• MentorZ Media

How Young People Can Get Involved In The UN

In MentorZ episode 35, The current Youth Observer for the United Nations, Jay'Len Boone comments on how young people can become involved in the UN in a variety of ways!

First and foremost, he talks about how he was introduced to the position of the UN Youth Observer.

Jay'Len had a very persistent professor and mentor who reminded him a lot like Edna (from Disney's Incredibles) in his life. She helped guide him and posed the position of Observer as an opportunity. Jay'Len has always been an activist, but this would be a whole other world. At first, he was hesitant to even apply, so he waited until his senior year to 'throw his name into the ring'.

  1. From there, Jay'Len says it was a lot of work! The first round was the preliminary application where candidates talk about their pathways, why they want to become an Observer, and what they are going to do for the position.

  2. After being selected from there, candidates then need to record a speech, over any topic that they'd like. From there, Jay'Len says they mark it down, and candidates are left in a room of 5 to 8. Judges ask multiple questions specific to each candidate and then they choose the Observer from there!

  3. The Inauguration isn't really until the UNGA ((https://www.un.org/en/ga/)) which is usually held around September. So many of the briefings begin in August. Jay'Len says that during this period he was consulted by many human rights and media specialists. He describes him this time filled with meetings, briefings, learning, and note-taking.

  4. This prep time, and his year of service as the United Nation Youth Observer for the U.S allowed Jay'Len to deloped a wonderful network of caring people that he will always be grateful for.

As to how young people can get involved in, Jay'Len provides several resources you can look into!

The Secretary-General Envoy On Youth Office,

An organization that's mission lies in:

  • Increasing youth participation in the Inter-Governmental Space

  • Realizing the potential of the young people within the UN system

  • Engagement and mobilization of young people

"...sustainable development and peace cannot be achieved unless we involve young people and create the conditions that allow them to reach and unleash their full potential"

Becoming A Part Of A UNA-USA Chapter

"The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) is a movement of Americans who believe that our interests and values can best be advanced by standing with the planet’s only truly universal institution: The United Nations. We stand up for the UN so the UN can keep standing up for the world."


Internships with the UN

You can learn first hand by taking on an internship with the United Nations! Currently, however, the position is unpaid and people not living in New York will have to move there. It's a very big leap!

Becoming A Volunteer

You can sign up for one of the dozen volunteer opportunities that the UN regularly publishes.

Becoming An advocate of the UN

With the United State's current view of the United Nations, promoting the work of the UN and becoming a voice for young people's standings on global problems is of high importance.

Separate programs that you can look for opportunities in:

United Nations Development Programme - UNDP

  • "UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results."

United Nations Environment Programme - UNEP

  • "The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment."

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO

  • "The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations aimed at contributing "to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information"

Make sure to roam around the UN site, there are many opportunities and ways to get involved!