The Italian Junior Professional Officers Programme – also known as the JPO Programme – is a multilateral technical cooperation initiative sponsored by the the Government of Italy and implemented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA). . It enables Italian citizens holding an advanced university degree (Master’s level) who have an excellent knowledge of English and Italian and who are not more than 30 years of age (33 for graduates in medicine and surgery) to gain work experience with international organizations for a period of two years.
The purpose of the Programme is two-fold: on the one hand, it assists international organizations in carrying out their activities by providing them with skilled personnel for a period of two years; on the other, it allows young qualified professionals seeking an international career the opportunity of two years’ work experience that will broaden their chances of finding a suitable job in international organizations or in the international field.
The Programme stems from a United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution adopted in 1961, which approved and encouraged the collaboration of volunteers (funded by their respective countries of origin) in development cooperation initiatives and programmes.
Italy joined this scheme in the mid-1970’s and over the years developed it into a full Programme, extending its sponsorship from the UN Secretariat and relevant Bodies to entities and specialized agencies of the UN system, as well as other international organizations with which the Italian Government has entered into specific agreements. To date, Italy has sponsored more than 1,600 Junior Professional Officers. In agreement with the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) disseminates information on the Italian JPO Programme, manages the application process and performs the assessment and short-listing of candidates. Responsibility for the final selection of candidates lies with the respective UN agencies and international organizations to which the Junior Professional Officers will be assigned.