22 October 2013


Quick quiz!
  1. What is United Nations Day?
  2. Why is it celebrated on the 24th of October every year?
  3. How many member nations does the UN have?
  4. What is the name of the Secretary General of the UN?
  5. Which countries are members of the Security Council?
  6. What are the aims of the UN?
  7. How many children's lives are saved by the UN vaccination programme every year?
  8. Who said: "So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons".
  9. How many Blue Berets are there?
  10. Click HERE to test your knowledge of UN history!

Assignement 1: who, what, where, how, why?

Research and prepare a short oral presentation on one of the following topics:
  • The Atlantic Charter and the the UN Charter
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The General Assembly
  • The Security Council
  • UN Peacekeeping
  • The Economic and Social Council
  • The Secretary General
  • The Secretary-General's message for 2013 (click HERE!)
  • The WHO
  • FAO
  • Millenium Development Goals
  • UNICEF The State of the World's Children 2013 report
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • What should be done about child soldiers?
  • Global Education First Initiative (click HERE!)
  • A World at School
  • UNiting for Youth

Assignement 2: the UN in action!
  1. Click HERE: UN News Centre
  3. In the In Focus section, choose one of the topics, read/listen/watch, then summarise UN involvement.
  4. Watch UN WEB TV (click HERE!), summarise the news, and list the questions the news item(s) bring up for you.
  5. In the News by Topic section, chose one of the topics, give an overview of UN actions, then chose a particular subsection to report on for your school webzine (entitle your short article: "The UN, doing good")

Assignement 3: apply for an internship at the UN!

  1. Choose a domain you would like to work in (look at the poster above).
  2. Study what the UN does in the domain you have chosen.
  3. Study the web page on internships at the UN (click HERE!)
  4. Write a motivation letter to apply for an internship at the UN (outline the necessary qualities and skills you think are needed to do the job you are applying for, then describe an experience you have had which proves you have the necessary qualities and skills to do the job!).
  5. Do a mock interview for the internship.

Assignement 4: discuss!
  1. What, according to you, is wrong with the world?
  2. What is positive about the state of the world (what gives you hope)?
  3. What positive initiatives are being taken (by the UN and others) to solve problems (cf. Ban's message for 2013)?
  4. What criticisms are made of the UN?
  5. Write a speech that you have been invited to give to the UN General Assembly on your solutions to the world's problems!

Assignement 5: compete!

Take part in the essay-writing contest "Many languages, one world" (click HERE!)

5 October 2013

USA government shutdown

Click HERE to read an article from Our Little Earth on the US government shut down!

Text adapted from the article in Our Little Earth:

On October 1st 2013, part of the government of the United States shut down. The government was not able to pay the salaries of over 700,000 of its employees. Many government-run programs such as the national parks, museums, and famous sites like the Statue of Liberty in New York had to be closed.

Doesn’t the United States government have the money to pay its employees? The way it works in the United States is that a new budget for government spending has to be approved every year by the government itself. This budget determines how much money is going to be spent on the various government programs, agencies, and employees. The deadline for approving the budget was September 30th 2013, but the people in the government couldn't agree on it. Therefore, as of October 1st, the government did not have funds for all its employees and many of its programs.

The United States has multiple political parties, but the two main ones are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Barack Obama, the country’s President, belongs to the Democratic Party. People of both political parties are part of the government (the Congress, i.e. the House of Representatives plus the Senate). These decision-makers could not agree on how to spend money over the coming year. The main argument is about Obama Care a new health care law, which is supported by the Democrats and opposed by the Republicans. The new law requires government funds (and therefore a tax rise), and the folks in the government could not reach a decision on money for it. It is unclear for how long the government will be shut down…

Some government programs are still up and running. For example, the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering mail, soldiers continue to guard the country, the air traffic controllers are still guiding planes, prison guards are keeping a watch over the criminals in jails, and the astronauts in space are still being supported.

This isn't the first time the US government has shut down. The last time was in 1996 (the shutdown lasted 21 days).

  1. Why has the Statue of Liberty closed?
  2. What is the Federal budget?
  3. Who has voted against the budget and why?