UN Namibia Stresses the Importance of Education for Sustainable Development at NUST Dialogue

14 September 2016

On Wednesday, 14 September 2016, the UN System in Namibia visited the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) for the Public Dialogue: 2016 International Education Day, under the theme "ensuring international cooperation to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".

Before the dialogue started, students and lecturers read through United Nations publications at an exhibit run by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek. The UNIC Windhoek Team displayed publications from various UN Agencies that work in Namibia in an effort to enlighten the public about the United Nations, its work specifically in Namibia and its efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through diverse projects.

Scores of curious students and lecturers visited the exhibition, and many students picked up publications that related to their fields of study in order to assist in achieving their individual education goals and to increase their knowledge. Other students inquired about the requirements necessary to intern at the various UN agencies located in Namibia, sharing their goals of working for the United Nations.

Then, the auditorium quickly filled up with people and professor Tjama Tjivikua, the NUST Vice-Chancellor, opened the dialogue. Stressing the importance of education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 Quality Education, he said, "every day is Education Day because every day we learn something." 

Students, who had taken part in NUST's exchange programme, then shared their experience and noted the importance of international exchange opportunities and how the knowledge they gained from these experiences helped them to become global citizens.

Ms. Ruska Paronen, an exchange student from Finland explained that she has learned a lot from being in a new country and talking with her peers, saying that ‘learning by discussion’ has been extremely beneficial to her learning experience in Namibia. Mr. Chasi Tanaswa Benevolence, a student who had studied on exchange in Germany, discussed the technology he learned about which will assist him in engineering a greener Namibia in the future.

The dialogue then moved to a discussion on the importance of Sustainable Development, with Dr. Zivayi Chiguvare discussing NUST’s implementation of Goal 7. Mentioning the Paris Agreement as well as how world leaders will meet for the 71st session of the General Assembly, he explained that NUST is united with the United Nations in its efforts to combat climate change as it has introduced various programmes that educate students about sustainable energy. These programmes aim to prepare young professionals for careers through which they work towards achieving access to clean and affordable energy for all people.

The UNRC to Namibia Ms. Kiki Gbeho then spoke about the role of higher learning in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Gbeho said, “I am sure that you are all aware that Namibia is still characterized by sharp disparities in terms of energy access between urban and rural areas. The electrification rate for urban households was estimated to be around 70%, whereas for rural households, it has only reached about 25 % in 2011.”

She continued, “To close this gap the academic, research, and business communities need to join hands. The NUST hosts the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI) that is appropriate to lead and model a research area.”

The UNRC stressed the important role tertiary institutions play in achieving the SDGs and reiterated the United Nations support. “The UN is well placed to share knowledge, disseminate global best practice and support the process of strengthening partnerships and developing catalytic solutions to national challenges,” she said.

The director of Ceremonies Dr. Marius Kudumo, who is also the director of International Relations, closed the dialogue after a vote of thanks from Dr. Anna Matros-Goreses, director of Project Services Unit.

Following the dialogue, the public once again visited UNIC Windhoek’s exhibition. After many of the publications and informative pamphlets had been distributed, the UNIC Windhoek team gave the remaining few items to the NUST lecturers to be displayed in the campus library.

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Iranian Celebrities Launch “Together for SDGs” Campaign

13 September 2016

The “Together for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” ambitious nation-wide campaign was launched in Tehran on Tuesday 13 September by renowned Iranian artists.  Its purpose is to introduce the SDGs to the Iranian public. 

The UN Information Center in Iran is currently enlisting Iranian celebrities to reframe the 17 official-sounding SDGs into a language which tells a story on both personal and emotional level.  This was the purpose of the launch of the campaign.

Popular writer, theater and movie star Bahareh Rahnama, actor Kourosh Tahami and actress Kamand Amirsoleimani launched the campaign at a press conference held in the presence of UN Resident Coordinator Gary Lewis and UNIC Director Maria Dotsenko in the UN building in Tehran.

In short video clips, renowned Iranian movie, theater and music stars will promote the 17 SDGs, using social networks and traditional media, spreading SDGs messages among millions of their fans and the general public. 

