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I have had the honor & privilege to be selected/invited to sit for a United Nations (UN) exam in a little over a week and a half’s time. As part of the Young Professional’s Program at the UN, 40 applicants from the Architecture section per country were selected into this next pre-hiring phase. The exam will consist of an architectural drafting and practice section and an international affairs section. Following a successful score (graded by February or March), the ‘passers’ will be invited for oral interviews … and then, after much dwindling of the applicant pool I suspect, hiring by the United Nations.

‘Studying’ for this exam is ambiguous. The architecture portion seems to be more akin to a qualifications verification – things you should already know if you have been in the architectural-professional world and those things learned through academics. (One sample exam is provided to familiarize what types of questions will be asked and practical solutions exercises will need to be drafted.)

The second part of the exam I am finding quite enjoyable (and more than slightly daunting) to study for. What is happening in the entire world around you? Uh-huh. Got it. The UN YPP site recommends reading international newspapers and journals, like from the Times’ (London & NY & why not throw in Indian), The Economist, BBC World News, etc. for a complete picture of critical issues in the world. They also recommend knowing a little something about the UN Secretariat itself – makes sense to me. 😉

So, let’s see: continuing issues between Israel & Palestinian state? check. History, advances, goals & setbacks of the Arab Spring? check. China’s new president and their economic/political issues? check. The opening of borders to outsiders and aid organizations of Burma/Myanmar? check. Sub-Sahara Africa’s political (in)stability and recent discoveries of oil? check. Russia’s new law about foreign investor’s interfering with national politics (and thus their expulsion)? check. The Euro Zone debt crisis and actions to prevent entire countries from bankruptcy (success & failures)? check. Latin America’s drug wars? check. Slums/Informal settlements around the world and the UN’s millennium goals? check.

What else is happening in the world? I’ll find out this week 🙂 But I do quite enjoy this part – the learning bit.