U.S. Dept. of State, UNA-USA Seek New Applicants for Yearlong Term of U.S. Youth Observer to the UN

May 2, 2016

New York (May 2, 2016) – Beginning today, The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) and the U.S. Department of State will accept applications for the position of U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations for the 2016-2017 term. One U.S. citizen between ages 18 to 25 will be selected to serve in the role of correspondent between the United Nations and American youth, witnessing the UN in action, attending high-profile UN events throughout the year, and reporting his or her experiences to U.S. officials, peers, and global audiences.

“This is a call to action for young Americans who want to make a global impact,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. “The Youth Observer engages his or her peers in the work of the UN, empowering them to be active participants in dialogue on international issues.”  

While next year’s agenda will be determined based on upcoming youth issues and priorities, past Youth Observers have attended events during UN General Assembly week in New York City; meetings of the UN’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (Third Committee); the UNESCO Youth Forum; and meetings of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Last year’s Youth Observer program attracted more than 600 applications from young people throughout the country. Donya Nasser, a native of Florida, was chosen to be the fourth-ever U.S. Youth Observer from 2015-2016. She attended timely UN and UN-related events; visited the World Food Program in Rome, Italy; interviewed Ambassador Samantha Power for a web feature; and spoke at engagements across the United States.

Candidates for the Youth Observer position should demonstrate a passion for international affairs and a drive to solve today’s most pressing global challenges though their academic and professional pursuits. Finalists will exhibit exceptional writing skills; strengths in breaking down complex information quickly; and an aptitude for storytelling via blog posts and other media. The ideal candidate will also be a team player; willing to work with multiple stakeholders to tell the story of the UN; intellectually curious and able to have meaningful conversations with high-level individuals; an experienced public speaker, enthusiastic about engaging with young Americans; and digitally engaged and tech-savvy, with a knack for communicating online in creative and effective ways.  

 Previous Youth Observers have spoken of the role’s importance to their personal and professional development. “My time as the U.S. Youth Observer was the most important year of my life; it taught me the importance of possessing true courage,” said Tiffany Taylor, who served the 2013-2014 tenure. Jackson Dougan, who served as Youth Observer from 2014-2015, said “I have developed an increasing appreciation for the complexity of international dialogue as well as the dedication required to solve today’s global issues. The role of youth is critical to tackling the social inequities and environmental complexities of the current world.”

Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. ET May 30, 2016. For more information on the program, please visit www.unausa.org/usyouth.

Tweet This: .@unausa partners w/ @StateDept, @usun & @State_IO for the 2016-17 #USYouth Observer program at the #UN! Learn more: http://bit.ly/1HwNFG0

Love int’l affairs? Bring the voice of youth to the @UN as the #USYouth Observer! Apply now: http://bit.ly/1HwNFG0 via @unausa


Media Contact
Amy Auguston


The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA is a program of the United Nations Foundation. UNA-USA and its sister organization the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. Learn more about UNA-USA’s programs and initiatives at www.unausa.org

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.