Volunteer to represent APA and Psychology at the United Nations in New York

APA is seeking applications from psychologists in the greater New York City area to join the volunteer APA NGO team at the United Nations headquarters

APA has special consultative status with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) as one of many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) whose goals overlap with those of the UN. 

APA-appointed representatives work within the NGO community at the UN headquarters in New York. Based on APA advocacy goals and priorities, APA representatives collaborate with other NGO representatives and APA offices and governance to identify issues, organize programs, and draft statements that bring psychological science and a psychological perspective to bear on global policies and programs. Representatives also foster dialogue and information exchange between psychologists and APA and UN diplomats and representatives of UN agencies, and serve as APA’s conduit for information about the United Nations. 

The APA NGO team includes:

5 Representatives to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);

2 Representatives to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI); and

up to 4 Graduate Student Interns and occasional Special Projects Associates 

In addition, APA representatives may be joined by Associate Representatives who are appointed to work on special projects, and student interns who assist the APA team in meeting planning and logistics. 

For 2012, APA has two open positions for Representatives to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC representatives are expected to work within the NGO community to join one or more of the several NGO committees that parallel ECOSOC concerns (e.g., Status of Women, HIV/AIDS, Children and Families, Mental Health, and so on). Representatives attend committee meetings and pursue program objectives on a regular weekly basis. In addition, all APA representatives collaborate with other psychology-based NGOs to plan the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. 

APA’s representation at the United Nations is led by a Main Representative appointed as chair of the APA team with oversight by APA’s Committee on International Relations (CIRP). 

Position Description

Please note: This is a volunteer position. APA covers UN/NGO committee dues, representation costs at organized UN events, and local transportation expenses to the UN headquarters in Manhattan (public transportation or parking). 

The appointment anticipated to begin in September 2012, for a renewable 5-year term, with review at the end of the first year. ECOSOC Representatives are expected to attend regular meetings of the APA team, typically once a month at UN headquarters; to join at least one UN NGO committee and attend its meetings, generally on a monthly basis; to make contact with UN diplomats and staff when possible, and to participate in organizing and attending the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations. APA representatives are expected to assume leadership positions in the UN NGO committees. Participation in the Annual APA Convention Symposium also is expected. The time commitment is a minimum of one day per week. 


APA Representatives are expected to work in at least one substantive program area covered by UN Commissions and Committees, for example, mental health, women’s rights, ageing, children, youth and families, HIV/AIDS, poverty; and to work with the Office of International Affairs and other APA offices to develop substantive input in the form of position papers or fact sheets, or to develop and arrange for APA contributions to UN workshops, seminars, and side events. Representatives consult regularly with the APA Main Representative, to whom they submit regular written reports for inclusion in the UN representative team’s annual report to APA, and with other APA team members. The APA representatives serve as conduits between UN activities and APA expertise, and are expected to inform APA of opportunities to provide input on issues on which psychologists have expertise and relevant scientific information. 


  1. Residence in or near New York City (within 50 miles) is essential.
    Representatives must visit UN Headquarters each week, and must attend the monthly APA representatives’ meeting. In addition, representatives are encouraged to attend one DPI briefing each month. Applicants must live within 50 miles of the UN headquarters in Manhattan. Applicants outside this area will not be considered. 

  2. The position is a volunteer position.
    APA reimburses representatives for local travel in New York City (including travel to NYC from suburban areas) on public transportation or reimburses parking costs. 

  3. Candidates must hold a doctoral degree and be APA members. Candidates must also: Have experience that strongly identifies with the work of at least one of APA's four directorates: science, education, practice or public interest. 

•  Show an interest or involvement in the application of psychological science to social issues at the international, national or local level. 

•  Be culturally sensitive and have experience working with people from other cultures. 

•  Have effective oral and written communication skills. 

•  Exercise personal initiative and work collaboratively with others who may hold different viewpoints or interests. 

•  Demonstrate a diplomatic and effective interpersonal style. 

•  Communicate regularly by email. 

•  Be willing to work as part of a volunteer team. 

Other attributes, such as proficiency in a foreign language, experience living outside the United States, or knowledge of the UN system are helpful, but are not required. The psychologists on the APA team will provide an orientation to the UN system and the NGO role to new representative. APA especially welcomes applications from psychologists of diverse backgrounds. 

Applications are due April 16, 2012

To apply, submit an application letter addressing the requirements above and curriculum vitae to APA's Office of International Affairs with UN Application in the subject line or to the Office of International Affairs, 750 First Street NE, Washington DC 20002. 

The application letter should include a brief statement of interest, comment on how the applicant's background meets the position's requirements, and identify the issues on which the candidate might wish to work. In this section, Applicants should be specific with reference to ongoing or upcoming UN activities within the NGO purview and address both their areas of psychology / scientific expertise as well as their interest areas. 

Applications are reviewed by APA’s Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) and the APA Main UN Representative. Short-listed candidates will be invited to an interview in New York City with a selection committee of CIRP representatives and the UN team. Successful candidates are appointed by APA. 

Please direct questions to Dr. Merry Bullock, Senior Director, APA Office of International Affairs by email or by phone at (202) 336-6024).