INTERNSHIP: Culture Sector


Duty Station: Headquarters, Field Offices, and Institutes

Type of contract : Internship

Duration of contract : 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External Candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 31 December 2024



UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



The UNESCO Culture Sector aims to promote culture and the creative economy and safeguard cultural and natural heritage in response  to  the  global  challenges  addressed  by  the  2030  Agenda  for  Sustainable  Development,  as  well  as  conflicts, disasters and emergencies,  by  implementing  the  six  UNESCO  Culture  Conventions  and  the  recommendations  associated  with  them,  and  supporting  Member  States  in  translating  their  provisions  into national policies and strategies. Internships with the Culture Sector can be undertaken in the following entities: 

  • World Heritage 

The World Heritage entity ensures the day-to-day management and effective implementation of the 1972 Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage by supporting the governance mechanisms of the Convention, developing periodic reporting and assessing nominations to the Convention’s lists. The entity also coordinates both the reporting on the condition of sites and the emergency action undertaken when a site is threatened. It organizes capacity-building seminars and workshops, updates the World Heritage List and database, develops teaching materials to raise awareness among young people of the need for heritage preservation, supports the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and keeps the public informed of World Heritage issues.

  • Living Heritage 

The Living Heritage entity is responsible for the implementation of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. It supports efforts to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, ensures respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned, and raises awareness of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage. The entity supports the governance mechanisms of the Convention, develops periodic reporting and the assessment of nominations to the listing mechanisms. It also administers the International Assistance mechanism of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund and monitors projects; designs and monitors global programmes, strategies and funding priorities; develops new knowledge and training content; organizes training; provides technical backstopping for policy development; builds and maintains partnerships; develops fund-raising proposals. 

  • Diversity of Cultural Expressions 

The Diversity of Cultural Expressions entity promotes the diversity of cultural expressions and the creative economy as vectors for sustainable development. Its mission is to ensure the effective implementation and monitoring of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist. The Entity fosters international cooperation by providing assistance to governments around the world to design, monitor, and evaluate policies that promote the diversity of cultural expressions and the creative economy. It also coordinates and monitors the Convention’s statutory obligations, notably by providing support for the sound decision-making of the Convention’s governing bodies through knowledge sharing and data collection, analysis, and distribution.

  • Communication, Cities and Events 

The Communications, Cities and Events unit provides coordination and services to the entire Culture Sector along three main poles: 1) Communication, including coordinating the publications and webpages of the Culture Sector; 2) Cities: coordinating the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), which promotes cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development; 3) Events: The unit also supports the planning and logistical organization of the statutory meetings of the Culture Conventions, and coordinates the organization of special events.

  • Culture and Emergencies  

The Culture and Emergencies entity acts as the Secretariat of the 1954 Convention on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and its two (1954 & 1999) Protocols, the 1970 Convention on the prevention of the illicit trafficking of cultural property and the 2001 Convention on underwater cultural heritage, as well as the 2015 Museums Recommendation and the museums programme. In addition, it is responsible for emergency preparedness and response in the area of culture.

  • Cultural Policies and Development 

The Cultural Policies and Development entity provides technical assistance to UNESCO Member States in the design, adaptation and implementation of cultural policies. The entity builds on UNESCO normative instruments and programmes in the field of culture and beyond, as well as advocates for the transformative role of culture in the broad public policy spectrum. It thus strengthens, assesses and measures the cross-cutting and multidimensional contribution of culture to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The entity is charged with the organization and follow-up of the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022 and works to integrate culture in the international agendas for sustainable development and peace and security, including through international and regional fora such as the G20.

  • Executive Office 

The Executive Office of the Culture Sector provides strategic advice, quality control and management support to the Assistant Director-General for Culture (ADG/CLT) and ensures the overall coordination of the development, implementation and monitoring of the approved programme and budget of the Culture Sector, as well as the communication with other sectors at UNESCO, with other agencies of the UN System and with external partners.

The Administrative Office of the Culture Sector provides a wide range of financial and administrative services in accordance with UNESCO's rules, regulations, and procedures in order to support the implementation of the Culture Sector programme. This includes general administrative and financial matters, human resources management issues and logistical support from resource planning to implementation, monitoring and liquidation of financial commitments.  

