The Oxy-at-the-U.N. Program is the largest program sponsored by Kahane, and Occidental is proud to sponsor the only undergraduate internship opportunity available at the United Nations.

Student interviews and blogs document the impact of the Oxy-at-the-U.N. Program under the guidance of director Douglas Gardner.

Program Overview

The William and Elizabeth Kahane United Nations Program at Occidental College (Oxy-at-the-U.N.) complements an intellectual foundation of two academic courses with a demanding full-time internship at UN-related agencies or country missions. 

  • Fall 2018 included mandatory travel to Washington, D.C.
  • Internship assignment is based on personal qualifications and the needs of organizations. No specific placements are guaranteed. 

Academic Program

Two academic courses, including the academic internship and speakers series:

  • DWA 401: Human Development Task Force at the United Nations ~ 4 credits
  • DWA 402: The United Nations and Conflict Prevention:  Actors, Architecture, Tools, Practice ~ 4 credits
  • DWA 403: The UN Experience ~ 8 credits (Internships)

No portion of Oxy-at-the-U.N. may be taken Credit/No Credit.

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.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the study of international issues.
  • Junior in any major at the time of application; Senior standing during the program 
  • 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.


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


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 need. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with further questions.


Fall 2019 Dates:

August 28 – Arrive in New York City
September 3 – Internships & classes begin

September 23 to 27 – no class, full participation in UN General Assembly

October 10, 11 – Trip to Washington, DC

November 21, 22 - Trip to Cambridge, MA - Seminars at Harvard University
Fri, Dec 13 – Program ends
Sat, Dec 14 – Students Depart


  • New York City; Manhattan. Generally, internships are located in and around Midtown.
  • Travel to Washington, D.C.

Faculty Director

Douglas Gardner is the on-site faculty director of Oxy-at-the-U.N. He brings expertise garnered through 30 years of service around the globe in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Most recently he served as the New York-based UNDP deputy assistant administrator, focusing on policy development and implementation within UNDP’s 136 offices worldwide. His career as a field-based development practitioner started as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso and included UNDP posts in Cambodia, the Ukraine and Mongolia.  Contact:

Assistant Director

A native of France, Jacques Fomerand studied law and graduated in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Aix en Provence. He completed his graduate studies at the City University of New York where he earned a Ph.D degree in political science with a specialization in comparative government and international organization. Joining the United Nations in 1977, Professor Fomerand followed economic and social questions in the Office of the Under-Secretary General of the former Department for International Economic and Social Affairs (DIESA). He was Chief of the Inter-Organizational Co-operation Section of DIESA when he was reassigned to the United Nations University in 1992.  Contact:

Resources at Occidental

The faculty of the Diplomacy and World Affairs department are an invaluable resource about the academic requirements and content of the Oxy-at-the-U.N. Program. In partnership with the DWA department, Marisa Grover Mofford in the International Programs Office coordinates the administrative aspects of the program, including the application process, pre-departure information and  on-site vendor communications. Contact:

Program History

More than 400 Oxy students have participated in the Kahane Oxy-at-the-U.N.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 U.N., 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, it will 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 U.N. programming back to the Occidental campus.