Wanted: fresh views and participation

UNYANET Representatives at Palais des Nations, Geneva, in May 2013

UNYANET Representatives at Palais des Nations, Geneva, in May 2013

Having followed various meetings on the field of disarmament at the UN in Geneva during the spring 2013, I was surprised by the amount of times that the youth and especially the need for fresh views at the UN were mentioned. The issue actually came up in more informal occasions but still within the official discussions of for example the Meeting of National Directors on Mine Action and a seminar on Military Spending organized by the International Peace Bureau. And even if I call the speakers vaguely by ”one speaker” or ”someone”, these people were influential personalities within Geneva disarmament context, which makes it even more impressive: These people take a moment from their super busy schedule to promote the inclusion of youth!

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Support for the World Cup, but not for interns?

At the end of March, it was announced that the United Nations are supporting Brazil in their effort to finish the stadiums they are building for the World Cup in 2014. The whole contract between Brazilian government and the United Nations is worth 17.6 million dollars. A lot of money that could be used for other things, like interns.

First of all, I am not against the World Cup in Brazil. I would love to go there, and I am sure it will be a huge sucess. However, the financial troubles, the corruption and huge waste of money are bothering not only me as the protests are showing and I am especially not agreeing with this kind of support the United Nations provides. Continue reading

Youth Unemployment

UN Photo/Jean Pierre Laffont

UN Photo/Jean Pierre Laffont

Youth unemployment. This is one of the major concerns for young people all over the world today, especially in the countries going through major economic crises.

According to the International Labor Organization, there are 75 million youths looking for jobs around the world today [1]. However, it is not only unemployment that is affecting our fellow youngsters across the world.  The precarious conditions in which they work involve low salaries and long hours, with interns feeling lucky to be paid since the increase of unpaid internships in which one works as a slave with only a “thank you” and a whisper from the boss hoping that this job will help you find better future opportunities.  How are we, the younger generation, supposed to survive in a society ruled by plutocracy (money) if we cannot get a job?

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Remember the Time: About the Youth and Decision-making

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

At some point in our lives, we have all been young. The future still looked uncertain and the fear of not achieving our goals dominated our mind. Just remember those moments even if adolescence may now be just a golden memory somewhere in the past.

Young people are facing a lot of challenges when taking their first steps in working life. But it’s not only the problem of finding a job: young people are also prone to work longer hours without a proper compensation or adequate information about their rights on the collective labor agreement. Remember your first job. Whether it was at the local fast-food restaurant or a job that actually correlated fully with your education and competences, it was an important step in becoming independent. Still, fighting for your rights might have been difficult. By guaranteeing the realization of fundamental labor rights, and by offering possibilities for proper education and jobs, we can affect many levels of society including the aspects of social security. One could consider Arab spring as an example of the situation where these expectations weren’t met, which then led to an uprising of the unsatisfied youth who felt their voice wasn’t heard.

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News for the Youth

News for the Youth

UN Photo/Mark Garten

More and more, the UN tries to inform the youth by using social media and interactive tools. But does the target group get the news it is looking for through the new channels? A critical review of the current effort reveals quite diverse results.

In the past years, the United Nations started to use more and more social tools to inform the public, especially the youth, about its activities around the world. Twitter accounts and facebook pages were created. A page to download and use the official UN photos was established as well as various news and media pages. UN TV streams live from the conferences of the United Nations and UN Radio made its program available online while stopped broadcasting its program in a traditional sense. Finally, the United Nations established a Social Media Team that maintains at least some of the official United Nations social media accounts.

UNYANET created a survey to observe how and where the youth acquire their information and news about the UN. The survey revealed some patterns but the use of different channels still seems somewhat random especially when it comes to getting information on more specific topics than the basic knowledge on the UN.

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