Career Connex

The Career Connex virtual program series is an opportunity for UNA-USA members interested in career opportunities with the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, and USAID. 


The Career Connex series is an initiative of UNA-USA to connect our members with the variety of career-oriented opportunities in the United Nations, foreign policy, and global development. Each session of the virtual program will offer a variety of speakers, resources, and meaningful tips and tricks for each member to successfully forge their own path.

Career Connex is a great way to gain professional development skills, learn about specific job openings/focal areas and hear from people currently employed in the U.S Department of State and UN Agencies.


Session 1:Opportunities and Options

When: May 11, 2023 @ 1:00 PM ET- 2:00 PM ET 

Join this session to hear from five different perspectives about the opportunities and options available to become more engaged with the United Nations.  Attendees will learn more about UN Volunteers, the UNA-USA Fellowship to encourage more American youth to intern at the UN, and about various resources about how to find vacancies.

We will also explore how the Bureau of International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State actively supports a strong US-UN relationship.  Participants will hear more tips and tricks from speakers who help others to navigate their career trajectories within the UN system and who themselves have followed unique paths to where they are now.

The majority of the session will be open for audience Q&A in order to offer the most value for attendees to consider their own slate of possibilities and circumstances.

This series is open to UNA-USA members only, but if you are not yet a member, it’s quick and easy to join the largest movement of Americans who support the United Nations:



Session Speakers 

Brenden Varma

Brenden Varma has worked for the United Nations (UN) since 2002. He currently serves as the Deputy Director of the UN Information Centre in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he worked in the Outreach Division of the Department of Global Communications at UN Headquarters in New York, where he managed programmes related to anti-racism and youth engagement. He has served twice as the Director of Communications and Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly. He has also worked in the Department of Political Affairs as a Political Affairs Officer, covering the Americas, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa. In addition, he served as an Associate Spokesperson for former Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan.

Regarding field experience, he was a Senior Communication Adviser at the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI); the Special Assistant to the Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM); and the Spokesperson and Head of Communications at both the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) in Jerusalem.

Prior to joining the UN, he worked for ABC News in New York and the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom and a B.S. in Languages from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He also completed course work at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Argentina.


Manuel Brakaj

Manuel Brakaj is a Human Resources Management professional with 20 years of experience with the United Nations. He has extensive experience in headhunting, recruitment drives, career fairs in various countries for diverse professional categories. In addition, Mr. Brakaj has broad based experience in Human Resources Management in areas including Recruitment, Administration, Human Resources Policies, Human Resources Applications, Human Resources Metrics, Training and Development. He is extremely passionate about inspiring people to better themselves, to grab opportunities, and to believe in themselves.


Erin Tyler

Erin Tyler is currently a Public Diplomacy Officer for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO).  She joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 2014.  She served as an International Relations Officer for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (2020-2022), the Vice Consul in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (2018-2020), and the Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Algiers, Algeria (2015-2017).

Prior to joining the State Department, she worked as a Program Officer with the Fulbright Foreign Student Program at AMIDEAST and at First Book, an international literacy nonprofit.  Erin was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia from 2003-2005.

Erin holds a B.A. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in conflict and conflict resolution at George Washington University.  She speaks German and French.  Erin is an Ohio native, and lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband and son.


Gagan Vaseer

Gagan Vaseer is a Programme Management Officer within the Office of the Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations Secretariat, where he oversees innovation strategy for organization-wide operational support. Before joining the United Nations, he built a career in the private sector doing management consulting for public and commercial clients at Deloitte and Guidehouse, and driving strategy and effectiveness initiatives at Google. Gagan began his professional career in education, where he served as an elementary school teacher as a Teach For China Fellow in rural Yunnan. He holds a BA from Duke University, where he studied International Comparative Studies and Political Science, and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Alejandro Martín Rodríguez

Alejandro Martín Rodríguez (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1995) is a Master in Public Policy (MPP) candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. His goal at Harvard is to further develop his management, negotiation, and leadership skills to advance in his career as an international civil servant working in issues related to conflict resolution, human rights and humanitarian action, and climate security.

Prior to coming to Harvard, Alejandro worked for the European External Action Service (EEAS) based in Brussels and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) based in Nairobi. At the EEAS, he supported the Conflict Prevention and Mediation team in their work conducting conflict analysis to inform EU external action and programming. At UNEP, he worked as an intern, UNV, and consultant and played a leading role in a number of advocacy and government outreach campaigns on ocean protection, air pollution, and youth engagement with environmental issues. In December 2021, Alejandro also acted as the main coordinator of the Sevilla High-Level Workshop on Climate, Peace, and Security on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation.

Alejandro holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Politics from King’s College London (First Class) and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (Merit). He was awarded a La Caixa Graduate Scholarship in 2018 to support his studies at Cambridge, where he also received a Hughes Hall Grant to conduct field research on conflict resolution in Georgia, Moldova, and Austria. He has published in academic journals and conferences on issues related to environmental peacebuilding, frontier technologies, and identity in conflict.


Troy-WolfeTroy Wolfe

Mr. Troy G. Wolfe is the Senior Director, Partnerships & Special Initiatives at the United Nations Foundation. In this role, he creates partnerships that raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals while engaging civil society in calls for advocacy.

His service to the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) spans nine years and includes the management of grants, K-12 programming, partnerships, and philanthropic initiatives that leverage the vast resources of the United Nations Foundation to bring about innovative public programs and events.

Mr. Wolfe works closely with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, UN Agencies, local government, and supports the more than 200 chapters of United Nations Associations with implementing quality programs that inform the public on Agenda 2030 and provide pathways for civic engagement. Under his leadership, he also plans and hosts bi-partisan Congressional Learning Trips for members of the House and Senate and leads UNA-USA efforts to form strategic partnerships that advance U.S.-UN relations.

Mr. Wolfe has extensive knowledge of international development and has completed volunteer assignments with the United States Peace Corps (Suriname) and Operation Crossroads Africa (Lesotho). His portfolio also includes the oversight of partnerships and projects in the United States, the Middle East, and Turkey.

Mr. Wolfe holds an M.A. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, NY and a B.A. in English with a minor in Education from Lincoln University, PA. He is a member of Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education and the New Jersey Chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America.

Career Connex Session 1:

View the recording from our Career Connex Session 1 here!