|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Note to Correspondents
Marking International Day of Peace on 18 September, 1,000 Students Will
Gather at UN Headquarters to Discuss ‘Disarm Now for Better World’
On Friday, 18 September, the United Nations Department of Public Information will hold the twelfth student observance of the International Day of Peace under the theme “Disarm Now for a Better World”, in line with the Secretary-General’s “We Must Disarm” campaign.
More than 1,000 students and teachers are expected to come to United Nations Headquarters, where they will be addressed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki. The participants will engage in a question-and-answer session with Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall and Under-Secretaries-General Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in a session chaired by Kiyo Akasaka, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.
Students from more than 60 schools and non-governmental organizations from Greater New York and the tri-state area, as well as from the American states of New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts, will be participating in the event. Their presentations will focus on such issues as the illicit small arms trade and nuclear disarmament. Schools from Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee will follow the webcast live and interact with students at the conference via e-mail.
Students from peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will also participate at Headquarters via videoconference to discuss how youth can support efforts to disarm, as well as existing youth projects that are reaching large communities. Students from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will present testimonials and special messages on behalf of children formerly associated with armed groups and give presentations on the impact of arms proliferation on the children and youth in the region. Students from Iraq will send a film on disarmament issues in their country.
Just prior to the student observance, a Peace Bell ceremony will be held in the Rose Garden outside the United Nations Secretariat Building. After ringing the Japanese Peace Bell, the Secretary-General will deliver his message to mark the International Day of Peace.
The Secretary-General will be accompanied by his wife, Ban Soon-taek, Mr. Treki, Mr. Akasaka, and Ms. Goodall. They will be joined by 193 students holding the flags of the United Nations and each United Nations Member State.
On 13 June, the Secretary-General launched a multi-platform campaign under the slogan “WMD-We Must Disarm”to mark the 100-day countdown leading up to the International Day of Peace. The campaign has raised awareness of the dangers and costs of nuclear weapons by issuing a “reason a day” on why nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are so crucial, via Twitter, the microblogging site. The first 10 reasons, or “tweets”, were sent out in the name of the Secretary-General and supported by American actor Rainn Wilson, from the United States television series The Office. The “reasons to disarm” have been reaching well over 1 million people. The campaign has also attracted an impressive following via its dedicated pages on the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace.
The Secretary-General also launched the campaign in Latin America at the DPI/NGO “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!” Conference in Mexico City on 9 September by sending out a “tweet”, along with Mayor Tadotoshi Akiba of Hiroshima and Mr. Akasaka.
This year’s student observance is being supported with a generous contribution by the United Nations Federal Credit Union, which has become a partner for the programme of student conferences organized by the Department of Public Information.
Students and teachers away from United Nations Headquarters are encouraged to follow the event live via webcast at http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/ and send in comments and questions for the presenters, or watch the event archived.
Student videoconferences are organized at United Nations Headquarters by the Education Outreach Cluster of the Department of Public Information to reach out to students around the world and to facilitate an exchange of views on United Nations priority issues. The student activities are an integral part of the Department of Public Information’s educational outreach activities.
For additional information, please contact Yvonne Acosta, Chief, Education Outreach Cluster, Department of Public Information, at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Bill Yotive, Manager, Global Teaching and Learning Project, at e-mail: email@example.com.
* *** *