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New UN bullying report calls for ‘safe, inclusive’ schools for all children

The emotional and physical pain brought on by bullying can be excruciating, yet this behavior continues to abound in schools globally, according to a new report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that is calling for all children to have access to a "safe, inclusive” learning environment.


unescpub bullying19UNESCO’s report, Behind the numbers: ending school violence and bullying, released on Tuesday at the 2019 Education World Forum in London, reveals that nearly one-in-three boys and girls have been bullied at least once at school over the last month, and a similar proportion have been affected by physical violence.

Overall, says the report, physical bullying is the biggest problem in most regions, but in North America and Europe, psychological bullying is the most common, followed by sexually-related bullying.

Online and smartphone bullying on the rise

Physical bullying is more common among boys, while psychological bullying is more prevalent among girls. Meanwhile, online and mobile phone bullying is on the rise. Children perceived as different in any way from the norm, are the most likely to be bullied, with physical appearance being the most common cause followed by race, nationality or skin colour.

Bullying must be addressed because it significantly effects children’s mental health, quality of life and academic achievement, the report states.

Frequently bullied children are nearly three times more likely to feel shunned and more than twice as likely to miss school. Their educational-outcomes decline, and they are more likely to leave after finishing secondary school.



UNESCO-recommended measures to lower school violence and reduce bullying:

  • A commitment to a safe, positive school and classroom environment.
  • Effective reporting and monitoring systems.
  • Evidence-based programmes and interventions.
  • Teacher training and support.
  • Support and referral for affected students.
  • Student empowerment and participation.
  • Better political leadership.
  • Robust legal and policy frameworks.

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80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

  • 30 November 2018 |
  • Published in Youth

By 2030, around 80 adolescents will be dying of AIDS every day if “we don’t accelerate progress in preventing transmission,” the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.

In a report released on Thursday, Children, HIV and AIDS: The World in 2030, current trends indicate AIDS-related deaths and new infections are slowing, but the downward trajectory is not happening fast enough.

“The report makes it clear, without the shadow of a doubt, that the world is off track when it comes to ending AIDS among children and adolescents by 2030,” said UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore, The end of AIDS is an ambitious goal envisioned by the UN agency coalition established to tackle the epidemic, known as the UNAIDSFast-Track strategy.

More than half of those children known to be dying of AIDS won’t reach the age of five, the report reveals.

Currently, 3 million persons 19 years and younger, are infected with HIV worldwide.

[ read the full story on UN News ]






Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

The United Nations Secretary-General launched a new partnership strategy with the world’s 1.8 billion young people on Monday, to help put “their ideas into action”. Noting that it was “a rare treat” to see so many young faces at the UN, to launch the new “Youth2030” strategy, UN chief António Guterres highlighted a list of challenges “the largest young generation in history” faces today.

He noted that “globalization, new technologies, displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labour markets and climate impacts,” were putting huge pressure on youth everywhere, adding that more than one-fifth of young people are not in employment, education or training; a quarter are affected by violence or armed conflict; and young people remain excluded from development programmes, ignored in peace negotiations and denied a voice in most international decision-making.

At the same time, he pointed out that young people were “a vast source of innovation, ideas and solutions,” who push for the needed changes in technology, climate action, inclusivity and societal justice.

“Empowering young people, supporting them, and making sure they can fulfil their potential are important ends in themselves, We want this for all people, everywhere.”

   --- UN Secretary General

Moreover, to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous world, “we need young people to lead,” he added.

In presenting Youth 2030: The United Nations Youth Strategy, he called it “the UN’s strategy to engage with, but especially to empower young people.”

Saying that the Organization has for decades worked for youth, he expressed hope that the new strategy would make the UN “a leader” in working with them, “in understanding their needs, in helping to put their ideas into action, in ensuring their views inform our processes.”

“And as we change, we will work with our partners to do likewise” and spur new partnerships, the UN chief said, identifying five key areas:

  • Opening new routes to involve young people and amplify their voices.
  • Strengthening the UN’s focus on their accessing education and health services. 
  • Placing their economic empowerment at the fore of development strategies, with a focus on training and jobs. 
  • Working to ensure their rights, and civic and political engagement.

Prioritizing support for young people in conflict and in humanitarian crises, including their participation in peace processes.

