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|UN Day Observed in Russian Cities|
|By UPF - Russia|
|Wednesday, October 24, 2012|
UPF-Russia organized forums and round-table discussions in Moscow and several other cities commemorating UN Day on October 24, the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Charter in 1945. In 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending that member states observe this day as a public holiday. October 24 is a remarkable date that unites people concerned with the theory and practice of international politics, specialists in international law, and representatives of the vast community of experts in international affairs. UN Day observances offered opportunities for people to share their insights with the younger generation and stimulate greater interest in global affairs.
The leader of the UPF-Moscow chapter, Dmitry Samko, was MC for a program for Ambassadors for Peace, representatives of NGOs and cultural organizations. At the beginning, Young Ambassador for Peace Elena Kolesnichenko shared about the problems of the youth, the potential of youth movements, and the cooperation of youth organizations toward fulfilling the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Professor Andrei Volkov talked about the history of the UN and explained the current state of affairs in the United Nations. He emphasized the importance of NGOs cooperating with UN, especially in the field of promoting international harmony.
In his report, the leader of UPF-Russia, Konstantin Krylov, talked about the new UPF initiative to promote dialogue between the Russian Federation and the European Union. He emphasized UPF's support for the recent initiative of the Russian Federation Government to establish visa-free passage between the Russian Federation and the European Union. Conferences and cultural programs are planned aiming at dissolving barriers of distrust between the nations and peoples of the European Union and Russia.
Then Artur Makarov, a poet, recited his poetry; Arseny Kritsky, vice-president of the International Foundation of Military and Historical Heritage, presented his project about Belarus–Russia cooperation.
In commemoration of UN Day, the honored artist of Russia Vladimir Frolov sent a congratulatory address to participants in the event:
“The wheels of state often underestimate the human factor. Therefore, the activity of different NGOs in support of the system of values indicated in the UN Charter (adopted on October 24, 1945) is so important. The commitment of Ambassadors for Peace and their dedication to strengthening these values is not just a rhetorical gesture; it comes from the heart. The devaluation of words and terms is much more dreadful than any financial collapse. When children cannot trust their parents, they become a lost generation; when people cannot trust politicians and religious leaders, society reaps disorder, riots, bloodshed, and finally large-scale wars. The UN plays a special role in the modern world. One sage said: 'The purpose of establishing the UN was not to create heaven on the earth but to prevent people from plunging into hell.' Without the United Nations the world would become much more chaotic and unpredictable. With all my heart, I congratulate Ambassadors for Peace, these spiritual knights! I sincerely hope to achieve together with you the noble purpose of creating universal happiness."
A round table on "Problems in International Relations” initiated by the Faculty of Secondary Professional Education in cooperation with UPF took place at the Moscow Academy of Economics and Law.
The coordinator and initiator of the round table, Nargis Ismailova, lecturer on Special Juridical Disciplines at the Faculty of Secondary Professional Education of the Moscow Academy of Economics and Law, a Young Ambassador for Peace, said: "Interethnic relations and problems related to them have always been discussed and debated in the UN system, being one of the main topics on the agenda. Through activities such as this round table, I would like to teach students an understanding of the situation and stimulate them to respect different nationalities and each other."
Representing the university administration was Natalia Kivva, Vice Rector for Work with Branches and Supplementary Education, an economist and senior lecturer. She said: "Current issues of interethnic dialogue affect everyone, but we as university lecturers would like to give them special attention, because we want to see our students become well-educated and broad-minded people."
The Universal Peace Federation was presented on the round table by Dmitry Samko, who shared about various UPF volunteer projects aimed at strengthening interethnic relations and developing interethnic dialogue. In conclusion, he presented a video about the activities of UPF in Russia and other nations.
Among the invited experts were Vladimir Frolov, an Honored Artist of Russia, actor and director; and Juvenaly Kalantarov, film director and Honored Worker of Arts of Russia.
Vladimir Frolov emphasized the importance of promoting international friendship through the prism of culture and art, and in his opinion, one of the ways would be cooperation with theaters. He said: "The education of young people should be inextricably linked with culture and art, because these two are always aimed at developing creative abilities, and they add elements of harmony into international relations." He also suggested initiating joint projects between the university and Soprichastnost Theater, in which he is an actor.
Juvenaly Kalantarov spoke about making the right choices in life: "It is very important to develop a personal understanding of culture. You cannot judge people without knowing their culture and traditions. Understanding and respect comes with learning and studying, so one needs to research different cultures, sing their songs, read their literature, etc." In conclusion, he recited verses of the renowned Persian poet Hafez Shirazi.
Nino Gongadze and Ekaterina Davydowskaya, students at the Moscow Academy of Economics and Law, also recited beautiful patriotic poems.
During the round table, students took part in a survey designed to collect data about the relevance of the meeting. Many students noted that there should be more events of the kind, especially in educational institutions. However, the majority of students expressed their view that character education should start in the family, confirming it with examples from their own life. They stated that mutual respect, recognition, and study of different ethnic cultures; developing one’s own cultural level; and rejecting the tendency toward selfishness in the young generation can form the bases for solving ethnic conflicts. Communication with interesting, clever, cultured people can also be extremely valuable.
Considering the seriousness of the subject under discussion, the meeting inspired the young people to think about what kind of world they want to live in, what that world would be like, and what each of them could do to ensure that it will be a world without conflicts and wars.
Finally, new printed publications by the Moscow office of the UN Information Centre and the Moscow chapter of the Universal Peace Federation were displayed for the benefit of the participants of the meeting.
