Media Note: Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Applauds Establishment of $500,000 Scholarship Program for American Students

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
October 24, 2022

Media Note: Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Applauds Establishment of $500,000 Scholarship Program for American Students to Pursue Internships at the United Nations

Today, on United Nations Day, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced that a $500,000 scholarship program has been established by the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. (UNA-USA) for American students from underserved communities to pursue internships at the United Nations. This inaugural scholarship program is intended for colleges and universities that have been underrepresented in the UN system in the past, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program is expected to fund 50 scholarships over the next three years and is completely funded by philanthropic organizations.

“You may be surprised to learn that when candidates are being evaluated at the UN for some categories of senior level positions, candidates from within the system are eight times more likely to be chosen. We need a diverse pipeline of leaders who look like America and understand the UN inside out,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “I can tell you as a young person majoring in international affairs and wanting to work in that world, I could not work in New York as an intern. Now, thanks to this scholarship, Americans who come from backgrounds like mine can.”

This scholarship program is supported by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, and the Eleanor Crook Foundation.

“We are pleased to support this critical effort to provide students with paid internships at the United Nations, making it possible for more young people to work in public service,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “Too many extraordinary people are not seen, not found, or simply not part of a system designed to find them.  We believe that exceptional people working together can solve any problem the world faces – and to do so well we need everyone at the table.” 

“For too long, the field of global development has failed to reflect the diversity of culture, experiences, and viewpoints that exist in society,” said William Moore, CEO of the Eleanor Crook Foundation. “We are proud to invest in developing a robust pipeline of leaders who will bring their wisdom and creativity to the task of addressing the complex challenges affecting us all.”

The scholarship program will be administered by the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. (UNA-USA) which intends to advertise the availability of these scholarships through partners such as UNA-USA college chapters nationwide, allied civic organizations, and LinkedIn groups focused on global issues.

The inaugural class of interns will include 15 students, selected through the UN’s intern selection process. These first internships will begin in early 2023. Work will be ongoing to ensure this scholarship program endures and continues to support opportunities for a diverse community of American students.

Ambassador Chris Lu, U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform, who helped support the creation of this initiative, said, “This program is a great example of why we need to think more creatively about engaging a broader network of stakeholders, whether it’s foundations or the private sector, to support the work and goals of the United Nations.” Lu added, “We look forward to working with other stakeholders to support this important initiative.”