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World needs generation of self-empowered ‘superheroes’, UN youth forum told

  • 09 August 2018 |
  • Published in Youth
The United Nations needs to spend more time talking directly to young people across the world, beyond simply talking about their concerns, said the President of the General Assembly on Wednesday, opening a major Youth Dialogue event at UN Headquarters in New York.

“They still feel they are excluded, from the decisions that are affecting their lives,” said Miroslav Lajčák,  adding that “we want this to be an event when we take a step back, and we listen to young people, talking to each other.”

Quite often, he said,  “they have a feeling that when they speak, no one is listening”.

He added that the themes he was keen to hear their views on were education, jobs, and the complex issue of how young people could be dissuaded from taking a path towards violent extremism. “We talk about it, but we still don’t really get it – don’t really grasp it,” he said.

Other speakers included an athelete from the Pacific island nation of Tonga, who won world reknown, when he marched shirtless into the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, carrying his country’s flag.

“The world does not need violence, does not need bombs, the world needs today’s youth to become superheroes,” said Pita Taufatofua.

At the UN, wearing a shirt, he said his brother advised him to “keep your shirt on and leave the oil at home”.

The second piece of advice from his brother was, “tell your truth, leave the youth with something they can take into the future,” Mr. Taufatofua said.



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MUN 2018 - Port of Spain addresses Human Trafficking

  • 23 March 2018 |
  • Published in Youth

Model United Nations 2018 was hosted by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain, Trinidad.  110 students from 50 schools in Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago participated in six weeks of training activities that led up to the simulation of the General Assembly Plenary on 17 and 18 March 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Port of Spain Trinidad. The Topic that was addressed was the situation of refugees related to armed conflict. The is year the UN also celebrates the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. The  President of the General Assembly of the MUN rang home the importance of the UDHR and its connection to refugee rights in his message to the Assembly. 

 This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was born out of and endorsed by the United Nations. It is unanimously accepted and was fashioned to guarantee fundamental human rights for every single person, regardless. 

 During this assembly’s deliberations, I urge you to talk about what comes next, to agree that every human life has to matter, regardless of borders, religious or political standing. Let us come to consensus, let us demonstrate to our people that we the peoples of this United Nations are determined to leave this abhorrent trade in human beings in the past forever!


Because of armed confilict in multiple regions across the world, particularly the Middle East and East Africa, there have been increases in the flow of people seeking asylum. The impact of armed conflict on women and girls is particularly grave and includes sexual exploitation and violence. The social and economic challenges of providing assistance to victims of human trafficking and refugees are complex and often the UN is looked on to take the lead in coordinating relief and negoiating the process for an international response. The Rotary Club and its sponsors felt compelled to involve the young people in this global dialogue which raises many questions and issues like racism, xenophobia and gender equality; more importantly there is hope that the dialogue will encourage youth to become more interested in standing up for human rights for peopole everywhere.



MUN T&T delegates 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Port of Spain


MUN2018 portofspain


 Delegates peforming at the night of culture - MUN 2018 Trinidad



Jamaica, New York and Liberia schools connect to remember the victims of the slave trade

12 May 2017 - The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) and Links, Inc. to organize its ninth annual Remember Slavery Global Student Videoconference on 12 May.  At  9:30 a.m. the event will linked high school students at United Nations Headquarters in New York to their counterparts in Kingston, Jamaica, and Monrovia, Liberia.  The 2017 theme is “Remember Slavery:  Recognizing the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent”.

Students had the opportunity to learn about the specific consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, in particular the ways in which enslaved Africans and their descendants influenced and continue to shape societies around the world, including in the areas of technology and culture.  They also discussed the persistent spirit and innovation of the people in communities affected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, United Kingdom gave a expert presentation on Black achievement which was followed by presentations from students on their research on Black achievers leading up to the conference. Soré Agbaje, a graduate of Urban Word NYC, an organization that provides free literary arts education and youth development programmes to teenagers across New York City delivered a spoken word performance. Special guest speakers included José Luis Fialho Rocha, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the United Nations, and Pennelope Althea Beckles, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago.

The conference participants also learned about The Ark of Return, which is  the Permanent Memorial at United Nations Headquarters to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The Remember Slavery Programme is managed by the Education Outreach Section of the Department of Public Information. It was established by the General Assembly in 2007 to further remembrance of and learning about the causes, consequences, lessons and legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery.  It also aims to raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice today, through activities held around the world by the global network of United Nations information centres and educational materials produced throughout the year.