Interns also assist in the implementation of initiatives related to global priorities (Africa and Gender Equality), priority groups and transversal thematic areas, such as culture and education, culture and climate change, indigenous peoples, SIDS, and youth.


Duties and responsibilities 

In this framework, we are looking for candidates to join the Culture Sector as interns to work under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Culture (ADG/CLT), and the general supervision of the Director/Chief of Entity, and the direct supervision of the Head of Unit/Programme Specialist to contribute to the work of the Unit/Entity, in particular to:

  • Assist in the implementation and monitoring of Culture programmes and activities.
  • Contribute to the preparation of documents, reports, work plans and communication content including briefings, talking points, speeches and online content for the Sector.
  • Assist in conducting research, compiling data and carrying out analysis, drafting and preparing materials pertaining to the implementation of the UNESCO Culture Conventions.
  • Participate and assist with upcoming meetings, training workshops, events, webinars and conferences organized by the Sector, taking notes and preparing minutes.
  • Assist in building and maintaining working relationships with other Sectors/Entities, donors/partners, relevant national and international organizations, etc.
  • Contribute to any additional tasks and responsibilities as assigned by the Unit/Entity within the Culture Sector.


This assignment is expected to provide the intern with the opportunity to develop skills in some of the following areas, depending on the needs of the team during the internship:

  • Develop a fundamental understanding and overview of the mission and structure of the UNESCO Culture Sector in protecting and promoting cultural heritage and creativity.
  • Acquire an understanding of the mandate of UNESCO as well as its role and functioning as an international organization of the United Nations System.
  • Develop skills to elaborate internal and external written materials with diplomatic awareness and professional tone in an international context.
  • Gain experience working in a multicultural team and for an international organization.
  • Cultivate communication, social media and project management skills.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



You must be at least 20 years old to apply.

Academic qualifications:

At the time of your application to the internship programme:

You are currently enrolled in a graduate programme (Master’s degree, PhD, or equivalent, second university degree or higher).
You have recently graduated with a Master’s degree or PhD (or second degree as defined above), 12 months prior to the start of the internship.

Please note that candidates who have completed their full-time bachelor's degree but are not enrolled in a graduate programme are not eligible to apply.

Applicants in secretarial/assistant or technical/professional assignments must be enrolled in a secretarial school or in a specialized technical/professional institution, and must have reached the last year of their studies, or have recently graduated (within the last 12 months) from their school or institution.  


You should have an excellent command, both written and spoken, of English or French. A working knowledge of the other language (English or French) is an asset, and may be required for internships in secretarial and assistantship assignments at the Headquarters.

Computer skills: You must have an excellent knowledge of computer systems and office-related software.

Team player:

You should be able to work well in a team and adapt to an international working environment.

Communication skills:

You should possess strong interpersonal and communication skills.


UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments. 

Interns are entitled to 2.5 days of leave per month during their internship.


The UNESCO Internships Programme is open in January and July each year. Candidates shall apply to the vacancy that matches their personal expertise and domain. Candidates who successfully applied to the vacancy will stay in the intern talent pool and will be further assessed and selected by relevant hiring managers.  The candidature will be valid for 6 months. Candidates who have been selected will be contacted directly by the relevant hiring manager. Those who were not selected for an internship in the current cycle will need to reapply to the internship programme when the new internship vacancies are released.


  • Have your motivation letter and résumé ready before filling out the application form. You only have one hour to finish the process.
  • Make sure your contact details will be valid in next 6 months. 
  • You can only use either English or French in applying.
  • Please provide an unofficial French or English translation of your documents if they are not in these languages.
  • UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments.
  • Even if you are eligible, there is no guarantee of placement. We receive more applications from qualified candidates than we can place.
  • Your application will be further accessed by UNESCO managers around the world and will stay in our internship portal for a period of six months.
  • We do not respond to each and every candidate. If selected, you will be directly contacted by the manager. If you do not receive any update within six months, it means that your application has not been successful.