The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament offers the opportunity for Australians to undertake voluntary internships on a self-funded basis during specific disarmament and arms control meetings.
The Permanent Mission seeks people with the skills, education, knowledge and abilities to contribute to advancing Australia's disarmament and arms control interests in the UN. Applicants should possess relevant qualifications and background, with preference being given to those who have completed, or are completing, tertiary studies in areas such as international relations, international security, international law (including international humanitarian law), defence studies or biological sciences. Prior exposure to, or demonstrated knowledge of, the United Nations system is highly desirable.
Applications for disarmament internships in 2016 will be open from:
- 16 December to 13 January 2015 (for an internship around late March to late May 2016)
- 30 May to 17 June 2016 (for an internship around November to December 2016)
Please note that applications received outside these dates will not be considered.
Please note that applicants for the human rights internship at the Permanent Mission may submit separate applications for the disarmament internship.
Internship Program in the Australian Permanent Mission
Each year, two internships are offered to cover a range of disarmament and arms control meetings in Geneva. Depending on the time of year, these could include the Conference on Disarmament as well as meetings under a range of instruments such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (MBC) and UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons.
Prospective interns are asked to be available for around eight weeks, though some flexibility can be considered. Final dates can be settled with the Mission once an intern has been offered a position.
Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament
The Australian Permanent Mission and the Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament is responsible for representing Australia’s interests in the United Nations disarmament and arms control system in Geneva. The work is rigorous and diverse, requiring flexibility, clear thinking and a fundamental understanding of diplomatic principles. The environment is complex and demanding but the work is highly rewarding for the right people.
Geneva has long been a global centre for disarmament and arms control. The Conference on Disarmament is the principal negotiating forum for disarmament treaties and meets in Geneva for 24 weeks a year. A number of arms treaties have their secretariats and principal meetings in Geneva, including the BWC, CCW, MBC, and the CCM. The Australian Permanent Mission in Geneva is active in meetings and processes on the Arms Trade Treaty, small arms and light weapons, armed violence, and other humanitarian disarmament issues.
Under the guidance of experienced officers, interns will be involved in supporting and advancing Australia’s interests at the international level in a wide range of areas. You will need to develop a sound understanding of government policy particularly as it relates to the area of work to which you are assigned. As an intern you may be required to represent the Australian Government in a formal capacity – for example, by assisting with negotiations of texts and attending committees and meetings.
Much of the work of the Australian Mission revolves around preparing for, attending and reporting on conferences and meetings. Meeting activity is fairly constant throughout the year.
During the internships, interns will be expected to attend regular formal and informal meetings. Daily meetings usually take place from 10.00am to 1.00pm and from 3.00pm to 6.00pm but working groups and side panels also occur at different times throughout the session. Be prepared for a busy schedule and working days that will often extend beyond these set times.
As much as possible, the Mission will take into consideration the particular interests of interns when allocating tasks and meeting attendances.
Our internship training
The training provided to interns at the Mission is very much “on-the-job”. You will learn first-hand how the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade functions and gain a useful understanding of diplomatic protocol. In the course of your internship, you will need to develop networks with representatives of other States, international organisations and NGOs, gain working knowledge of key departments and personnel and come to grips with, amongst other things, the complexities of UN meetings and rules of procedure. In addition to attending formal and informal meetings, interns will be expected to contribute to the regular reporting undertaken by Mission officers and a range of other tasks.
Who we are looking for
We are particularly interested in candidates with academic qualifications in disciplines relating specifically to disarmament and arms control. An academic background in international law will also be considered favourably, although it is not an essential requirement.
The candidates we are looking for are:
• talented, highly motivated and committed to the goals of the Mission;
• good communicators with excellent oral and written communication skills;
• self-motivated and innovative;
• strategic thinkers and practical problem-solvers;
• team players with good organisational skills;
• very flexible, adaptable and resourceful; and
• sensitive to, and appreciative of diversity.
Before lodging an application for a position, please ensure that you meet the minimum criteria for consideration listed below.
You must be an Australian citizen to apply. If you are not an Australian citizen, you should not submit an application.
• possess relevant qualifications and background with preference being given to those who have recently completed, or are close to completing, tertiary studies in areas such as international relations, international security, international law (including international humanitarian law), defence studies or biological sciences;
• have prior exposure to, or demonstrated knowledge of, the United Nations system (highly desirable although not essential);
• be willing to undergo a mandatory police check;
• be willing to re-locate to Geneva, on a self-funded basis, which includes arranging travel, visa, accommodation, and health insurance.
Conduct and Ethics
The Mission demands the highest standards of professional conduct from its employees. Ethical conduct by staff and interns contributes significantly to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workplace and to the standing of the Mission and its employees in Australia and internationally.
In agreeing to participate in the Mission’s Internship Program and undertake duties as directed, interns are required to comply with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Locally Engaged Staff Code of Conduct, which takes account of the particular significance of the department\'s representational role outside Australia.
Self-funded and voluntary
The Mission is not able to provide financial assistance to successful applicants. You are responsible for your own travel, visa, accommodation, and health insurance arrangements. Be prepared: the cost of living is high in Geneva. Be prepared for a cost of 2 to 3 thousand dollars per month in addition to your flights.
Applicants may not be given much notice before the internship commences. We urge you to consider this when making your application and ensure that you are prepared both for the financial and time considerations of a successful application.
Applications for the Internship Program should include a letter of application, CV, the completed internship questionnaire (see below) and must be received by email or post. E-mail is preferred.
If you are a student, we particularly welcome applications that include a reference or letter of support from your University.
Applications may be emailed to Disarmament.Geneva@dfat.gov.au or posted to:
Disarmament Internship Program
Australian Permanent Mission to the UN
Chemin des Fins 2
Case Postale 102
1211 Geneva 19
Applicants are asked to complete the attached internship questionnaire. Responses should be no more than 150 words per question. The questionnaire is designed to assess your suitability to perform the duties of the position including personal qualities, experience, skills and knowledge relevant to the work of an intern at the Mission.
1. What are your particular interests in the field of disarmament and arms control?
2. Briefly outline a recent achievement, project or task that demonstrates your analytical and research skills and your ability to think strategically.
3. Provide some examples of how you have used your written and oral communication skills to achieve an outcome, in the workplace, or elsewhere.
4. Tell us about your organisational skills and your ability to work under pressure with limited guidance and to manage conflicting priorities. Use specific examples.
5. It is essential that our interns can work effectively within a team and demonstrate significant flexibility in their approach to the work of the Mission. Describe some examples that demonstrate your team skills and flexibility.
6. Please list any countries outside Australia in which you have lived in the past 10 years.
Short-listed candidates may be interviewed by the Internship Selection Committee via phone or in person (in Geneva) if convenient. The Internship Selection Committee will advise successful candidates in writing (usually by email), after which they will have to undertake a police clearance.
Requests for further information should be emailed to