Unpaid UN Intern Who Slept In A Tent Resigns Amid All The Controversy
A New Zealand man who took an unpaid internship at the United Nations quit his job due to the media coverage of his living situation.
According to The Guardian, 22-year-old David Hyde flew 11,000 miles to Geneva, Switzerland to take the unpaid position two weeks ago.
His interview for the position asked whether or not he'd be able to support himself, and the international relations graduate admits he lied to remain eligible.
He told Tribune de Genève,
The UN was clear about their intern policy from the start: no wage or stipend, no transport help, no food allowance, no health assistance. I understood this, and in that regard, I have to take responsibility for taking the internship in the first place.
Hyde looked for an affordable place to live but came up short. So, he bought a tiny tent and began living by the side of Lake Geneva, just outside of a botanical garden.
As if sleeping on a roll-up, foam mattress wasn't difficult enough, the camping spot was also not far from the lavish UN Beach Club where Hyde would watch colleagues drink and "have a good time" at night. Hyde managed to maintain a tidy appearance, and he brought a gas-powered stove to work every day to make lunch.
Of unpaid internships, Hyde said,
How do the others do it? Ultimately, only those whose parents can afford it get a chance.
Hyde's mother told Stuff.co.nz while she would gladly provide financial assistance, her son would never accept it thanks to his "strong view on principles and how people should be treated.”
On Wednesday, Hyde announced his resignation from the internship program; he reportedly told Agence France-Presse his spotlight in the media made it "too difficult to continue to focus" as an intern.
According to The Guardian, the UN's Geneva agencies employ 162 interns a year -- 68.5 percent of whom were unpaid in 2013.
During a UN briefing, UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters interns are unpaid due to a decision by its general assembly, but the UN "would welcome a change to that resolution."
Hyde is now urging interns across the globe to campaign for fair compensation for their hard work.