With China about to become the biggest contributor to UNESCO, the organization is actively trying to hire more experts from the country, its human resources chief said.
Hong Kwon, director of the human resources management bureau of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said in a recent interview that the group sets quotas on the number of employees from different countries, based on how much money a country contributes.
The quota for Chinese staff at UNESCO is between 23 and 39, but will likely be raised to between 38 and 63 next year as China becomes the biggest contributor, Kwon said during a visit to Beijing Foreign Studies University last week.
He also visited Peking University and Fudan University in Shanghai to give lectures to students on how to apply to work at the organization.
"We have 25 Chinese staff members at UNESCO, including 10 geographic posts and 15 nongeographic posts that are not part of the quota. This means China is underrepresented in UNESCO and we are working very hard to increase the number of Chinese staff members," he said, adding that the new deputy director-general, Xing Qu, is from China.
The organization also has a training program, with 35 trainees from China working at UNESCO headquarters and field offices. That number will increase to 40 next year, he said.
UNESCO has been working closely with the Ministry of Education and Chinese universities to promote itself to Chinese students.
It hopes the Chinese government will provide more support for the work of UNESCO, both financially and in terms of recruiting talented staff, Kwon said.
"I believe the contribution of our Chinese staff members to UNESCO is immense. Chinese people are very hardworking and intelligent, with a particular passion for education, science and culture," Kwon said.
Because UNESCO is an international organization, working with people from different cultures and backgrounds can be a learning experience, he said, noting that the organization embraces meritocracy, meaning equal pay for equal work.
To apply for a position at UNESCO, one needs to participate in competency-based interviews and a written test, he said, adding that the competition can be fierce as the organization usually receives numerous applications for each post.
Dong Weiling, 25, who graduated from Kansai University in Japan this year, worked as an intern on the South-South cooperation team of the United Nations Development Programme from September 2017 to March this year. "Working at an international organization has helped to broaden my horizons and improved my language ability," he said, adding that the experience has also made him a more outgoing and confident person.