Gazi Model United Nations Celebrates Diversity

26 March 2015

 

On 26 March, Gazi University a Model United Nations (MUN) conference was organized with the participation of 350 students from 25 different countries.

UNIC Ankara’s Information Officer delivered the key note speech at the opening ceremony and urged the students to support the United Nation’s post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

He added that the MUN meeting titled  “Diplomatic Diversity: Building Bridges from Near West to Far East” was a very timely event as this year the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary and the international community is set to establish the post-2015 sustainable development agenda that will cover the period until 2030. 

The Information Officer added that the world needed to hear more young voices defending the Earth and the “Future We Want”. 

“The future we want is possible only if we collectively mobilize both the political will and the necessary resources to strengthen our nations and the international system. This is the main way to bridge the gap between West and East, North and South, and, we should not forget that we need a stronger UN for a better World” he said as he ended his speech.

UNIC Ankara is in close cooperation with the university students to get their support for the UN work in Turkey and its global priorities.

UNIC also works together with MUN clubs belonging to universities and high schools, including international relations university clubs on a regular basis.

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Remembering Victims of Slavery

25 March 2015

UNIC Bujumbura organized and hosted in its compound – on 25 March 2015 - a series of activities in commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 

A student briefing on Slavery in general and on transatlantic slave trade in particular was organized and the speakers were History Teachers from Lycée Vugizo and Lac Tanganyika Lycée secondary schools of Bujumbura, as well as the UNIC NIO who made introductory remarks talked about the UN and the slavery remembrance programme and presented the Secretary General’s message on the Day.

The film, “They are We”, was also introduced and screened for the students. The students, interested by the topic, asked many questions and on the UN and on Slavery. They also expressed the lesson learned from the whole programme. 

UNIC printed and displayed in its compound, the French version of the exhibition, "Women and Slavery" produced by the Outreach Division of DPI .The students were concentrated on reading the stories on the exhibit. The banners and posters on the above Day promoting the theme, “women and slavery” were also printed and displayed with the exhibition. The UN70 logo was also printed and used with the event and the NIO seized the opportunity of the above commemoration to talk about the UN Anniversary.

Students shocked to see relics of slave trade as UNIC Lagos takes slavery remembrance to Slave Port

25 March 2015

The setting was in Badagry, a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated Slave Trade Route and widely noted as a key port in the export of slaves to the Americas. A walk through the semi-urban historic town revealed a vivid reflections of the place the town occupies in the tragic history of Slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Interestingly, the community boasts of several slave trade museums, most of which are private, established by families whose forefathers were direct victims of slavery or collaborators of slave traders.

Badagry was, no doubt, a perfect location to commemorate the International Day of remembrance of victims of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in partnership with African Renaissance Foundation, organised a series of activities to mark the Day. These included an Art Exhibition on the 2015 theme: ‘Women and Slavery’; screening of ‘They are We’ film; students’ briefing; awareness rally; slave dance/cultural display and visits to two Slave Trade Museums and the Slave Port. 

"This year’s Day of Remembrance, according to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, “pays particular tribute to the many women who suffered and died during the slave trade. ... Women slaves played a key role in maintaining the dignity of their communities. Too often their leadership and brave resistance have been underestimated or forgotten."

Students, youths and women clad in UNIC- ‘Remember Slavery’ branded T-shirts and Headbands/Bandanas, gathered at the Badagry Town Hall as early as 8.30 in the morning ready to storm the streets of the ancient town to sensitise the inhabitants about the gory history of slavery and the need to avoid modern slavery. Singing anti-slavery songs, the crowd snaked through the streets and made the first stop at Mobee Slave Trade museum rich in relics of slavery such as ankle and neck shackles; mouth locks; Canons; etc. A student of Methodist Grammar School, Badagry who attempted to carry the neck shackles screamed on realising the weight which the curator said to be about 100kg. The students were shocked about the fact that it was meant to be put on a human’s neck.  

The next stop was at Seriki Faremi Williams Abass Slave Museum where the students and other participants inspected the slave cells, and had the ankle shackles demonstrated. Recounting his experience after volunteering to be ankle-locked with the Executive Director of African Rennaisance Foundation Hon. Babatunde Mesewaku, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Oluseyi Soremekun, said it was physically painful and mentally disturbing as there was no freedom of movement, no freedom from violence and very traumatic. When the ankle locks were removed a few minutes after, it left a ‘Bangle mark’ on the ankles. 

At the briefing and discussion session attended by the paramount ruler of Badagry, His Majesty, De Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi I (OFR,LL.D, D.Litt, JP), The Akran of Badagry Kingdom who was represented by His Honour, High Chief (Dr) Owheton Ahumbe II, the Agoloto of Badagry, the message of the UN Secretary-General was delivered in English and Yoruba Languages by the UNIC Lagos National Information Officer.

In his message, Ki-moon noted that ‘tragically, slavery has still not ended’ as it ‘stubbornly persists in many parts of the world, in the form of forced labour, trafficking, sexual exploitation or captivity in slavery-like conditions.’  He observed that those despicable practices could not exist without deep-seated racism; and underscored the importance of educating people about the Transatlantic slave trade and how intolerance could easily shift from an attitude into acts of hatred and violence.

The Secretary-General therefore, called for ‘a renewal of our commitment to end modern slavery, so our children will live in a world free of racism and prejudice with equal opportunity and rights for all.’

Speaking, the Executive Director of African Rennaisance Foundation, Hon. Babatunde Mesewaku, provided a historical insight into the Slave Trade in Badagry and urged the students and other participants to remember slavery and shun all acts capable of bringing back the sad memory of the slave trade era.

In his address to the audience, His Majesty, De Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi I, The Akran of Badagry Kingdom, urged parents who were in the habit of giving out their children to other people to raise because of poverty should desist from such act as those children ended up being subjected to slavery-like conditions.

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Launch of UNIC Canberra /Canberra Institute of Technology photography competition

25 March 2015
UNIC Director speaking at the event

 

Celebrating the International Year of Light, on 25 March,UNIC Canberra took part in the launch of the Photography competition jointly organised by UNIC and the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). Now in its sixth year, the competition launch took place at the National Sound and Film Archive in Canberra.

In his opening remarks, the Director of UNIC Canberra, Christopher Woodthorpe, spoke of the importance of eliminating the poverty of light and of the role light based technologies can play in sustainable development. The Director also highlighted that it was the UN's 70th anniversary and partnerships (such as the partnership bringing the event together that night) have been and are a key element in the UN's past, present and future.

Other competition partners include the National Film and Sound Archive, Fairfax Media, and the National Gallery of Australia, each one offering a practical, hands on internship for the winners.

This year the competition is broken down into three categories of documentary, conceptually driven, and historically referenced, offering a great challenge to the photography students.

Their photos are then marked as part of their college work and also judged by an elected panel including a representative from UNIC Canberra and the overall winner is given an opportunity to document the work of the United Nations in the Asia-Pacific region.  Past winners have undertaken placements in Timor-Leste, Fiji, and Indonesia.