The World Association of Former United Nations Internes and Fellows, Inc. (WAFUNIF) was founded on June 16, 1978 under the leadership of Dr. Hope White-Davis. WAFUNIF has members in 193 countries and all the regions of the world, while maintaining a small operational footprint via a single office, located at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Its constitutional mandate and activities implemented since its creation are oriented to advance the work of its Alma Mater - The United Nations System. WAFUNIF is an all volunteer United Nations non-profit organization that has earned the title of official United Nations Peace Messenger by building diverse, global teams to solve some of the world's biggest problems.
Our Mission Statement
WAFUNIF exists to provide administrative and networking support to incoming, active, and former interns and fellows of the United Nations. Additionally, through our network, WAFUNIF facilitates collaborations among UN sister organizations, public and private sector organizations, academia, and individuals that make positive progress towards fulfilling the United Nation's working agenda. To learn more about the United Nation's working agenda, click here.
The main goals that WAFUNIF pursues are to:
- Be a networking organization for active and former interns and fellows of the UN;
- Promote internship and fellowship opportunities available at the UN;
- Promote research, information, and education at all levels to help improve public understanding of the principles, activities, and potential of the United Nations;
- Advocate for internships, scholarships, training programs within the United Nations system;
- Participate in the fulfillment of the United Nations seventeen Sustainable Development Goals;
- Plan or participant in collaborative projects that align with the organizational values.
WAFUNIF was founded by internes engaged in a research project of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) entitled "A Survey of United Nations Internships and Fellowships", under the direction of the late Professor Emeritus Dr. Helen C. Lahey-Rammel and Dr. Hope White-Davis.
Impressed with the recurrent demand by former internes and fellows for the formation of an "alumni" association to keep them in touch with the United Nations system, these young people sought and received support from the Institute. In 1978, WAFUNIF was founded and subsequently received in 1980-1981 the status as a non-for-profit, tax exempt, international non-governmental organization in Category II (now Special Category), Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI), now the Department of Global Communications.
In October 1983, the Trade and Development Board accorded WAFUNIF Consultative status in the General Category with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. In recognition of WAFUNIF's significant contribution to the International Year of Peace, the former UN Secretary-General H. E. Dr. Javier Perez de Cuellar designated WAFUNIF as a United Nations Peace Messenger on September 15th 1987.
Dr. Hope White-Davis, the co-founder of WAFUNIF was appointed President of the organization in 1978 and led WAFUNIF until 2009. From 2009 to 2018, Prof. Dr. Ibne Hassan took the role as the President of the organization. In 2018, leadership transferred to the current President, Liliana Bucur Cress. More information about the organization's governance can be found here.