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GAO: International Agency Short on American Employees

By Christina A. Samuels — September 19, 2006 1 min read

Americans are an underrepresented group among the employees of three United Nations agencies, including the Paris-based UNESCO, the Government Accountability Office reported.

According to the Sept. 6 report by the watchdog arm of Congress, the U.N.’s target range for U.S. employee representation at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is 6.2 percent to 10.2 percent of total employees. Currently, Americans make up about 4.1 percent of UNESCO employees. The report notes that U.S. representation at UNESCO is low in part because the United States had not been a member of the organization for 19 years before rejoining in 2003.

Besides UNESCO, which promotes educational initiatives worldwide, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees were also noted as having low numbers of American employees.

The Department of State needs to post U.N. employment information on its Web sites, and should consider maintaining a roster of potential employees for high-priority positions, the GAO concludes.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of Education Week

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