The First International Group of United Nations Internes and Fellows at Lake Success, NY (1948)
The United Nations itself had inaugurated the internship and fellowship program soon after its founding in 1948. It was soon recognized that the new program required effective management through maintenance of continuing communication and coordination with and among the participants. Crucial to the success of the “Internes and Fellows” program was their sustained ties with their Alma Mater, the United Nations. Accordingly, a group of Internes and Fellows, working on a research project under the
supervision of Dr. Helen C. Lahey-Rammel at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), pursued the formation of an alumni association to realize these aims, as a permanent organization. Their work resulted in the establishment – in 1978 – of the World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIF).
So formalized, early WAFUNIF management started to actively participate enthusiastically since its creation, years (1978-1988) in the process of institution-building, which shaped its existence.
By 1981, WAFUNIF received the Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Associational Accreditation with the Department of Public Information (DPI). And in October 1983, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) accorded it the Consultative Status in the General Category. In September 1987, in recognition of WAFUNIF’s significant contribution to the International Year of Peace, United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuellar designated it as an Official Peace Messenger, an honor conferred in a special ceremony held at the United Nation Headquarters in New York.
Mission, Vision and Objective Statements
The World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIF) as the sole Alumni Association of the United Nations, as our Alma Mater, our focus is to support our Internes and Fellows. We engage in projects that support all the United Nations initiatives, as a special messenger of academia, economic development, finance and culture exchange that promotes unity and peace worldwide.
We network with Academic organization, Municipalities, governments, Non-Profit, Non-Governmental and major businesses worldwide to establish relationships that can come together for support of our Mission.
Our members are highly educated, entrepreneurial and humanitarian individuals at heart. They understand the importance of the United Nations and its initiatives, in keeping the balance of a very complex, dynamic and challenging world community and the importance to protect and benefit humankind. Our United Nations culture and our dedication drives us to serve and protect those values in our global community with great pride.
We have and are currently engaged internationally in executing per our Mission Statement in education, science, technology, economy, finance for development and culture initiatives as it relates to our Alma Mater, the United Nations Organization.
The Executive Committee of WAFUNIF envisions a very bright future as we are expanding from its core initiatives each year with an outreach to the global community that collaborates in “Changing the World” in a collective effort.
We are in the expansion mode for the years to come. Our plans include expanding from our existing offices in New York by adding offices (underway) in Puerto Rico, Brazil and Guatemala, as regional support centers that cover the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Equatorial Guinea in Africa and the Middle East (Dubai and Kuwait). Currently, in our office in Equatorial Guinea and Guatemala, we are in preparations to celebrate an Economic Development & Finance Alliance between these regions, in addition to an Academic & Scientific Alliance.
Our organization; The World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows (WAFUNIF) was created by the United Nations as an academic organization with the aim of serving and engaging the internes and fellows with the work of the United Nations and the civil society with one-hundred-ninety-three (193) member countries in all regions of the world. Our constitutional mandate and activities implemented since its creation in 1978. Our goals are to participate in the United Nations 2030 Initiatives and advance the work of its Alma Mater – THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
The main objectives and purposes of WAFUNIF are:
1. Be an organization of students, researchers and fellows of the UN;
2. Continue a communication channel between the United Nations system and those to whom it has served through multiple internships, scholarships and collaborating countries;
3. Use the collective and individual resources of its members to promote research, information and education at all levels to help improve public understanding of the principles, activities and potential of the United Nations;
4. Rekindling interest in the UN and issues of global interest among those students working in areas far from international affairs;
5. Support and encourage the maintenance and development of internships and scholarships, and other types of training programs within the United Nations system.
6. Promote, educate and work to achieve the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) that are on the UN work agenda until 2030.
With its elaborate organizational structure and global outreach, WAFUNIF’s functional activities have been kaleidoscopic, involving both its own promotional functions and those in support of UN activities.
In its own promotional functions, WAFUNIF has made considerable strides on multiple fronts.
First, starting at home and focusing on its primary responsibilities toward Internes and Fellows of both the UN and WAFUNIF, it has strengthened its attention on programs that address important elements (e.g., orientation, training, welfare).
Second, active steps were taken to improve the communication system between and among Internes and Fellows already in the system – and with WAFUNIF – in order that such communication, to include the UN as appropriate, may be optimized.
• In this connection, several communications vehicles and media were
• special reports and commemorative journals;
• policy guides and thematic studies; and
• various memoranda, summaries, and position papers.
As part of the WAFUNIF effort, there have occasionally been made available to UN officials, member states, diplomatic missions, and observer organizations publications and advices on relevant questions (e.g., trade, development, taxation, disarmament, welfare, science, technology, communication, internet, youth, energy, natural resources, outer space, technical cooperation).
Issuance of a regular newsletter and establishment of a speakers’ bureau, along with other facilities, are under study and consideration and even development. Further, to maintain continuity of relationship between the UN and WAFUNIF Internes and Fellows – and to nurture a sense of belonging – events on important occasions are held (e.g., receptions, luncheons, dinners, celebrations, anniversaries, ceremonies, commemorations, reunions, exhibitions).