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UNIC Tehran Marks International Volunteer Day with its Interns

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UNIC Tehran team highlighted important input by its interns and volunteers to UNIC’s day-to-day operations, while marking International Volunteer Day with its colleagues from the UN Communications Group at UN Office in Tehran on 5 December 2017.

Every year some 14-16 bright and well-educated students from Iranian universities are conducting their six-month long internship at UNIC Tehran.  

They use this opportunity not only to learn more about how UN functions, but to contribute to UNIC outreach campaigns and activities, help other Iranians to acquire information on UN and get engaged.  

“I saw a lot during my more than 26 years of UNIC career in Tehran, but it is today that I can’t imagine our office without these smart, energetic, creative, talented and knowledgeable young people.  They are involved in various tasks from translation of UN multimedia materials, shooting and subtitling videos, maintaining dialogue with public on social media to greeting Ambassadors and other guests at UN Day event and sharing their ideas at the UN Communications Group meetings and participating at Model UN Conferences,” said Mr. Mohammad Moghadam, UNIC National Information Officer. 

One of UNIC interns Ms. Negin Kamvizh, University of Tehran student, proudly added: “Every day at the UNIC office, I feel motivated, engaged and empowered, because I know that I am contributing to good and important causes.  When I am doing my translations of UN materials into Persian or post information on social media, I get firsthand knowledge on how UN operates and help other people to learn more about UN.”

She added: “I will stay friends with UNIC team and my peers-interns even after we formally finish our internship.  Now we all are part of big UNIC family.”

International Volunteer Day was mandated by the UN General Assembly and is held each year on 5 December. It is a chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts.

Ms. Ava Bahrami, student of the Sharif University of Technology commented with a smile: “Every interaction with UN colleagues empowers me to do something for the benefit of my beautiful country.  This opportunity gives me a sense of what important job UN officials do and I am proud to be a part of unique UNIC family.  I try to live life, following this ancient proverb: we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children”.

2017’s theme #VolunteersActFirst. Here. Everywhere. recognizes the contributions of volunteers as first responders in times of crisis.

Apart from mobilizing thousands of volunteers every year, UN Volunteers (UNV) contributes to peace and development by advocating for the recognition of volunteers and working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming. Every year, over 6,500 UN Volunteers serve with UN in some of the most challenging environments across the world, and 12,000 UN Online Volunteers complete over 20,000 assignments online through the UNV Online Volunteering service.

But not everybody knows that in 1968 during the 23rd session of the General Assembly, Iran proposed the establishment of an international corps of volunteers under the name “Universal Welfare Legion” to harvest the power of young and other people for the economic and social development of the least developed countries of the world.[i]  In recognition of the importance of volunteer service in development work and of the benefits of active participation by the younger generation in all aspects of social and economic life, the UN Volunteers programme was established by the 25th Session of the General Assembly in December 1970 (A/RES/XX/ 2659).[ii]  Iran initially provided most of the funding for this new UN programme.[iii]

In January 1971, UN Secretary-General, Mr. U Thant, appointed Iranian delegate Mr. Assad K. Sadry the first Co-ordinator of the UN Volunteers programme.[iv]  

Forty-one volunteers were able to take up their service in five countries in September 1971. Iran received its first group of volunteers in January 1972 to assist UNESCO in its work in combating illiteracy among agricultural and industrial communities in Dezful and Isfahan.[v]


[i] Iran. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Annual Report 1968/1347 (Tehran, MFA, 1968): 135.

[ii] United Nations General Assembly. “Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly during its Twenty-fifth Session: A/RES/2659 (XXV). Accessed 30 July 2017. http://research.un.org/en/docs/ga/quick/regular/25

[iii] Browne, Stephen, United Nations Development Programme and System (Abingdon, Oxon. Routledge, 2011): 29.

[iv] United Nations Office of Public Information. “Assad K. Sadry appointed Co-ordinator of United Nations Volunteers, 8 February 1971.”

[v] Iran. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Annual Report 1972/1351 (Tehran, MFA, 1972): 253. 
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