Make Youth a Priority - Pay UN Interns a Fair Wage
  • Petitioning Youth

This petition will be delivered to:

United Nations Social Policy and Development Division
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth
Ahmad Alhendawi

Make Youth a Priority - Pay UN Interns a Fair Wage

    1. Matt Hamilton
    2. Petition by

      Matt Hamilton

      New York, NY

In light of the world economic crisis, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on countries to make youth and youth employment issues a priority.

Despite his organization's good intentions, the United Nations fails to recognize the importance of its own interns, thousands of which contribute their energy and passion for no pay. Given the high cost of living in key UN cities, such as New York and Geneva, undertaking a UN internship is an experience that few can afford, especially those from the very developing countries the organization strives to serve.

Young people face insurrmontable difficulties in finding work all over the world, with some areas experiencing youth unemployment rates of over 50%.  After working hard towards achieving a good education, young people now find themselves stuck in a Catch-22: without experience, they can't find jobs; yet without a job, they can't gain experience.

Internships have become a vital way to help bridge this divide.  Unfortunately, internships have also become an easy way for organizations to access free labor.  It is troubling that the United Nations, an organization that stands for equality and justice, is no exception.

To live up to its ideals and set an example for the world, the United Nations should make a commitment to provide fair compensation to its interns, ensuring that future leaders receive the financial support they need and deserve.

Tell the UN that young people matter by signing this petition.

For more information, please visit

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 6,000 signatures
    2. Over 500 signatures!!

      Matt Hamilton
      Petition Organizer

      Congratulations everyone! We reached over 500 signatures today.

      That's great news, but there's still more that needs to be done.

      To help get more attention, we've created a website where people can read more about this important issue.

      We would like to invite you to take a look. You'll see there is a section for "Featured Stories."

      That's where we need your help!

      Policymakers and the public in general need to see and hear the real stories you have about the UN Internship program.

      Are you a former or current intern? Would you like to be an intern, but can't afford to do so? Are you a UN employee with hardworking interns that you think deserve to be paid?

      Contact us at and share your story.

      Together we can make sure the UN internship system is a fair one.

      Thanks for your continued support!

      Matt Hamilton
      a former UN intern

    3. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Akash Joshi TUCSON, AZ
      • 2 days ago

      I really wish to intern for UN, but I can't as it would be next to impossible for me to live in NY without getting paid.

    • Nayeli Kunz SWITZERLAND
      • 14 days ago

      Slave work is very much alive.

      • 15 days ago

      Two reasons:

      First of all, it is important on a personal level, because I would like myself to intern for the UN to get to know the organisation from within. Secondly, the goals of the UN seems unaligned when people from especially developing countries are not paid - this is unacceptable in an organisation that invites everyone to parcitipate in shaping the world we live in. I come from a country where equal right to education is a priority of the government, and it too should be for the UN, as internships by definition is part one's education.

    • Ibraheem Khan BRIDGEPORT, CT
      • 18 days ago

      I interned at UN and I can understand a mix feeling of unpaid work. Thank you!

    • Stephanie Bouckley HALIFAX, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 29 days ago

      It's modern day slavery wrapped up as opportunity, it's exploitative and wholly inappropriate


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