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The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs is looking for young persons (ages 18 – 24) motivated to use their talents to help raise awareness and promote change for a more peaceful and secure world.

United Nations ODA was established in January 1998 as the Department for Disarmament Affairs which was part of the SG’s programme for reform in accordance with his report to the General Assembly (A/51/950). It was originally established in 1982 upon the recommendation of the General Assembly’s second special session on disarmament (SSOD II). In 1992, its name was changed to Centre for Disarmament Affairs, under the Department of Political Affairs. At the end of 1997, it was renamed Department for Disarmament Affairs and in 2007, it became the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.

UNODA Office seeks to promote global norms of disarmament:

        Global norms for disarmament are vital to the sustainable development, quality of life, and ultimately the survival of this planet. The need for such norms arises directly from the legacy of the last century of wars and preparations for wars. The costs of such conflicts have been extraordinary and have included the loss of untold millions of innocent civilians. Weapons of mass destruction, along with excess stocks and illicit transfers of conventional arms, jeopardize international peace and security and other goals of the Charter of the United Nations.

        They believe that the potential effects from the use of weapons of mass destruction – especially nuclear weapons – demand their elimination. UNODA believe that the very possession of such weapons necessarily entails risks of use. They shall work therefore to assist the UN, its Member States and civil society in efforts to eliminate such arms.

        UNODA acknowledge that disarmament alone will not produce world peace. Yet they also maintain that the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, illicit arms trafficking and burgeoning weapons stockpiles would advance both peace and development goals. It would accomplish this by reducing the effects of wars, eliminating some key incentives to new conflicts, and liberating resources to improve the lives of all the people and the natural environment in which they live.

        They believe that disarmament will advance the self-interests, common security and ideals of everybody without discrimination. Yet despite these benefits, disarmament still faces difficult political and technical challenges that can only be surmounted by deliberate human action, strong institutional support, and understanding among the general public.

        UNODA believe that the global dangers posed by such weapons cannot be eliminated by the actions of any one country. They are convinced that the UN is the place to forge multilateral approaches to alleviate such threats. They also believe this effort requires a focal point within the UN system to integrate these activities and to meet the expectations of Member States.

        UNODA affirm their commitment – to perform these roles with dedication and diligence; to assist the Secretary-General, Member States and groups within civil society; to promote equal opportunities for men and women, while promoting gender perspectives on disarmament; and to bring credit to the United Nations in the goals they seek and the means they pursue to achieve them.

Youth Champions will exchange ideas with disarmament experts from think tanks, civil society organizations and the diplomatic field, and develop their own plans on how to engage in their communities on issues related to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control.

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs will support with mentoring and guidance throughout the programme.

Eligibility Criteria

        Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 24 at the time of application.

        In addition to young people with an interest in international affairs or international relations, they also strongly encourage individuals with a background in other areas such as history, science, economics, languages, film, media, dance, song, theatre, visual arts, creative writing or any other field to submit an application.

        UNODA intention is to bring together an eclectic and geographically diverse group of young people, from across the globe, who can become advocates for disarmament.

        The ten youth champions will receive training in general principles of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control through on-line courses and a two-week in-person study tour in Vienna, Geneva, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The study tour will take place in June 2020.

        Fluency in English is required for participation.

Deadline: 18 March 2020 For more information, visit https://www.un.org/disarmament/youth-champions-for-disarmament/