Addressing the gathering, Lewis said: “The SDGs are very relevant to Iran. National priorities – including the draft 6th Five-Year National Development Plan currently being reviewed in the Majlis – are being set in order to address the major issues such as poverty eradication, sustainable management of water and sanitation, renewable energy resources, combating desertification, deforestation and dust storms and energy efficiency improvement. All these are in line with what the 2030 Agenda hopes to address.  We have noted that 20 articles in the NDP are directly linked to the SDGs” Lewis said.  

In addition to the above-mentioned celebrities, another well-known artist Dr. Mahmoud Azizi also participated in the campaign whose video was screened along with the other artists’ clips.

Addressing a large number of journalists, Dotsenko said that the campaign is a tremendous initiative and a joint effort of a group of enthusiastic and dedicated professionals, who work on a pro-bono basis since they truly believe in UN Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals.   “We really appreciate the generosity of these busy people,” she added.

Referring to the Sustainable Development Goals, she said these Goals are aimed to make our Planet better and safer to live for us and the future generations, exactly as the UN Secretary General said:  "there can be no Plan B, because there is no Planet B."

The “Together for SDGs” campaign is supported by the UN Information Center in Tehran and the UN Resident Coordinator.  It was initiated and is managed by the journalist Mahyar Javadifar who is being supported by UNIC Consultant Sepideh Asgari.  Cameraman Farhad Javid, as well as video-editors Davood Najibi and Tannaz Parvan, are working on the clips for the campaign.

All the clips are available at UNIC link and www.un.org.ir and have been posted on the UN social media.

Link to all three videos of celebrities and teaser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCgbC004D48 (Teaser)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctPRfKXYE3U (Celebrity Bahareh Rahnama)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD3PuhX7XOg (Celebrity Dr. Mahmood Azizi)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1QYnkLR9gc (Celebrity Kourosh Tahami)

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UNIC Beirut Launches One-Year Partnership with Media Association for Peace

08 September 2016

The UN Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut) has launched a one-year partnership with Lebanon-based “Media Association for Peace” (MAP). The partnership aims at promoting the role of media in advocating for peace, and contributing to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”. The partnership also falls under SDG 17: “Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development”, which calls for similar partnerships to secure successful implementation of Agenda 2030 on sustainable development.

The partnership includes a series of activities that will be implemented throughout the year starting with the International Day of Peace on 21 September. They include the launch of the first publication of its kind in Lebanon and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, “Media, Peace and the Environment” book, the organization of the 6th Annual Peace Journalism Workshop revolving around human rights reporting, with focus on the status of refugees; as well as other relevant events.

UNIC Beirut Director Margo Helou said the partnership goes in line with this year’s theme of International Day of Peace “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace”. “Media is an indispensable element for peace especially in light of the abundance in the number of print, audio-visual and electronic media that have become part of our daily life, and are influencing most of our decisions,” she said. Helou added that media is “a main pillar in promoting the culture of peace among various audiences.” She concluded by saying that implementing the SDGs requires hard work by all segments of society, in addition to building partnerships and securing cooperation to develop a shared vision, which places people at the centre and promotes their well-being.

Founded in 2013 by journalist and activist Vanessa Bassil, MAP is the first non-governmental organization in Lebanon, and the MENA region dedicated to working on the role of “Media in Peace, Conflict and Social Change through the concept of Peace Journalism”.

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#WCW: UNIC Windhoek Celebrates Senior Legal Aid Officer Jozanne Klazen

08 September 2016

Each Wednesday, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments. This Wednesday, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Jozanne Klazen, a Senior Legal Aid Officer at the Directorate: Legal Aid of the Ministry of Justice. In an interview with UNIC Windhoek, Jozanne discusses her career, how the law can be used to promote gender equality and the importance of women’s empowerment. Check out her interview!

1.) Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career?

