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Students learn about languages and UN

Students from an easter vacation camp, visited UNIC to learn about the world of languages at United Nations. They were greeted in Spanish by the Director of the Centre - Juan Miguel Diez who is a Mexican. He related some of his experiences as a young adult on a language exchange programme in France and also how speaking English became a requirement for him when he was ready to start his professional career. The young people who were just about to decide on what language they should choose to learn at secondary school also learned that United Nations operates in six official languages -  French; Spanish; English; Arabic; Russian and Chinese. While there are six official languages the Orgnaisation operates in English and French and field offices like UNICS operate in many other languages, in fact the 63 UNICs around the world tell the story of United Nations in more than one hundred languages.

Discovering a UN careers in languages:

During the visit to the UNC students also met with an ECLAC collegue who enagaged them in conversation about mulitlinguism and how very important it is especially when communicating during times of emergencies - UN's humanitarian work reaches people in almost every corner of the globe.  Understanding and being able to relate ideas culturally appropriate is also ciritcal for coming to consensus at General Assembly debates, resolving conflicts and finding a pathway to peace. They also discovered that  2019 was the International Year of Indigenous Languages and that there was a  UN's language career portal that highlingts different types of jobs that people who speak more than one language can find for example translators, editors, reporters and more.

During their visit the vacation camp teens also got their hands on and thoroughly enjoyed playing the SDGs board game and a locally created climate action game that was sponsored by the UNDP as part of it's GEF funding for climate change intitiatives.

Images from the visit


Top UN officials tell global forum: urgently address ‘defining challenges of our time’, to empower youth worldwide

Young people require “skills, values, jobs and livelihoods that empower them” so they can help forge a more sustainable world, the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said on Monday, kicking off its eighth Annual Youth Forum

“We need to urgently address the defining challenges of our time: access to quality education, unemployment, inequality, social exclusion and climate change”, Inga Rhonda King asserted in her opening remarks. “We cannot achieve this at the UN alone. We are all in this together”. 

Under the theme “Empowered, Included and Equal”, this year’s Forum aims to mobilize support for young people across the globe. 
While noting some encouraging signs concerning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she pointed to emerging evidence that suggests “the world is not yet on track to meeting many of the SDGs by 2030”. 

“I urge you to assess where we stand and mobilize together to move us forward” she stressed. 

The Youth Forum provides a platform for young leaders globally to engage in a dialogue among themselves and with UN Member States and to share ideas for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

It also gives youth the space to share their vision and contribute to upcoming UN meetings, including the 2019 ECOSOC Substantive Session in July, the 2019 High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the high-level events taking place on the margins of the General Assembly in September, including the Climate Summit, the High-level Meeting on Financing for Development and the SDG Summit

General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa called the Youth Forum "one of the most important mechanisms for young people to shape the 2030 Agenda”. 

[ full story on UN News ]



Youth, indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees boost hope for human rights: Guterres

People’s rights are under fire “in many parts of the globe,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the Human Rights Council on Monday 25 February 2019, before insisting that he was not “losing hope”, thanks to the progress made by powerful grassroots movements for social justice.


Addressing the Geneva-based forum on the opening day of its 40th session, Mr. Guterres underlined the Council’s key role as the “epicentre” for dialogue and cooperation on all human rights issues: civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

Beyond its doors, other key voices were also demanding their rights and making their voices heard, he said, particularly “youth, indigenous people, migrants and refugees”.

Milestones have been reached in recent years, that are key to human rights, the UN chief maintained. “One billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in just a generation,” he said. “More than two billion people have gained access to improved sanitation. And more than 2.5 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water resources. The mortality rate for children under five has declined by almost 60 per cent.”

Despite this, the UN chief insisted that ongoing gender inequality remains a major modern-day challenge: “Untold women and girls still face insecurity, violence and other violations of their rights every day,” he insisted, while glass ceilings “abound”.

“It will take two centuries to close the gap in economic empowerment,” he continued. “I do not accept a world that tells my granddaughters that economic equality can wait for their granddaughter’s granddaughters. I know you agree. Our world cannot wait.”

Human rights ‘is DNA of UN’s founding Charter’

In his 15-minute address, Mr. Guterres touched on his own experience living under the dictatorship of António Salazar, the authoritarian ruler of Portugal who oppressed both his fellow citizens at home and the people of the then-Portuguese colonies in Africa. 

“It was the human rights struggles and successes of others around the world that moved us to believe in change and to make that change happen,” Mr. Guterres said of Portugal’s struggle to rid itself of the Salazar regime. “Human rights inspire and drive progress. And that truth is the animating spirit of this Council. It is the DNA of our Organization’s founding Charter. And it is vital to addressing the ills of our world.”

Audio File

‘Clear threats’ must be addressed: General Assembly President

The Secretary-General’s concern about conflict and instability around the globe was echoed by the President of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa, in her address.

“Political crises, wars, transnational organized crime, social exclusion and lack of access to justice, constitute clear threats that demand adequate answers from this Council and from the entire international system for the protection of human rights,” she said.

In common with the UN chief, Ms. Espinosa expressed concern about the widening gap between the planet’s haves and have-nots.

“Perhaps one of the most sensitive challenges for the human rights agenda is inequality,” she said. “The concentration of wealth has increased to such an extent that, in 2018, 26 individuals had more money than the 3,800 million poorest people on the planet.”

[ read the full story on UN News ]


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.

read the full story on UN News



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.

newsicon  [ full story on UN News ]




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.



browserRead the full story


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.
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