Young Ambassadors for Peace organized a round table at the Udmurt State University in Izhevsk, in the western Urals, to discuss the following issues:
Students of the Faculty of History especially emphasized the key role of Russia in the development of the United Nations, reaffirming the words of the UN Secretary-General. The expansion of electronic communications and development of partnership programs with various NGOs will lead to changes within the organization. The participants noted some successful youth initiatives to raise the level of knowledge about international relations. For example, the Model UN combines a conference and a role-playing game; it simulates real situations and allows participants to solve international problems theoretically. Now in Russia there are more than 30 political platforms, and such round tables could coordinate activities of different platforms.
The round table participants learned about projects of the Youth Ambassadors for Peace, they especially noted the "Kindness beyond Borders" project, an exchange between the youth Israel and the Urals region of Russia, and the Russia-EU Youth Initiative. The Round Table participants expressed their desire to join upcoming projects of Youth Ambassadors for Peace. United Nations Day is becoming an integral part of the student life in Izhevsk.
It is no secret that the majority of students at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, aspire to become diplomats. It is, therefore, no coincidence that activists of the regional Students Scientific Circle initiated a celebration of the International UN Day in their Institute. The chairman of the institute's Students Scientific Circle, Young Ambassador for Peace Lily Ramadan, and the Secretary of the Kazan branch of the Model UN, Young Ambassador for Peace Dinara Garayeva, did a huge amount of organizational and creative work in preparing for this first celebration of UN Day to make it a success. The main goal was to popularize an understanding of the UN's history, structure, main achievements, and challenges. The administration of the institute supported and approved of this initiative.
The UN Day celebration was organized at the Assembly Hall of the Institute of Oriental Studies and was attended by students and teachers. Guests were welcomed by information boards with photos reflecting the world through the prism of the UN. The colorful pages displayed a timeline of the main events in the UN's development.
The banquet hall became a site for vigorous discussions. The teaching corps consisted of the Director of the Institute and vice-rector of the Department of External Relations, Associate Professor Linar Latypov; Head of the Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy Department, Professor Yakov Grishin; and Associate Professor of International and European Law, Uzeir Mammadov.
The round table was opened with welcoming addresses. All speakers emphasized significance and relevance of the event. Professor Grishin announced that the round table would expand students' basic knowledge about the UN system. Professor Latypov shared some practical points and his impressions about the nature and activities the Russian mission at the UN. Professor Mammadov thanked the organizers for the invitation and stressed the importance of studying the designated topics.
Then the experts presented their vision of the main challenges and tasks facing the United Nations. Profesdessor Grishin drew attention to the historical facts directing the UN's development towards a bipolar era. In turn, Professor Mammadov outlined a number of serious problems facing the UN, namely the recently designated “responsibility to protect,” periodic violations of human rights, legal difficulties in conducting multinational operations, and the need to reform the UN Charter and the UN Security Council.
In response, the participants expressed interest in the UN's activities to counter terrorism; many questions were asked regarding the issues and scenarios related to reforming the Charter and the structure of the Security Council, including veto rights. The presenters elaborated on the issues from the perspectives of diplomacy and international law.
Dinara Garaeva spoke about the Model UN program, and Lily Romadan thanked the administration of the Institute for its support and assistance and the participants for their input. The event finished with presenting letters of gratitude to the organizers of the event, and participants unanimously expressed hope that the event will become a tradition.
Students and working youth listened to a lecture about the history of the United Nations, explaining that it was established with the purpose of solving the urgent problems of humanity. Some aspects of the UN's work that are not so widely known were introduced, as for example the UN's role during the Korean conflict. The UN's noteworthy achievements in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were mentioned. Issues of current concern were discussed, including the need for UN renewal, ways to resolve conflicts, new approaches to harmonizing interfaith relations, and events such as UN World Interfaith Harmony Week that is observed each year from February 1 to 7. The participants expressed their desire to conduct a number of events in preparation for the upcoming World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Then the participants participated in a role-play called “Five Principles of Peace.” Their task was to form three groups, “Civil society,” “Parliamentarians,” and “Religions”; write a short message addressed to the citizens of all nations about the principles of establishing peace; and answer five questions:
For one hour, young people together with Ambassadors for Peace discussed the above questions and came to the conclusion that each person is a member of one world family and, therefore, each one is valuable. They talked about the role of the family in educating people and the need to overcome religious, historical, political, and cultural barriers to establishing peace.
After the meeting was over, participants shared informally over tea and refreshments.
These meetings are part of a series of UPF-Russia's programs that promote the UN's ideas and values in order to create dialogue between cultures and promote peace in the world.
A team of volunteers under the theme of “Goodness Shall Be!” started working at the Youth Information and Resources Center in Tchaikovsky, a city in the Perm region near the Ural Mountains, on October 24. On the International UN Day, students conducted a lesson about goodness for high school students; the purpose was to reveal the role and the needed qualities of volunteers. They discussed the following issues:
During discussion the participants wrote down a list of principles for volunteering. The program was coordinated by Irina Golubeva, Ambassador for Peace and coordinator of the Youth Information and Resources Center.
Then, the young people constructed a general image of a volunteer, taking into account various aspects of his or her activities. Finally, they discussed local opportunities for personal growth and the potential of volunteers to be peacemakers, create their own internal peace and expanding peace in the whole world. Children were inspired by such a lively and cheerful lesson and came to the conclusion that one does not need to possess special knowledge, much money, or time if he or she is willing to help people.
Volunteers from the team “Goodness Shall Be!” are planning to conduct a series of further activities.