To learn more about the United Nations Remember Slavery programme, please visit rememberslavery.un.org.


Young people debate LGBTI issues for the first time at MUN event in Trinidad and Tobago

For the first time in the Caribbean, young adults from secondary schools across the Caribbean area met in Port of Spain to simulate a debate of the United Nations General Assembly. 50 member states were represented by young men and women, who researched their positions on the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex persons.

For two days the delegates exchanged sometimes passionate dialogue on the issue. Some delegates pleaded with the Assembly to recall the founding of the Organisation and what it stands for- including the equal rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation. Others, despite their personal belief, stood firm on the UN Charter's recognition of the sovereign rights of their  states even if it meant discriminating against LGBTI persons. Middle Eastern states supported the proposal by some African states delegates that Western states should create opportunities for LGBTI persons to migrate freely to escape discrimination in their respective regions. They agreed in principle that all human beings should have equal rights, but believed that cultural and religious belief could not permit them to adopt such liberal 'western' concepts.

The Debate ended on a positive note, with most states conceding to implement mechanisms that investigated human rights abuses against LGBTI persons and look forward to further dialogue on a mutually acceptable way forward. 

President of the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain, congratulated the young people, their parents and financial supporters for choosing to opt in for the dialogue on this issue, which by and large remains taboo in the Caribbean or otherwise not encouraged. She also saw this as the beginning of the shifting of paradigms on equality and non-discrimination.

This year the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain, celebrated 20 years of organising and hosting Model United Nations simulations.

UNESCO launches strategy to prevent youth radicalisation

  • 02 November 2016 |
  • Published in Youth

31 0ctober 2016 - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova opened  the International Conference on Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together, declaring, in Quebec, Canada, “Violent extremism seeks to impose a sectarian vision of society, and propaganda is a central element of its strategy.”

She identified the challenges and the opportunities that the Internet presents. “Anonymous, decentralized and easy to access – the Internet is a boon for extremists.” She added that  it is also a platform on which positive change can occur. “I see this as a new global struggle of ideas, a struggle for hearts and minds,” said the Director-General. “Young women and men must have knowledge to claim humanity’s cultural heritage and diversity as their own – and they must have skills to build dialogue through diversity. This means nurturing the Internet’s full potential for peace."

Mr. Jean-Paul Laborde, Assistant Secretary General, spoke on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, underlining the vital need for tolerance, diversity and mutual respect to spearhead new joint actions to prevent radicalization leading to violent extremism.

The International Conference is designed to provide a platform for discussion between high level representatives of Governments for across the world – including Mr Martin Coiteux, Minister for Public Security (Quebec); Representative of the Government of Canada, Mr Amadou Koïta, Minister of Youth and Civic Construction (Mali) ; Mr Hector Leonel Ayala Minister of Governance and Justice (Honduras); Mr Rachid Madrane, Minister of Youth Aid, Houses of Justice, Sports and Promotion of Brussels to the Federation Wallonia-Brussels (Belgium); Ms Juliette Méadel, Minister of State for Victim Assistance (France).

The conference, organized by UNESCO, its Information for All Programme, the Government of Quebec, with the support of the Government of Canada, has attracted some 400 participants, who have come together to explore how to prevent the rise of violent extremism and radicalization of young people on the Internet.

Ms. Bokova also thanked the Government of Quebec for its support to UNESCO, with the UN Center for Counter-Terrorism, to prevent violent extremism through youth empowerment in Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as the proposed new UNESCO Chair on Preventing Radicalization and Violent Extremism in Quebec.

UNESCO Artist for Peace Celine Dion, Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Ms. Kathleen Weil and the Mayor of Quebec, Régis Lebeaume, were also among the key speakers during the opening.


MUN 2017 (Trinidad and Tobago) launches at the new COSTAATT campus

  • 24 October 2016 |
  • Published in Youth

22 October 2016- Chaguanas , Trinidad and Tobago. The Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain launched its 20th simulation of the Model United Nations General Assembly (GA), with a ceremony at the newly opened purpose built campus of the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts (COSTAATT). The event was attended by HE Ambassador of United Kingdom, Head of Mission to the EU, representatives of the United States Embassy and the National Commission of UNESCO. The major sponsors for the 2017 MUN include - Nestle Foods, Republic Bank, the US Embassy,  Atlantic LNG, COSTAATT and others.