I completed my Bachelors of Laws (LL.B) degree in 2012 at the University of the Free State, in the Republic of South Africa. During my undergraduate studies, I was a tutor for Legal Practice and Legal Skills and was asked to coach the first and second year students in oral arguments and writing. I was also responsible for designing a tutor’s guide that entailed designing flow charts to display legal processes and step-by-step instructions for assignments. This experience afforded me the skills to train and work with a large group of people from diverse backgrounds.

In 2012, I participated in the Ninth Willem C. Vis (East) Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition that was held in Hong Kong. That same year, I was a founding member and the leader of a female hostel for off-campus students, Arista, at the University of the Free State. The next year, I completed the Justice Training Course along with the required attachment at a law firm.

I passed the legal practitioner’s qualifying examination and was duly admitted as a legal practitioner in the High Court of Namibia on 8th August 2014. That year, I also completed several courses towards a Master’s degree in Criminology, and my final thesis is still pending.

In June 2015, I was appointed as senior legal aid officer by the Directorate: Legal Aid, Ministry of Justice. I was stationed in Rehoboth to open and manage the first Legal Aid office. I represent clients in criminal matters on instructions from the Directorate.

In addition to my official representations, my office also assists and advises the public on legal matters and assists them with legal aid applications. My office receives referrals from social workers, who are housed at the Rehoboth Magistrates’ Court premises, and when I am available, I advise the referrals on further legal steps.

2.) What challenges have you come across, if any, because of your gender throughout your career?

I have been lucky that I have not experienced any obvious challenges based on my gender. Being relatively young throughout my career so far, I succeeded in my first job application and have been selected for leadership positions in every organisation I have joined thus far. However, in all fairness, my past positions have been at female-based organisations, and sexism was not an issue.

As a feminist, I also tend to lead towards organisations with a female empowerment agenda. I realise making it in a male-dominated industry is challenging and sexism is still well alive in Namibia, but luckily, the Directorate: Legal Aid has a relatively balanced workforce and no apparent sexism can be noted.

3.) What are your thoughts on women's empowerment, and why is it important? Women’s empowerment starts with women’s education, training and employment. I believe the family unit is an important cornerstone of society, and unfortunately, today, in Namibia, the bulk of the domestic life responsibilities still rests primarily on the mothers.

Our labour laws afford protection for women who wish to start a family, but unfortunately, organisations are still slow to recognise that a multitasking woman may require adjusted working hours and more flexible working conditions.

I believe women’s empowerment is important because it creates a society where women are afforded the choices to be successful in all spheres of society they wish to enter. One specific insult to women’s empowerment is our lack of laws protecting the woman’s right over her body and reproduction.

4.) How can the legal profession promote gender equality?

Currently, we still suffer a disparity with female judicial officers, especially in the Supreme Court and High Court of Namibia. Also, it is important to promote and support more females to aspire to join advocacy. There is a disparity among practising female and male advocates in Namibia. The law society and the Bar for Advocates provide opportunity for training, but generally not specifically targeting woman.

5.) Do you think the law in Namibia promotes gender-justice?

On paper, the law may promote gender justice, but routinely female accused persons are given leniency based on their gender or seldom persecuted for maintenance claims. Women are made to believe they are fragile and in need of extra consideration solely based on their gender.

Men are not generally openly encouraged to report domestic abuse from their female domestic partners. Units in the police force are named “Women and Child Abuse Centers” when it should cater for all domestic abuse cases. The language and accommodations made for females reinforce gender roles and priorities in society. Not to disregard the statistics, but it is important to address the language and messages woman receive about their place in society.

6.) What is your advice to girls following their dreams? Realising your dreams comes with the intense study of yourself. Realising a dream is easier if the dream takes into account all your attributes. And the lucky thing about attributes is that you can always learn new ones and improve on old ones. Following a dream at times means you are the only one that believes you can achieve it, and once you have tried and failed to explain or rally support, at the end of the day you have to use what you have to get what you need in order to follow your dreams.

Sometimes it is a lonely road, but find a company in other women/men who are also following their dreams. Look to people who have achieved a dream similar to yours or are on the path with you or someone that inspires an aspect of your dream.

7.) What is your motto in life?

I find encouragement in the saying that, “You only fail once you have given up”.

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