Internship program at UN expanded by Korea

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Internship program at UN expanded by Korea

The number of young Koreans selected for the most-coveted internship program at the United Nations will increase three-fold this year, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday.

The ministry said that the number of Junior Professional Officers will increase from 5 to 15 beginning this year.

The ministry’s budget earmarked for the JPO program more than doubled from 1.55 billion won ($1.39 million) last year to 3.25 billion won this year to fund the expansion, the ministry said.

The JPO program is special on-the-job training at the UN, financed fully by the countries sending the JPOs. A majority of the JPOs get full-time status at the UN after the internship.

“The size of the JPO dispatched from Korea was too small compared with the country’s share of contribution to the UN,” said a ministry official. Korea contributed about $48 million to the UN last year, the 11th largest contribution among 192 UN members.

Between 1996 and 2008, 73 Koreans were selected as JPOs. Fifty-eight of them finished the JPO program at the UN and 48, or 83 percent of them, were hired full time at the UN, the ministry said.

The official said the augmentation in JPO recruitment is also needed to push forward with the government’s plan to foster 100,000 young Koreans into global leaders. “It is a change in a positive way,” the official said.

The ministry said it will increase support for Koreans seeking jobs at the UN or other international organizations through its human resources center for international organizations.

To that end, it will hire two more people in charge of global recruitment.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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