UNESCO Office of International Standards & Legal Affairs Internship Positions: Apply!

Duty Station: Headquarters

Type of contract : Internship

Duration of contract : 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External Candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 30 June 2024


The Office of Legal Standards and International Affairs (LA) is seeking highly motivated graduate students who wish to gain professional experience in international law within an international organization. An internship at UNESCO is a unique opportunity to discover the different aspects of legal work within a specialized agency of the United Nations. 

Under the overall authority of the Director of the Office of Legal Standards and International Affairs (DIR/LA), you will be working under the supervision of the head of one of the three LA sections. More information on the structure and missions of the Office is available at the following address: . 

The intern will assist DIR/LA, the Section Head, or one of the Section’s lawyers in researching, analyzing, or drafting memos on a wide variety of public international law issues.


In particular, the intern will be required to carry out the following duties:

  • Assisting in conducting legal research on issues related to international law, including issues of international civil service law, privileges and immunities, law of international organizations or contract law, and other areas of specialization. The studies undertaken generally relate to complex and/or sensitive areas. 
  • Assisting in the preparation of legal advice on both institutional matters and issues that may arise before or during the execution of the Organization’s program, for example relating to the conclusion or amendments of contracts, difficulties encountered in ensuring their satisfactory execution, possible remedies to be envisaged etc.
  • Assisting in the preparation of meetings of the governing bodies of the Organization, or of the statutory organs of conventions adopted under the auspices of UNESCO.  
  • Assisting LA in providing legal advice to its clients on administrative law matters, including policies, agreements, issues related to the Medical Benefits Fund, UNESCO Staff Savings & Loan Services, etc.; Review appeals against administrative decisions and assist in drafting the Organization’s submissions before the Appeals Board and the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization;
  • Attending various conferences and meetings.


  • Understand the functioning of the Legal Office of an international organization;
  • Strengthen legal skills in various areas of international law;
  • Strengthen skills in the context of teamwork;
  • Learn about UNESCO’s structure, mandate and how it operates;
  • Learn about the elaboration, negotiation and implementation of standard-setting instruments adopted under the auspices of UNESCO;

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

UNESCO Competency Framework.


Age: You must be at least 20 years old to apply.

Academic qualifications: At the time of your application to the internship programme:

  • You are currently enrolled in a graduate programme (Master’s degree, PhD, or equivalent, second university degree or higher).
  • You have recently graduated with a Master’s degree or PhD (or second degree as defined above), 12 months prior to the start of the internship.

Please note that candidates who have completed their full-time bachelor’s degree but are not enrolled in a graduate programme are not eligible to apply.

Applicants in secretarial/assistant or technical/professional assignments must be enrolled in a secretarial school or in a specialized technical/professional institution, and must have reached the last year of their studies, or have recently graduated (within the last 12 months) from their school or institution.  

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You should have an excellent command, both written and spoken, of English or French. A working knowledge of the other language (English or French) is an asset, and may be required for internships in secretarial and assistantship assignments at the Headquarters.

Computer skills: You must have an excellent knowledge of computer systems and office-related software.

Team player: You should be able to work well in a team and adapt to an international working environment.

Communication skills: You should possess strong interpersonal and communication skills.


UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments. 

Interns are entitled to 2.5 days of leave per month during their internship.


The UNESCO Internships Programme is open in January and July each year. Candidates shall apply to the vacancy that matches their personal expertise and domain. Candidates who successfully applied to the vacancy will stay in the intern talent pool and will be further assessed and selected by relevant hiring managers.  The candidature will be valid for 6 months. Candidates who have been selected will be contacted directly by the relevant hiring manager. Those who were not selected for an internship in the current cycle will need to reapply to the internship programme when the new internship vacancies are released.


  • Have your motivation letter and résumé ready before filling out the application form. You only have one hour to finish the process.
  • Make sure your contact details will be valid in next 6 months. 
  • You can only use either English or French in applying.
  • Please provide an unofficial French or English translation of your documents if they are not in these languages.
  • UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments.
  • Even if you are eligible, there is no guarantee of placement. We receive more applications from qualified candidates than we can place.
  • Your application will be further accessed by UNESCO managers around the world and will stay in our internship portal for a period of six months.
  • We do not respond to each and every candidate. If selected, you will be directly contacted by the manager. If you do not receive any update within six months, it means that your application has not been successful.

Visit the official webpage of the Office of Legal Standards and International Affairs

Apply now »

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