The United Nation (UN) held an entrance exam in Beijing on Wednesday. The exam is part of an initiative to recruit young professionals into the international organization.
To work at the UN, one has to pass the language test and has the ability of adaptation to multicultural environment, and familiarity for the operation rules of the UN, explains Zhang Dan, vice-president of the U.N. Association of China(UNAC).
About 5,000 candidates will sit the exam, including the UN staff. Each year as many as 50,000 people apply for the exam, says the Central Committee organizing the examination. Candidates from around 60 countries took the exam, with at most 40 places for each country in a department.
In China, highly competitive examinations are no strangers to the thousands of the hopefuls taking the exam. This exam falls within months of both the Chinese National Civil Service Examination and the Beijing Civil Service Examination. This year the UN recruits for economic affairs and information and telecommunication technology, reported thepaper.cn.
"I work in a bank, it’s been hard for me to finish the exam though I’ve prepared for them according to the reference books," says an applicant from south China’s Guangdong Province.
The written exam takes four and a half hours and evaluates language and knowledge ability. The first part tests the applicants’ substantive knowledge, analytical thinking and drafting abilities and must be written in either English or French. The second part must be written in any of the six official UN languages (Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian).
A Beijing applicant said they had to answer questions about two treaties relating to cross-border crime and corruption, and the Nash theorem. There were 50 choice and 11 subjective questions.
The exam is only the first part of the recruitment process, passing it means an interview including a competency-based evaluation, before the final recruitment can commence.
For those who might not make it into the programme, an internship is a possible and easier option.
The UN secretariat has 41,000 members of staff. The Chinese account for 461 and work mostly as translators or general service providers. Only around 70 of them engage in direct management and decision making, according to theUNAC.