[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
The Department of Public Information's (DPI) Outreach Division has developed and is launching a new project for this year's UN Day, Friday, 24 October, called "UN4U" and aimed at bringing the United Nations to New York City public high schools.
Speaking at assemblies at 21 schools will be USG Kiyo Akasaka for Communications and Public Information; USG Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict; ASG for the Capital Master Plan Michael Adlerstein; and ASG Rachel Mayanja, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women; as well as a diverse group almost evenly divided between men and women, ranging from Directors to General Service staff members and representing a wide variety of UN Departments.
The UN officials will speak to several hundred students at each school, covering all five boroughs: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Over 350 schools had been contacted.
The one-hour school assembly presentation, tailored to a young audience, will begin with a short video prepared by DPI's News and Media Division, followed by general remarks on the work of the United Nations and concluding with a question-and-answer session. Each speaker may also share some individual experiences as a UN staff member.
Around the world, UN Information Centres (UNICs) and UN Country Team (UNCT) colleagues are also being encouraged to reach out to educational institutions in their locations by speaking at local schools on or around 24 October 2008.
To assist in this inaugural endeavor, the Outreach Division has developed and shared talking points to serve as the basis for the presentations as well as a brand new poster, "UN4U - The United Nations works for you", which lists 14 core UN activities. The poster is available in all six official languages, and can easily be translated and adapted to any language. In fact, some UN offices have already done so, such as the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, who translated the poster into Dari and Pashto.
In approaching the high school's principals, DPI expressed that it is vital for young people to know about other countries and cultures and to understand the value of similarities and differences. Through this program, high school students will gain a greater appreciation for the work of the United Nations, and a commitment to making their individual contributions as global citizens.
UN4U, launched with the strong support of the Secretary-General, is planned to be an annual event.