The Oxy at the UN is the largest program sponsored by Kahane, and Occidental is proud to sponsor the nation’s only full-time residential internship program available at the United Nations.

The William and Elizabeth Kahane United Nations Program at Occidental College (Oxy-at-the-UN) complements an intellectual foundation of two academic courses with a demanding full-time internship at UN-related agencies or country missions. Generally, internships are located in and around Midtown. Please see the student interviews and blogs about what the participants say about the impact of the program.

For Fall 2020, the program is continuing remotely.

A UN Program Fall 2021 Information Meeting will take place on October 15, 2020 at 12:00 (LA time).

Academics & Internships

All students must take two academic courses, including the academic internship and speakers series. Please note that all classes must be taken for letter grades.

  • DWA 401: Special Topics in UN (4 credits)
  • DWA 402: The United Nations and Conflict Prevention: Actors, Architecture, Tools, Practice (4 credits)
  • DWA 403: The UN Experience Internship (8 credits)

Internship Examples

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • World Tourism Organization
  • Guatemala Mission to the United Nations
  • United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations
  • Malta Mission to the United Nations
  • Costa Rica Mission to the United Nations
  • Rwanda Mission to the United Nations
  • Honduras Mission to the United Nations
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • U.N. Millenium Campaign
  • U.N. Women


  • 3.0 GPA; DWA 102 and Econ 101, plus a minimum of one additional course on international politics.
  • Junior in any major at the time of application; Senior standing during the program
  • Demonstrated commitment to the study of international issues.
  • Appropriate and well-articulated scholarly purposes for participation demonstrated in all parts of the application.
  • Neither on academic or disciplinary probation nor under investigation for violations which may result in probation between application and departure.
  • All holds cleared with campus departments and offices before leaving campus.

Cost & Housing

The following is information for the general in-person UN program (not for Fall 2020 due to its remote program structure).

You will be billed with the following:

  • Occidental tuition
  • Shared double room housing fee
  • Insurance (required for international students and those whose personal plans do not cover them in New York)

You will not be billed for:

  • A meal plan. However, the actual cost of meals in NY is estimated at $4,200. Financial Aid will repackage the semester cost of attendance accordingly and adjust aid packages in accordance with policy. A Financial Aid officer will determine how your package may be adjusted depending upon your needs. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with further questions.

Students live in shared double rooms at the 92Y Residence on the upper east side, 3 blocks from Central Park and near local transportation


Fall 2020 Remote Program Dates

August 31 - September 4: Orientation sessions, internship meetings, introductory classes
September 21 to 25: No class, full participation in UN General Assembly
October 12 to 16: Fall Break (pending internship approval)
November 23 - 27: Thanksgiving Break
December 7 - 11: Wrap up 
Internships and Portfolios & Class Presentations

Occidental College reserves the right to modify the program based on a variety of circumstances, including health and safety concerns and educational outcomes.

Program Contacts & Resources

Read about the program staff by clicking the names:
Cynthia Rothschild, Director, Oxy at the UN
Jacques Fomerand, Assistant Director, Oxy at the UN

For any questions about the applications and business logistics contact:
Marisa Mofford, Associate Director, International Programs

For any questions about the academic requirements contact:
DWA faculty

Program History

More than 400 Oxy students have participated in the Kahane Oxy-at-the-UN program since it was founded by Professor George Sherry in 1986. Students intern in an agency or related organization to the United Nations or a foreign mission to the UN, and are firsthand observers of major events on the international agenda. It is a fast-moving experience, challenging students to combine internship responsibilities with the related course work.

Established in 1945, the United Nations continues to deal with the new and ongoing challenges of security and development in the 21st-century context of globalization and unprecedented technological change. While some of the world's population has benefitted from these transformations, parts of the developing world continue to lag behind. The search for ways to narrow this gap is at the heart of the work of the United Nations as students arrive here each fall.

In September 2010, Occidental President Jonathan Veitch announced a $500,000 lead gift from Occidental trustee Bill Kahane '70 and his wife, Elizabeth, toward a permanent endowment for the program. In April 2014, the Kahane's further pledged $5.5 million to endow the program. This generous support not only provides a permanent endowment for the program, but it will also increase student scholarship support, give students greater access to cultural offerings in New York, support student travel to Washington, D.C., and make it possible to bring UN programming back to the Occidental campus.