UNIC Canberra takes part in the ANU Law Careers Fair

11 May 2016

On 10 March UNIC Canberra took part in the Australian National University Law Careers Fair. The annual event brings together close to 1500 students to learn about career opportunities in the legal field. 

UNIC Canberra was one of 20 organisations represented at the fair. UNIC stuff answered questions about career options with the United Nations in the legal field and other positions. 

UNIC also showcased a variety of UN publications. 

To learn more about careers opportunities with the United Nations please visit here. For career pathways in the legal profession see here

Categories: Canberra
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UNIC Windhoek learns about inequality and the economy at leadership seminar

11 May 2016

On 11 May 2016, UNIC Windhoek learned about the role of the government as well as the private sector in eradicating inequality through economic policy.

The seminar, which was titled “The role of Government and the Private Sector in a Developmental State”, included informative and thought-provoking speeches by Namibia’s Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein and world-renowned economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz.

Both Minister Schlettwein and Professor Joseph Stiglitz mentioned the situation of poverty in Namibia.

Although the percentage of the population in poverty has reduced from 27.6% in 2003/4 to 19.5% in 2010/11 and those in severe poverty has reduced from 13.8% to 9.6% in the same years through the war on poverty, Minister Schlettwein said that a large number of Namibians are still in poverty. 

As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Goal #1 is to end poverty in all forms. Minister Schlettwein echoed this goal when outlining Namibia’s Vision 2030, which also aims to eradicate poverty through income generation and social protection. 

Professor Joseph Stiglitz mentioned similar themes in his speech, and touched upon many ideas that are encompassed in Goal #8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Highlighting that sustainable economic growth is inclusive growth, he said, “An economy that doesn’t deliver for a majority of its citizens is a failed economy.” 

“Wealth belongs to the country as a whole, should be managed for the benefit of the country as a whole,” he added. 

Stiglitz outlined that when it comes to the economic status of the global atmosphere, there are now broader goals which include not just growth, but instead creating sustainable, inclusive and democratic environments with a focus on shared prosperity.

Stiglitz also citied that there has been a shift in developmental thinking. Instead of inequality being viewed as solely the result of the economy, it has been viewed also as the result of policy and what individual governments do. It is now also seen as a choice in this light, as it is the result of our rules, how we design institutions and what we spend money on.

Stiglitz depicted the vicious cycle between economic inequality and political inequality. Thus, Stiglitz outlined the importance of the government in combating inequality, in the form of the developmental state which has a ‘regulatory role, catalytic role and coordinating role.’

“GDP is an indicator of growth not of well-being” Minister Schlettwein said, also hitting on themes of Goal #8. He cited that although the economy has grown immensely since 1990 and poverty has been cut in half, the fact that Namibia is considered an upper middle income country does not accurately depict the state of the country and the per capita GDP income. This structural challenge of high income inequality will be tackled through Namibia’s Vision 2030 and President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan.

Minister Schlettwein also hit upon ideas of Goal #2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; as well as Goal #6 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. He pointed out that 29% of Namibia’s population is employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, which is the largest percentage of employment in the country. 

With the impact of climate change hammering the country as seen through the incessant drought and water crisis, a large percentage of Namibia’s population has been impacted. It has also led to an increase in the amount of food and water that is imported into the country. The structural challenge of higher imports than exports will also be addressed through Namibia’s Vision 2030, which Minister Schlettwein mentioned in his speech.

In line with Goal #10 to reduce inequality within and among countries, in an in-depth question and answer, Professor Stiglitz mentioned that, “The most pernicious inequalities are ethnic/race/gender inequality and this is present in all societies” and called for intervention to address these situations.


Categories: Windhoek
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Stretching knowledge diversity: Get Students Exposed to Rwandan Genocide and Presentation Skills

10 May 2016

On May 10, 2016, the high school practicum program students practiced their presentation skills while learning about the Rwa nda Genocide as part of their human rights studies. 

The students started with a communication skill exercise. They were tasked to research and present different skills of the category and later demonstrate how to professionally and persuasively spread a message. The teams delivered presentations about positive and negative body language, the tone to use when giving a presentation and tips for a well-designed and interesting layout. Ms. Anthea Basson from UNIC Windhoek appreciated the progress the students made in their presentation. 

The communications component was followed by the UNIC team presenting on the Rwanda Genocide that took place in Rwanda during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994. The team led the students through the chronological history of the genocide.

Based on this historical learning session, the students were divided into three groups and had to answer the following questions to gain a better understanding of the work of the UN at that time and the occurrences typically preceding and following genocide. The questions included: How could the outcome of the Rwandan Genocide have been different if the UN intervened quicker and more efficiently? What could the UN member states have done to prevent the Genocide from happening in the first place? What recommendations do you make that genocide does not appear in the future?

As a practical exercise the practicum participants had to come up with something  creative to spread the message of forgiveness to the Rwanda people. Poetic texts showed great sensibility and respect to the history of Genocide and people’s suffering during and after the expulsion and oppression of so many innocent men, women and children. At the same time the poems spread the message of forgiveness and forbearance, encouraging a more united and forward-thinking Rwandan society.

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UN calls for media support for SDGs campaign in Nigeria

09 May 2016

The National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun urged Nigerian media to give their full support to the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in continuation of their unflinching support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past fifteen years.

During a radio programme, ‘Civil Society (C.S) Weekly’ on Radio One 103.5 FM, Mr Soremekun acknowledged the media remained a strategic partner of the United Nations in its quest to disseminate the SDGs to the general public in Nigria.

“The media should develop variety of programmes within the framework of the SDGs to widen the knowledge base of their audiences,” he said.

Speaking on the plans of UNIC Lagos to promote the SDGs, he said the SDGs have been translated into four local languages including Pidging English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba to enhance the understanding of the SDGs and its goals.

“Besides, UNIC Lagos on 1 January 2016, launched the ’17 – 17 SDGs campaign’ on the social media to reach the youth who are active on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.” He explained that the campaign aimed to highlight the 17 goals of the SDGs in the first 17 days of every month from January to December.

Mr. Soremekun concluded the interview by giving a brief introduction about UNIC Lagos’ activities, including school outreach, media outreach, programmes on climate change and the SDGs as well as observance of International Days.

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