Pretoria – The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Pretoria, together with the United Nations Communications Group South Africa, organized a series of activities to celebrate the Organization’s 66th birthday.
On 24 October, UNIC and the UNCG organised a two-part information programme at the University of Pretoria to raise awareness among students about the diverse work of the UN in South Africa and globally. A range of UN speakers shared their career experiences in the Organization with senior students, who may be interested in pursuing careers with the UN.
This was followed by an interactive informal quiz session in which UN Student Association students along with other students, totalling about 80, answered challenging questions about the UN. Students were very energetic and vocal during the quiz, competing to be rewarded with prizes.
UN Day also featured a formal commemoration with UN staff at the UN offices in Pretoria. Participants heard the UN Day message by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, an address by UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Agostinho Zacharias, as well as a performance by the music group called Fine Tones.
Additionally the UN’s internal sustainability programme, Greening the Blue, awarded the winners of the “Up-cycling” competition. The contestants had submitted a variety of innovative objects made from materials that households and offices usually throw away. The winners’ entries were recycled objects that were most practical or beautiful.
From 17-21 October, in the lead-up to UN Day, the UN in South Africa underscored the work of the Organization with its UN4U Programme, an outreach initiative that brings UN staff into local high schools to talk to students during hour-long sessions. Speakers from different UN agencies visited nine schools in Pretoria and Johannesburg to share how the UN makes a difference in people’s lives and their current responsibilities at the UN, with the aim of reaching these thousands of students a personal level.
21 October, the last day of the UN4U programme, featured a day-long soccer tournament in Pretoria. The highlight of the day was a match between FC Intern Stars, a Department of International Relations and Cooperation‘s (DIRCO) soccer team, and the United Nations in South Africa’s team. DIRCO trounced the UN 4-0. The tournament brought together the staff of both organizations which will work close together at COP17, the climate change conference taking place from 28 November to 10 December in Durban.