Details of the Initiative
Since 2013, the Organization for International Collaboration has been implementing the United Nations Youth Volunteer Program as Long-Term Global Experiential Learning. This program is a collaboration between the United Nations Volunteer Program and eight universities in Japan, including Meiji University, to send students to UN field offices in developing countries every year. In order to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, we will work to support UN agency staff members in the field, such as through public relations activities, project management, and social research for UN field offices. In order to be dispatched, applicants need to prepare documents in English, have an interview with a local staff member, and actually be hired by the host office.
In AY2019, we sent a student from the School of Political Science and Economics to the UNESCO Cairo Office in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The participating student worked with the office staff to create a publication called “GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE IN THE ARAB REGION”. Specifically, he analyzed geographical themes such as the topography and climate of the Arab region, conducted historical literature research on economic and human losses due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and dust storms, and wrote a paper on a disaster preparedness case study. As a volunteer, he was able to work in support of a highly specialized position at a UN agency that usually requires a master’s degree, even for interns. It seems that the participating student was able to strengthen his will to work for the United Nations in the future.
As the incidence of natural disasters is currently increasing due to climate change, he was able to work on a project that is very meaningful in considering measures to improve the global environment. In recent years, it has also been pointed out that the number of Japanese UN staff members is smaller than that of other G7 countries. In order to face larger global challenges in the near future, Japan needs to work together with other countries to resolve them. We hope that in the future, this program will produce human resources who will be able to exercise leadership in the international arena in order to achieve the SDGs.
In AY2020, unfortunately, all dispatch programs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in FY2021, two students were selected from Meiji University to resume such dispatch. One of the participating students (School of Arts and Letters) is working at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Kazakhstan office on issues such as food security, improved nutrition, and eradication of hunger and poverty in the country, while the other (School of Political Science and Economics) is working at the UN Women ? Egypt office on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country.
Both are currently conducting their work online for their host offices and will be dispatched to their respective duty stations as soon as the infection situation in their destination countries improves.