A PreK-12, IB, coeducational, college-preparatory day school
A Unique Connection to the United Nations
An International Education
students learn about each other's cultures
Academic Excellence and a Global Understanding
Working Towards A Better World

News & Events

Over 70 Years of Excellence

Our Mission:

Under the auspices of the United Nations and guided by its ideals, UNIS provides an inclusive and diverse learning environment in which rigorous international programs foster academic excellence, innovation, creativity and cross-cultural communication to educate and inspire its students to become an active force in shaping a better world: peaceful, compassionate and sustainable .

students on playground
Junior School

In the UNIS Junior School, teachers are committed to delivering academic excellence while honing investigative skills and critical thinking. 

Pre-K—4th grade

Junior School

students in classroom
Middle School

In Middle School, we are focused on facilitating a meaningful transition to adolescence and addressing the ever changing, complex needs of the middle level learner, we are committed to providing learning experiences relevant to the lives of adolescents.

5th-8th grade

Middle School

student volunteers
Tutorial House

Our high school, the Tutorial House, covers grades nine to twelve, and provides a challenging and well-rounded global curriculum that culminates in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.

9th-12th grade

Tutorial House

first day of school - getting organized
Queens

UNIS Queens provides an international education for students K-8. Our campus provides an intimate learning environment, promoting individualized academic development and personal growth.

K—8th grade

Queens

timeline image - The Beginning of UNIS
1947

Our History Established in 1947

UNIS was established in 1947 by a group of United Nations parents to provide an international education for their children, while preserving their diverse cultural heritages. The school opened its doors in Lake Success, NY to thirty-six children who came from fifteen countries and spoke ten languages.The foundation of the school was to create a program in keeping with the spirit of the United Nations that is one making no distinction as to race, gender, language or religion.

United Nations
1950

Our History 1950

The school was relocated to a group of converted apartments in Parkway Village, Queens. In November 1950 the formal opening of the new quarters included a presentation of the United Nations Flag to the school by Henri Laugier, former Chairman of the International League of Human Rights and ASG for Social Affairs, on behalf of the Secretary-General. The school grew and each year a grade was added.

In 1958, the school was able to move into a vacant public school building at the corner of First Avenue and 70th Street. Six primary grade levels (Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, Middle A, and Middle B) accommodated students ages 5 to 10 plus. The Secondary Sequence (Middle C, Senior A, Senior B, Senior C) accommodated students ages 11 to 14 plus. The final two or three years of secondary school consisted of tutorial classes (15 to 17 years plus) offering preparation for national exams such as the American College Boards or the British A and O Level examinations.

children of the UN
1960

Our History 1960

The school was not only referred to as “an important element in the working conditions of the Secretariat" (representative of France) but as “ a challenging educational experiment” (representative of Venezuela), “a centre of international understanding” (representative of Belgium) and “a most successful international venture of its kind” (representative of Uruguay). 

In 1964, Secretary-General U Thant personally undertook the presentation of diplomas to the first class to graduate at the United Nations. In his words, "there, children of different races and nationalities, religions and cultures lived side by side. That intermingling afforded opportunities for combining the technology of the West with the intellectual qualities and philosophy of the East. United by their similarities and enriched by their differences, UNIS pupils were growing and learning in a harmonious atmosphere of work and co-operation.”

1965

Our History 1965

The Ford Foundation offered UNIS a grant of $7.5 million for the construction of a new school building. New York City authorities suggested the possibility of building at the foot of 25th Street on land to be created by filling in or constructing a platform over part of the East River. A special gift of $1 million was offered by the Rockefeller family to meet the coast of developing the site. 

1967

Our History 1967

In 1967 UNIS was one of the eleven schools participating in the newly founded International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. UNIS agreed to accept the diploma as the school's highest standard. The introduction of the International Baccalaureate would particularly benefit those wishing to enter universities in countries other than the United States, but it would also qualify successful candidates for acceptance and for advanced placement in American colleges and universities.



