Annual U.N. Student Conference on Human Rights

NY Links’ Linda Z. Haley, (center) with high school students and principals outside the UN.
Photo by Gideon Manasseh.
Photo by Gideon Manasseh

High school students from the New York Metropolitan area were chaperoned by the New York State NAACP and New York Links, Inc. last week on the final day of the three-day annual United Nations Student Conference on Human Rights.

Approximately 700 high school students from the United States, Canada, France, Mexico and Romania participated in the three-day, 14th Annual United Nations Student Conference on Human Rights, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 under the theme, Discrimination and Human Rights Defenders.

At U.N. headquarters, students representing close to 40 New York City public schools and schools in Wyoming and Winnipeg, Canada, were linked by video conference to their counterparts in Memphis, Tennessee; Toulouse, France; Mexico City and Tărgu-Mures, Romania; to share their research on the various conference subthemes.

The United Nations Information Centre in Mexico City organized a parallel regional student conference with participants from 19 countries in Latin America.

On Dec. 1-2, students met at U.N. headquarters and were addressed by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and head of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović.

“Millions of people suffer discrimination every day simply because of who they are,” Mr. Šimonović said.

L/R: Brenda Smith (PhD), Evelyn Kalibala (NY Links), Merriette Pollard, Dr. Marcella Maxwell (NY Links), Linda Zango-Haley (NY Links), Yvonne Acosta (UN Chief of Educational Outreach).
Photo by Gideon Manasseh.
Gideon Manasseh

“It is up to each of us to take action to realize a world where all are born free and equal. The conference is a great opportunity for young people to discuss how they can make a difference.”

Each video conference site developed, via group discussion, a series of project proposals which students are encouraged to implement in their schools or local communities. The project proposals were presented to and critiqued by the panel of experts on the final day of the conference.

The three-day conference was organized by the Department of Public Information as part of the commemoration of Human Rights Day, which is observed annually by the United Nations on Dec. 10, also the 10th anniversary of the Durban conference (the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance).

The student conference is an integral part of the United Nations international human rights education programmed for high school students.

For additional information on this conference and on the United Nations Department of Public Information’s education outreach programmes, contact Yvonne Acosta, chief of education outreach at (212) 963-7214, by e-mail at [email protected]; or Bill Yotive, manager, Global Teaching and Learning Project at (212) 963-1400 or: [email protected]

NY Links’ Linda Z. Haley (third from left) with Metropolitan High School students outside the U.N. Nations on third day of the Student Conference on Human Rights.
Photo by Gideon Manasseh.
Gideon Manasseh

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