UNITAR logo over the BSIA logo

BSIA and UNITAR partner to offer collaborative short course on “UN Career for Climate Action”

The Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) in Waterloo, Canada and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva, Switzerland, are pleased to announce the launch of a new short course entitled “United Nations Career for Climate Action Programme.”

The course is the first collaborative venture between the two institutions, and is designed for practitioners, students, aspiring young leaders and observers who want to contribute meaningfully to international efforts to address climate change.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with UNITAR on such an important and timely initiative,” said Dr. Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. “If humanity is to have any hope of mitigating the worst effects of climate change, we need a critical mass of climate activists who can navigate the complexities of the United Nations system. This course is designed to do exactly this.”

The programme aims to provide insights into where the UN System’s climate action efforts are today, what work remains to be done, and how to build a career within this sector. Participants will gain perspective on the challenges faced by individual states as they mobilize to respond to international targets and plans.

“We are thrilled to launch the ‘United Nations Career for Climate Action Programme’, which will equip aspiring professionals with the knowledge, skills, and network needed to pursue a rewarding career in climate action within the UN system,” said Rabih El-Haddad, Director, Multilateral Diplomacy Division of UNITAR. As the urgency to address the climate crisis intensifies, we need talented and committed individuals from diverse backgrounds to join us in this vital work. This programme offers a unique opportunity to learn from seasoned experts, engage in interactive learning activities, and gain practical insights into the UN’s climate-related activities. We encourage all those who share our passion for climate action and our commitment to the UN’s values and principles to apply for this exciting programme.”

Each week will cover a major theme:

  • Week 1 – The UN: Climate Policy Institutions, Processes and Tools
  • Week 2 – Global Climate Negotiations: From the Top-Down and Bottom-Up
  • Week 3 – UN Career Skills for Climate Action

At the conclusion of the course, students will have:

  • Acquired a deep understanding of the different UN agencies responsible for climate change, including the UNFCCC, IPCC, WMO, and UNEP;
  • Learned the different policy tools for combatting climate change, such as climate finance, loss and damage, and the net-zero movement;
  • Participated in climate change negotiation simulations;
  • Developed leadership and negotiation skills needed for a career in the UN system; and
  • Learned about the UN job application process

The modules will be taught by leading climate change scholars at BSIA and UN practitioners affiliated with UNITAR.

The course will be offered online from June 5 to 23, 2023 and costs $700 USD. Students who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion.

To learn more about the course and for information about registration, please visit https://unitar.org/un-career-climate-action-programme


Established in 2007, the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) is an equal collaboration among the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier), and the University of Waterloo (UW). The School is home to three world-class academic graduate programs in Global Governance and International Public Policy offered by UW and Laurier.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was established in 1965 as an autonomous body within the United Nations with the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the UN and its Member States. UNITAR designs and conducts close to 500 different training and knowledge sharing events per year for some 50,000 beneficiaries worldwide. Activities include diplomats, other government officials, non- governmental representatives, local authorities and other stakeholders.

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