Call for Applications

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

The 2014 application cycle to volunteer as an APA/NGO representative at the United Nations headquarters has closed. Information about upcoming U.N. volunteer opportunities for psychologists in the greater New York area will be posted in 2015.

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

APA has special consultative status with the U.N. Department of Public Information (DPI) and the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as one of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose goals overlap with those of the U.N. 

APA-appointed representatives work within the NGO community at the U.N. 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 APA, U.N. diplomats and representatives of U.N. agencies, and serve as APA’s conduit for information about the United Nations.

APA’s NGO team includes:

The APA representation includes: five representatives to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); two representatives to the U.N. Department of Public Information (DPI); and up to five graduate student interns and occasional special projects associates. APA’s representation is led by a main representative appointed as chair of the APA/U.N. representation, with oversight by APA’s Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP).

APA has the following open positions available:

Representative to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to begin September 2014.
  • ECOSOC representatives are expected to work within the NGO community to join one or more of the NGO committees that parallel ECOSOC concerns (e.g., Status of Women, HIV/AIDS, Children, Families, Mental Health, Human Rights, Migration and so on). Representatives attend committee meetings and pursue program objectives on a regular weekly basis.
Representative to the Department of Public Information (DPI) to begin January 2015.
  • DPI representatives are expected to attend the weekly Department of Public Information U.N. briefings, to join one NGO committee and to serve as a conduit to APA about information at the U.N., including co-authoring a quarterly column, “U.N. Matters,” for the international newsletter.

All APA representatives meet monthly, and all APA representatives collaborate with other psychology-based NGOs to plan the annual Psychology Day at the United Nations.

Position Description

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

Appointments are for a renewable 5-year term, with review at the end of the first year, and continuing reviews on an annual basis. The time commitment is a minimum of one day per week, usually Thursdays.


APA representatives are expected to work in at least one substantive program area covered by U.N. Commissions and Committees, for example, mental health, women’s rights, ageing, children, families, human rights, migration and the like; 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 U.N. workshops, seminars and side events. Representatives consult regularly with the APA main representative, to whom they submit regular written reports for inclusion in the U.N. representation’s annual report to APA, and with other APA representation members. The APA representatives serve as conduits between U.N. 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. APA representative are encouraged to assume leadership positions in the U.N. NGO committees. Participation in the annual APA convention symposium on U.N. activities is also encouraged.


1. Residence in or near New York City (within 50 miles) is essential. Representatives must visit U.N. 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 U.N. 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, as well as direct costs associated with U.N. representation.

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 U.N. system are helpful, but are not required. The psychologists on the APA team will provide an orientation to the U.N. system and the NGO role to new representative. APA especially welcomes applications from psychologists of diverse backgrounds.

How to Apply

The 2014 application cycle is now closed. The deadline was May 18, 2014.

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 (no longer than 750 words) 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 U.N. 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 and the APA main U.N. representative, in consultation with other APA-NGO representatives at the U.N. Short-listed candidates will be invited to an interview in New York City with a selection committee of CIRP representatives and the U.N. representation. Successful candidates are appointed by APA.

For more information about APA at the U.N., visit the APA at the United Nations webpage. Please direct questions to Merry Bullock, PhD, senior director, APA Office of International Affairs (202) 336-6024.