This blog by Laurel Hart, UNA-UK’s Outreach & Campaigns Officer, was originally published on Think Global's Global Dimension hub which brings together resources to help teachers and educators bring a global dimension to their work.
There has never been a more important time to teach about the United Nations and its work. From climate change to mass migration, global issues don’t just affect people in other countries. They affect people everywhere.
At UNA-UK we equip educators to teach how the UN works and why it matters, we raise awareness of global issues and we take action to make the UN more effective.
The 21st century is dominated by challenges like climate change and forced displacement which require effective global action. Globalisation has created opportunities but it has also made us more vulnerable. Young people are the future and will need the tools to navigate the opportunities and challenges our global world presents.
Why is it so important to educate young people about global issues? More than 40 per cent of the world’s population are between the ages of 10 and 24 – the largest youth population ever. The world’s most pressing challenges are also some of the most complicated. To tackle global issues head-on, the next generation needs to understand the structures that represent our best hope of tackling these challenges. Teaching about the UN – an international system built on the back of two world wars and designed to prevent the third – is an important first step.
Educating students about the UN and global issues can seem daunting. Created by teachers and tested in classrooms, our resources are crafted to bring global issues to life and to break down large complex issues into smaller, more comprehensible chunks.
We have 20 dedicated resources based on ‘UN International Days’: days set aside every year to raise awareness of global issues and to encourage action by governments and communities. With factsheets and activities for primary and secondary students, these resources help you cover issues such as: human rights, science, refugees, water and the environment. Each month there are several opportunities to teach one of these lessons. Find out what’s coming up and use our resources to guide you.
This year the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a landmark document which inspires us to continue to work to ensure all people can gain freedom, equality and dignity – turns 70. UNA-UK has the resources to help you bring human rights to life any day of the year including the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on 10 December.
By teaching about global issues and fostering a greater understanding of the work of international institutions, we hope to encourage and promote critical and reflective thinking about global challenges and see students make connections between their lives and the lives of others across the world.
Photo: Laurel Hart/UNA-UK supporters at Conference '17
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On 31 December 2016, Ban Ki-moon's final term as UN Secretary-General comes to an end. As well as a thank you letter from UNA-UK's Executive Director, UNA-UK encouraged members of its movement to express their gratitude on social media.