Rotary's Lara Quentrall-Thomas speaks at the launch of MUN 2017 (T&T)Senior COSTAATT official was pleased to announce that the new campus would be the venue for all training sessions leading up to the GA debate which will take place in Port of Spain in March 2017. During her address she encouraged youth to be better examples for public behaviour and expressed concern over the growing influence of crime and violence on youth in Trinidad and Tobago. Stephen Weeks from the US embassy encouraged the young adults there to be true to themselves and to represent the assigned member-states in a manner that reflected the culture and official opinion of the state , despite the fact that it may contradict their own personal beliefs on the issue.

In her message to the gathering , Lara Quentrall-Thomas, expressed her gratitude to the sponsors for their continued support for this worthwhile undertaking. She also took the time to thank the young leaders who gives selflessly of their time to ensure that delegates are prepared for GA simulations over the years; and was happy to announce that  LGBTI rights would be the topic for debate, remarking that this discussion was long overdue for our region.



Youth unemployment set to rise for the first time in 3 years

  • 25 August 2016 |
  • Published in Youth

24 August 2016 – With global youth unemployment expected to rise in 2016 for the first time in three years and the equally disturbing high levels of young people who work but still live in poverty, the United Nations labour agency today called for greater efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and decent work.

Releasing its World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that the global youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 and remain at that level through to 2017 (up from 12.9 per cent in 2015). As a result, the number of unemployed youth is set to rise by half a million this year to reach 71 million – the first such increase in three years.

Of greater concern, says ILO, is the share and number of young people, often in emerging and developing countries, who live in extreme or moderate poverty despite having a job. In fact, 156 million or 37.7 per cent of working youth are in extreme or moderate poverty (compared to 26 per cent of working adults).

“The alarming rise in youth unemployment and the equally disturbing high levels of young people who work but still live in poverty show how difficult it will be to reach the global goal to end poverty by 2030,” said Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General for Policy in a press release on report.

Calling for redoubled efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and decent work, she also noted that the report highlights wide disparities between young women and men in the labour market that need to be addressed by ILO member States and the social partners urgently.

The ILO goes on to point out that Global economic growth in 2016 is estimated to stand at 3.2 per cent, 0.4 percentage points lower than the figure predicted in late 2015. “This is driven by a deeper than expected recession in some key emerging commodity-exporting countries and stagnating growth in some developed countries,” said ILO Senior Economist and lead author of the report Steven Tobin.

08 24 ILO youth unemployment
“The rise in youth unemployment rates is particularly marked in emerging countries” he adds as the report notes that in such countries, the rate is predicted to rise from 13.3 per cent in 2015 to 13.7 per cent in 2017 – a figure ILO says corresponds to 53.5 million unemployed in 2017 compared to 52.9 million in 2015.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, the unemployment rate is expected to increase from 15.7 per cent in 2015 to 17.1 per cent in 2017; in Central and Western Asia, from 16.6 to 17.5 per cent; in South Eastern Asia and the Pacific, from 12.4 to 13.6 per cent.

The report also finds that globally, the share of young people between 15 and 29 years old who are willing to move permanently to another country stood at 20 per cent in 2015. The highest inclination to move abroad, at 38 per cent, is found in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, followed closely by Eastern Europe at 37 per cent.

The working poor

The poor quality of employment continues to disproportionately affect youth, albeit with considerable regional differences. For example, sub- Saharan Africa continues to suffer the highest youth working poverty rates globally, at almost 70 per cent. Working poverty rates among young people are also elevated in Arab States (39 per cent) and Southern Asia (49 per cent).

At the same time, in developed economies, there is growing evidence of a shift in the age distribution of poverty, with youth taking the place of the elderly as the group at highest risk of poverty, defined for developed economies as earning less than 60 per cent of the median income.

For instance, in 2014, the share of young workers in the European Union-28 categorized as being at a high risk of poverty was 12.9 per cent compared to 9.6 per cent of prime-age workers (aged 25–54). The challenge is particularly acute in some countries where the at-risk-of-poverty for young workers exceeds 20 per cent.

Interactive map: In which countries is it hardest for young people to find work in 2016?

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