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Posted in General UN Secretary-General Speaks to Students

Date: 16 May 2019



UN Secretary-General Speaks to Students

A small group of Year 12 and 13 OHS students were fortunate to attend the AUT South Campus public address from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.

The United Nations, which was founded after the Second World War is an intergovernmental organisation whose role is to help maintain international peace and security. It is currently made up of 193 member states.

Ana Apikotoa, Maya Edmunds, Kathryn Haley, Kyle Moodley, Caitlin Read, Heron Twiss and Karolina Vachudova, attended the event where Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, spoke of Climate Change as being “the defining issue of our times”. He expressed frustration at the veto power of the UN Security Council permanent members, which meant making progress on climate change very difficult. He described three of those members, USA, China, and Russia as the “largest global CO2 emitters”. He made the point that the UN really had no power to make change other than ‘naming and shaming’ which to date has been ineffective. He challenged youth to mobilise and make as much noise as possible about Climate Change.

Secretary-General Guterres also spoke of the role the internet and social media play in terrorism. He said that the law has not been able to keep up with the fantastic pace of the technological revolution and this must be addressed.

Onehunga High School was one of only 3 schools chosen by the wider group of 8, to ask a question; they asked, ”How is the UN directly communicating and engaging with the general public and more specifically younger generations?” In reply, the Secretary-General explained that there were more UN youth forums than ever before and the UN was now communicating on various media platforms and using social media as a means of connecting with youth.

Students were impressed by Secretary-General Guterres’ down to earth approach. They felt he engaged effectively with the audience and was genuine in his desire to empower youth.  Students described the experience as ‘enjoyable, enlightening and thought provoking’. They are looking forward to MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly).


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