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  • Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction (CSIS Significant Issues, No. 26) (Csis Significant Issues Series)
    Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction (CSIS Significant Issues, No. 26) (Csis Significant Issues Series)
    by Robert C. Orr
  • Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World
    Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World
    by Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart
  • The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Vintage)
    The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Vintage)
    by Rupert Smith
  • Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
    Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
    by John Robb
  • Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
    Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
    by Paul Collier
  • The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
    by Thomas P.M. Barnett
  • State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
    State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century
    by Francis Fukuyama
  • When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
    When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
    Princeton University Press
  • Building States to Build Peace
    Building States to Build Peace
    Lynne Rienner Publishers
  • Making States Work: State Failure And The Crisis Of Governance
    Making States Work: State Failure And The Crisis Of Governance
    United Nations University Press
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Entries in United Nations (2)

Sunday
May202012

Back Again

Over a year ago I uploaded my last post.  

 

I kinda gave up on the blog because I started a new line of research and thinking not related to conflict stabilization or development issues and wanted to explore it in depth with the goal of producing something publishable.   It essentially dealt the concept of victimhood, brought on in large part by my experience of living an extended period in the U.S. for the first time in almost a decade. I noticed a lot of whining and complaining by Americans, many of whom seemed to be spoiled and have an unwarranted sense of entitlement.  These people seemed to not understand how good they have it here, and blamed others (corporations, the government, "rich people," etc.) for problems of their own making.  They didn't want to take responsibility for the consequences of their own freely chosen life choices, and preferred to play the victim in order to get someone else to pay or be responsible in their stead.  

 

After my experience of living in Iraq and traveling through the Middle East, I found it all to be quite disturbing, and upon returing to Baghdad in early 2011, I rediscovered how much I enjoyed being around people who focused more on helping others and accomplishing things than complaining about what they did or didn't have.  And it was good to be working with people really in need and who would greatly appreciate having the problems Americans complain about.

 

The other reason was I needed to finish a big paper that basically took until the Fall to complete. I'm publishing it here.  It's about the evolution of United Nations Peace Support Operations since 2001.  It comes in at about 80 pages and 20,000 words.  If you want to know the major ideas behind the way UN peacekeeping missions do business and the key documents associated with them, then it's worth a read.

 

The Reform of UN Peace Operations

 

I wrote this paper to finish the final requirement for a Certificate of Training in UN Peace Support Operations.  It's a certification you can get from the Peace Operations Training Institute.  If you want to work in a UN peacekeeping mission, or learn about them, the program is worth checking out.  I found the experience to be very valuable.  A friend of mine who I turned on to the program later got a job with the UN and she told me the interviewer seemed to be impressed that she had done the program.  You can take a free course here on Principles and Guidelines for UN Peacekeeping Operations.  Or you can just download the doctrine and study it on your own.

 

I have a few more papers I'll publish in the next few weeks on the topic of Afghanistan, and which I wrote for some of my graduate classes.  


Monday
Feb082010

How to Get a Job with the United Nations

Okay, so this will be the last job post for awhile.

 

For work reasons I have had to deal with the UN Mission in Iraq on several occasions, and along with having partied with them at their Erbil compound, have for personal reasons asked the question: “So, what’s the best way to get hired?” And each every time I’ve been told there’s no secret code, you just have to apply.  And get lucky, because there are a hell of a lot of people from around the world who are applying too. 

 

This page and this one both have the most comprehensive set of links for the career pages of the numerous organizations within the UN system.  But the website UN Jobs (which includes positions with other international organizations like the World Bank) is easier to sort by country, and has over 2000 positions listed in over 221 different locations (interesting note: there are 88 vacancies currently listed in the USA).  For jobs with the UN Development Program, click here.  And if you’re interested in working on a UN Peace Support Mission, click here

 

If you’re under 32, you may want to consider taking one of the competitive exams so you can be hired as a career bureaucrat in the NYC-based UN Secretariat.  

 

You can also click here for jobs available with the UN missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Be advised that for most people a UN job will be out of immediate reach unless you’re already working within the UN system or have several years experience in the development or humanitarian aid communities.  So if you’re in college or just looking for a career change, there is a good chance you’re going to have to start at the bottom and work your way into a position.  The good news is that there are tons of openings, so it’s not impossible.

 

Some other advice:  Whatever country you want to work in, it’s a good idea to already know the local language and/or have a lot of experience in country.  Most UN hires will be locals or returnees with experience in the language and culture.  If you’re a foreign expat with this experience, your chances of being hired increase considerably.  (Note that fluency in at least two of the six official languages of the UN is a huge plus for any job you’re applying to).  Also, if you don’t have relevant language skills, you better make sure you have special skills and experiences that your average applicant won’t have . . .  like having worked before with the UN or an international organization, some form of training  in UN operations, or technical expertise in a particular subject area that takes years to become a specialist in (like water sanitation, assisting internally displaced people and refugees, or food security, to name just a few).  In many cases, prior experience as a diplomat, military officer, or government official also helps.

 

Finally, consider becoming a UN Volunteer.  As with UN internships or the Peace Corps, it is a great way get some much needed on-the-ground experience in development assistance or humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations.   You must be willing to commit at least six months or a year, but you’ll get a living allowance to cover basic living expenses, free travel on appointment and at the end of assignment, and life, health and permanent disability insurance.  There’s also annual leave given and a resettlement allowance for when you return.  But the greatest benefit will be the skills and job experience you will acquire, which can otherwise be incredibly hard to get.  And who knows, you may be able to network way into a paid position with the UN mission or program in the country where you’re working.  After all, you’ll already know the local culture and have an understanding of how the mission there operates.