screen capture of UN intranet site “iSeek”
UNESCAP UN Day events in Korea attract 2,500 young people
Hundreds of middle and high school students and university students flocked to the G-Tower in Songdo, Incheon, Republic of Korea (ROK) on 22 October, not an ordinary scene for the staff working in the UN offices located in the G-Tower including UNESCAP’s East and North-East Asia (ENEA) Office. The young students came to attend the UN Career Fair and the UN Day Speech Contest 2015, organized and hosted by the ENEA Office to mark the 70th year of UN. The two events attracted some 2,500 young people eager to learn more about the UN and explore career opportunities in the UN system. This kind of information is not easily accessible to a lot of young people in Korea.
The UN Career Fair, in particular, brought other UN offices and international organizations located in ROK. It provided a number of lectures given by the heads of UN offices and international organizations in ROK on a wide range of topics, including refugees (UNHCR), the zero hunger challenge (World Food Programme) and forced migration (International Organization for Migration). The programme included a press conference style session in which a four-person panel made up of current UN staff talked to the students about their experience of working at the UN and participated in an engaging discussion.
A student told the ENEA Office about his experience that day: “I’ve come to realize that there are many people around the world working behind the scenes to make the world a better place.”
The UN Day events attracted aspiring students not only from the surrounding Seoul, but also from other regions of the country. “Attending the UN Career Fair opened my horizons. It’s a whole new world that I am seeing right now, and I feel I should study harder and learn as best as I can,” said 18-year old Hee-ju Ahn, a Korean high school student from Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, which is about 3 hours down south from the capital Seoul.
Separate from the UN Career Fair, the UN Day Speech Contest Final was held simultaneously on the same day. 35 high school students and 9 university students selected from a rigorous preliminary evaluation process entered the competition. The finalists spoke about a world issue they chose, such as the current refugee crisis, migration, the issue of child labor embedded in a chocolate bar they so easily consume, climate change and sustainable development, and presented how the UN should respond to those problems. The heads of UN offices who evaluated their speeches as judges, including ENEA Office Director Kilaparti Ramakrishna, were amazed by the depth of their knowledge and the amount of research and practice they had put into their speeches, and congratulated them on their outstanding performance and achievements.