In 2003, the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic Social Affairs (UN DESA) established an orientation programme for newly recruited Junior Professional Officers (JPO). Thanks in part to a partnership with Italy, the first donor and Member State participant of the programme, UNSSC was able to launch this unique opportunity for young professionals.  

In 2004 - 46 Junior Professional Officers (JPOs) became the second cohort of young leaders entering the UN system. Included in this group was a young Laura Lungarotti (Italy), who was at the start of her career as JPO with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Egypt. Today, Laura leads a staff of four hundred as the IOM Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans and Chief of Mission in the IOM Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

In this Interview with Laura, Aida Ghazaryan, learning portfolio manager in charge of the JPO Orientation Programme at UNSSC, dives deep into the very beginnings of the orientation programme, how it was conceived as a pre-deployment learning experience, and its impact on the career and leadership trajectory of its participants, including the networking opportunities with other young professionals.  

Together, Aida and Laura reflect on the learnings that Laura continues to apply to this day, which have supported her throughout her career, and which were strengthened by the orientation programme. Laura will also offer advice for future JPOs and the key characteristics they need for a successful career with the United Nations. 

This is Laura’s story (transcript):