The internship program at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York provides the opportunity for bright young Catholic college graduates or graduate students to gain invaluable experience assisting the work of the Holy See in its multilateral work at the UN, seeking to bring the light of Catholic Social Teaching to the debates of the international community. Interns receive a special orientation on the history of the diplomatic work of the Holy See at the United Nations, attend the wide variety of UN meetings, conferences and debates, file reports to be sent to the Holy See’s central offices in the Vatican, in particular to the Secretariat of State, assist in running the Mission’s many conferences, regularly attend receptions and cultural events held by the Holy See and other Missions, and many other activities.
Internship Cycles and Numbers
While there are three internship cycles — Fall, Spring and Summer — it is possible for an intern to remain for more than one, doing a half-year or year-long internship. The Fall Session extends from the beginning of September through just before Christmas; the Spring Session begins on Monday of the second week of January and extends until the second week of June; the Summer Session runs from June 1 through the Middle of August. Year-long internships can begin at the beginning of any session. An orientation and training program is given at the beginning of each cycle. Up to seven interns are taken for any given session.
Application deadlines are May 1 for the following Fall Session, October 1 for the following Spring Session and January 1 for the upcoming Summer Session. The Application process involves sending a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendations (one from a teacher or academic advisor, the second from a Catholic pastor or chaplain) to arrive by the respective deadline at Internship Program, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, 25 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. A PDF copy of the mailed application may also be sent by the deadline to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Internship Application” listed in the subject line. After applications are received, interviews may be scheduled via Skype or, for those in the New York area, in person. Decisions may be made on a rolling basis, so there is advantage to getting applications in early.
Because of the nature of the work of the Holy See at the United Nations, interns must be practicing Catholics; understand, appreciate and believe in Catholic Social Teaching and in the values the Church seeks to convey before the international community; have graduated from university or be enrolled in a graduate program (undergraduates enrolled in programs may apply for the internship program, but preference will be given to graduates); be fluent in English and, if possible, in one or more of the six official UN languages; be a good, clear and precise writer, capable of analytic and synthetic thought and sound research in libraries and via the internet; and have the ability to work in teams.
Interns normally work Monday through Friday 9 am to 6 pm. There are occasional nighttime events as well as, once or twice a year, the need to assist in covering sessions when the UN is meeting on weekends. Attendance at the daily staff meeting after Midmorning Prayer each day at 9 am in the Mission Chapel is obligatory. Every first Friday of the month a Mass is celebrated at the Chapel in the Mission that all staff and interns are expected to attend.
Fellowships, Housing, and Meals
The Mission has established Fellowship Programs with certain Catholic Colleges and Universities that provide funding for the housing and living expenses for a mutually-agreed upon student or recent graduate to serve as a year-long intern at the Mission. Such arrangements have worked out very well for the interns, Mission and colleges/universities and the Mission is always interested in expanding such relationships with participating Catholic colleges and universities. Otherwise, the internship is unpaid with interns responsible for making their own housing arrangements, covering their travel to and from New York, and other expenses, with the exception of a reimbursement for travel to and from the Mission Office each day and the daily staff lunch offered at the Mission at 1:15 pm. The Mission is normally able to help arrange housing at a Catholic parish a short distance from the Mission in terms of commuting time for $500 a month should an intern desire. Applicants who would need assistance paying for housing are still encouraged to apply, making note of the need.
Further Inquiries and questions
Internship Application Checklist
1. Cover Letter
- Briefly explain your background, how you came to find out about the internship program and why you would be interested in serving as an intern for the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the UN.
- State clearly the length of internship you are interested in applying for: Year-Long (Fall-Spring-Summer, Fall-Spring, or some combination of consecutive sessions, indicating when you would hope to start); Half-Year (Summer Session combined either with the Fall or the Spring) or Fall, Spring or Summer Sessions.
- Describe your field of study and any particular qualifications you have for the work of the Holy See at the United Nations.
- Mention where you practice the Catholic faith and your awareness of Catholic Social Teaching.
2. Curriculum Vitae
- A standard curriculum vitae detailing your academic, work and volunteer history, special skills, languages and other competencies will suffice.
- Please make sure all of your contact information — address, cell phone, email, Skype and social media accounts — is included.
- A recommendation from a College Professor, Academic Advisor or the equivalent who can speak about your academic qualifications.
- A recommendation from the pastor of your Catholic parish, the chaplain of your University Newman Center, or a Catholic priest or deacon who is able to describe for us briefly the level of your knowledge and practice of the Catholic faith, character, etc.
- If there are particular circumstances making the providing of either of these recommendations particularly difficult, please explain the situation in your cover letter.
4. Deadlines and Addresses
- The deadline for applications hoping to begin an internship in the Fall is May 1; in the Spring, October 1; in the Summer, January 1. The application (cover letter, CV and Recommendations) should arrive (not be postmarked) by those days. The earlier the application, the better, as acceptances may be done in a rolling basis.
- The Applications should be sent to: Internship Program, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, 25 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. (USA).
- A PDF copy of the mailed application may also be sent by the deadline to email@example.com with “Internship Application” listed in the subject line.