New Zealander appointed to UNESCO Young Professionals Programme

Tim Francis

Cantabrian Tim Francis has been selected from over 900 applicants from across the globe to be part of the UNESCO Young Professionals Programme (YPP). The programme offers young people an opportunity to join UNESCO at the early stage of their professional career.

Tim was nominated by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and, following his successful appointment, has joined the Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris.

Tim explains his interest in the YPP: “I applied to the Young Professionals Programme as it is really the perfect launch pad into UNESCO and the U.N. system. I also think coming from New Zealand gives me a unique contribution to make. Being from a small country a long way from the rest of the world means innovation and perseverance are key and I see New Zealand as a model for what others could achieve in the areas of media and communication. I’m definitely hoping to bring a little of New Zealand into activities that I’m involved with.”

In his new role Tim will work within the section for media development and diversity. He will be looking at various media-related issues, including sensitive coverage of terrorism, migration and gender equality, as well as supporting the development of community media.

Tim was born and raised in Christchurch and studied at the University of Otago in Dunedin. Like many Kiwis, Tim left New Zealand after graduating to explore the world and experience different cultures and environments. Along the way, he worked in a number of diverse roles, including, marketing for a large hotel company, as well as teaching English, launching a mobile application development company and then working for UNESCO as part of its communication response to the recent destruction of cultural heritage sites in Iraq and Syria.

“Living in different countries and amongst different cultures taught me that tolerance is possible. I’m really drawn to this idea UNESCO has of global citizenship; that in addition to being a proud New Zealander, or Korean or Romanian, we can also identify as citizens of the world, and contribute to solving issues on a global scale,” he says.

The YPP selection process is highly competitive and the current young professionals were chosen from an initial pool of 907 candidates submitted by 86 National Commissions.

The UNESCO Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is managed by UNESCO in Paris. The role of the New Zealand National Commission is to nominate New Zealand citizen candidates. The countries eligible for the programme rounds change from time to time, so there is no guarantee that New Zealand will be included in the next round.

Please visit the UNESCO website for further information.