's unofficial graduate transcript*
  • A letter of recommendation
  • An updated resume
* If you are currently in your first year of graduate school, so do not yet have a transcript, please provide a copy of your unofficial undergraduate transcript along with a current letter of enrollment for your graduate program.

All supporting materials must be submitted in PDF format.

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Components of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows Program

Weekly Seminar

A weekly seminar held in-person each Friday during the spring semester during which Fellows examine pressing global issues utilizing a ‘UN lens’ alongside prominent guest speakers from across the UN system.

Thematic areas include:
  • Economic Development and Economic Policy
  • UN Budget and Finance
  • Gender
  • Human Rights, Education, and Social Development
  • Energy, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change
  • Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Peacekeeping
  • Refugees and Migration

The UN’s Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Fellows will be required to complete a series of readings/listenings/viewings prior to each seminar. We recognize that Fellows are likely to have a full course load in addition to a full-time or part-time professional commitment. With that in mind, GFP faculty pay close attention to the amount of time that weekly assignments require.

Professional Development

Career support for Fellows will include sessions on career strategy, preparation and review of resumes, and mentor-matching arranged by UNA-NCA with seasoned professionals operating in fields relevant to Fellows’ interests.

Other opportunities will include:

Membership in the UNA-NCA Young Professionals Program, which includes invitations to networking events. Fellows must attend at least one UNA-NCA sponsored event during the Spring 2024 semester to earn a certificate of completion.

Fellows may wish to participate in the Program for academic credit with their home university. UNA-NCA will gladly assist Fellows with such arrangements, including, if acceptable to the given university, offering Fellows the option of completing a term paper in order to receive academic credit.

Certificate of Accomplishment

Those who complete the program will be awarded a certificate by the UNA-NCA.

Selection Process/Timetable

The UNA-NCA Fellows selection will be based upon a Fellow's application (including current, active membership in UNA-NCA) and an interview with a member of the UNA-NCA Graduate Fellows faculty.

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