 

1971

Our History 1971

The painting of Pablo Picasso's daughter Maya was reproduced, with the artist's permission, on a commemorative United Nations postage stamp. The proceeds from the sale of the stamp were to benefit UNIS and the International School of Geneva. The architectural firm of Harrison and Abramovitz was appointed to prepare building plans for the new school in consultation with Ford Foundation specialists and prominent school architects in other countries to ensure that the new UNIS building would incorporate the most progressive ideas in school architecture. In a ceremony in the General Assembly, Secretary-General U Thant dedicated the corner-stone plaque for the permanent UNIS building, thus marking the start of actual construction of a four-story complex that would be able to open its doors to 1,200 pupils in September 1972, on the occasion of the school’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

1977

Our History 1977

UNIS Humanities teacher Sylvia Gordon inspired students to organize a conference on relevant global issues to take place annually in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. She wanted to create a forum at which UNIS students and other students from both local and international schools could meet, discuss and debate critical world issues such as Human Rights, Development, The Energy Crisis, Global Health, Human Trafficking, Disarmament, Population and Migration. Today the conference continues to be completely student run and organized and is shared with over 300 students participating from local and international schools.

Watch the First UNIS UN Conference

 

1983

Our History 1983

In 1983, UNIS purchased a two-story school building located in the residential neighborhood of Jamaica Estates. The new Queens campus has its own gym, green space, private playground and houses JA (Kindergarten) to 8th grade students.

1997

Our History 1997

In celebration of the 50th birthday of the United Nations School, UNIS held a Festival of the Arts featuring musical performances, film screenings, visual art exhibit and artistic presentations by UNIS students, parents, faculty and staff. A gala dinner was held at the River Cafe in Brooklyn as the culmination of the celebrations.

2016

Our History 2016

Nearly 200 fifth and sixth graders squealed in excitement as they pulled on light blue t-shirts and scrambled to get into lines. "Your Promise, Our Future," read the message emblazoned on the back, and with little fanfare, they all departed the school in the early daylight to make their way to the United Nations. Deep inside the United Nations General Assembly Hall, the students would witness the historic signing of the major climate proposal agreed upon by much of the world the previous November in Paris.

 

2017

Our History 2017

UNIS celebrates its 70th anniversary by looking at its rich history, the events that shaped the school from its humble beginnings and the successes thousands of students have achieved thanks in great part to their UNIS experience. The education that the school provides---the strong academics and curriculum, the International Baccalaureate, the language, arts, and athletics programmes paired with the experiences beyond the classroom---help prepare students to be global citizens and make significant contributions to shape a better world. 

Uniquely UNIS

More About UNIS

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1600

students enrolled

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109

countries represented by students

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9

languages offered

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91

mother-tongue languages spoken by students

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IB 

founding school, bilingual diplomas offered

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500+

students attending since kindergarten

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69

countries represented by faculty

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50%

UN families

Global CitizensUnited Nations Connection

As the school of the UN, UNIS promotes a culture and curriculum that support the spirit and ideals of the UN. Our unique connection with the UN provides students with many unique opportunities to meet, work with, and visit the UN and its leaders. 

The UN & UNIS

UN Assembly
UNIS UN

UNIS-UN is a student run conference, held in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters, with the goal of providing an intellectually enriching experience for their peers from around the world. 

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students on UN day
UN Day

UN Day marks the day the United Nations officially came into being. At UNIS, we celebrate UN Day as a way to recognize and celebrate our diversity, shared humanity, and connection to the United Nations. 

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Modern Languages

modern languages
UN Day - students lays down flower
outside classroom
world language
UN Day activity
presentation
first day of school - lunch time
first day of school - friends at table
students sit around UNIS Logo
modern languages

9 languages are offered at UNIS.

English is the language of instruction and is taught as a secondary language.

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Excellent AcademicsUNIS Programs

UNIS proudly offers extensive programming for our students, anchored by our International Baccalaureate program, our comprehensive travel program, and our dynamic arts and athletics programs. 

students pose for photo
IB Program

The International Baccalaureate is the capstone of the academic program at UNIS.An integrated program for the last two years of secondary school, the IB offers a comprehensive curriculum, both broad and deep, which emphasizes rigor and excellence in academic preparation. UNIS has participated in the IB from its earliest days.

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students build buildings out of cardboard
Travel

UNIS offers students curricular and extra curricular trip opportunities that enrich and enhance their classroom experience, through language, culture, and/or exchange programs.

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band practice
Arts

UNIS arts programs offer opportunities for studio practice, problem solving, and cultural investigation through classical and contemporary music, acting, directing, and playwriting, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, computer graphics, and digital photography.

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Winter Track 2018
Athletics

UNIS has an extensive Athletics program, running across three distinct seasons: Fall, Winter and Spring for students in 7th-12th grades (M3-Tut 4), and consist of 38 school teams. 

UNIS is a member of New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). 

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