UNIC Lagos holds its first educational outreach in Northern Nigeria

05 June 2014

The National Information Officer addressing students

 As a follow up to the recent visit of the Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information, Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal to Nigeria, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos has organised an educational outreach session at Grace Garden International School and College, Maitama Abuja.

The outreach, UNIC’s first in Northern Nigeria, was in partnership with Youths For Transparency International (YTI), a member of the Civil Society group that met with the USG during his visit. It was a highly engaging and interactive session with the students, of whom 60% were girls.

In his presentations, the National Information Officer, UNIC, Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, emphasised  the purpose of the United Nations:  ‘to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people.’ 

Explaining what the UN does, Soremekun noted that through its specialised agencies,  ‘the UN deals with all kinds of issues, ranging from keeping the peace, fighting poverty to caring for our planet and making sure everyone is flying safely in the sky . 

He charged the students to imbibe the spirit of volunteerism when they become undergraduates and to always be upright in everything they do.  ‘Responsible children are the joy of a family and the pride of a nation,’ he added.

Addressing the students, the Head of Organisation and Chairperson of Youths For Transparency International, Ms Clara Okorie, called on the students to remain focused on their studies and be of good behaviour in other to be useful to their countries and their families.

The School Proprietress, Mrs Ruth Aimuan, had earlier in her welcome remarks, thanked the UN Information Centres for bringing the educational outreach to the school, an effort, she noted, would be most beneficial to the students. She pledged the support of the school to future programmes of the Centre.

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Raise Your Voice, Not at the Sea Level

05 June 2014

Student asking a question

UNIC Dhaka jointly with UNDP Bangladesh, the Department of Social, Water and Environment, and the University of Dhaka, commemorated  World Environment Day through an interactive Seminar at Dhaka University RC Majumder Arts Auditorium, on 5 June. The Key-note paper was presented by Senior Advisor of UNDP Bangladesh Mr Aminul Islam while the session was presided over by Prof Dr S M Imamul Huq of the Department of Social, Water and Evriroment, Dhaka University. 

The Officer-in-Charge of UNIC Dhaka, delivered a speech focusing on the importance of the Day. He also read-out UN Secretary-General's Message on the Day which was distributed along with other publications among the audience. 

The participating students took part in the open discussion and raised different issues relating to the theme of the Day "Raise Your Voice, Not at the Sea Level". They also put a number of suggestions to the UN and Government to protect the environment. A survey was also conducted, through a questionnaire, among the participants about the UN event.   

Tree planting drive in Srinagar

04 June 2014

Tree planting activity

As part of an environmental drive of the Sreerupa Foundation – One Million Trees for Peace (to plant a million trees over five years) – after a round of tree planting at several homes in New Delhi, a special day was designated for Srinagar, Kashmir. UNIC Director, Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, together with the Chairperson of the NGO and other colleagues and friends, planted trees at various sites, including hotels, parks and private homes, ensuring that each tree planted would have a “guardian” to ensure that it is well nurtured. The UN Secretary-General’s message was clear when he talked about small island nations which are at the mercy of a rising sea level. ‘Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level’ was the slogan of World Environment Day this year. “Planet Earth is our shared island. Let us join forces to protect it”, he said. Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman also talked of the importance of this day to school children, hotel staff, and the public in general. Kashmir is extremely aware of the importance of climate change and the environment as it struggles to maintain the health of its forests and the iconic Dal Lake, among others.

International Day of UN Peacekeepers

04 June 2014

Participants at the event

On 28 May UNIC Windhoek hosted an event to commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The event took place at the Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre in Katutura. Students from a non-governmental organization called Physically Active Youth were invited to attend a presentation on UN Peacekeeping and hear first –hand experiences from a former peacekeeper, the head of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), Mr. Johnny Katzao. Julia Hilbig and Hans Siglbauer presented an overview of the United Nations work in the field of peacekeeping, followed by an interesting discussion with the students on “what is peace.”  UNIC showed a series of short documentaries to the students on the topic. The students were eager to ask questions and appreciated to get a deeper insight into United Nations Peacekeeping Operations around the world. 

The teaching highlighted that UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles: 

Consent of the parties;

Impartiality;

Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Mr. Katzao also stressed that the success of peacekeeping operations is never definite, because UN Peacekeepers almost by definition goes to the most physically and politically difficult environments. However, the UN has built up a demonstrable record of success over 60 years of existence, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

The personal reflections by Mr. Johnny Katzao on what it feels like to be on the ground as a peacekeeper was certainly a highlight to the students. Mr. Katzao brought along some of the gear he wore during his tenure in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).  The students were truly inspired by the Namibian owned testimony and exuded pride for the fact that a Namibian full filled such an important role to assist another country navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. 

The public awareness of Peacekeeping has unique strengths, legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.

The day ended with a question and answering session of eager minds that wants to learn more.