Survey Shows Teenagers Have Good Knowledge and Positive View of UN:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Does Good Work

Students from the Copenhagen International School 

Students from the Copenhagen International School

UNIS Vienna:  An enterprising 14 year old in the 9 th grade at the International School of Copenhagen, Denmark, carried out a survey among 24 of her peers, aged 14-15 in class 9N. The participants were American, British, Danish, Dutch, German, Malaysian, Pakistani and Swedish. The survey was built around six questions on UN issues. The responses demonstrate that most of the participants had considerable basic knowledge of the UN that could be used as an initial point of further education, since in-depth information was not given.

1.  What is the first phrase which comes to mind when you think of the UN?

The respondents' predominant thought was cooperation of all nations to solve global problems. The most representative answer was: to unite different nations and help people around the world. The organization's work was mostly associated with unity, followed by the quest for global peace or peacekeeping.

2.  What do you know about the UN and Human Rights?

The UN is viewed as the organization that creates or has the power to define human rights. One respondent said "The UN works to give everybody equal rights and tries to make sure everyone has a reasonable standard of living". Another participant noted that UN engagement in this issue is especially distinct in developing human rights for children, in which UNICEF and its role were also mentioned.

3.  UN and climate change?

In this respect, the Kyoto protocol, global warming and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were mentioned. There was also reference to the UN preventing or reducing climate change with countries working together. One participant said, "They try to make people aware of how our daily life affects the climate".

4.  UN and peacekeeping?

Emphasis was on the UN trying to enforce and keep global peace. Some participants mentioned UN peacekeeping forces as key instruments for keeping peace.

5.  If you could ask the UN for one thing, what would that be?

One participant stressed the importance of support to SE Asia; others demanded the same for Africa: poor children, in Africa for example, need food, education and a place to live.  Another participant asked that the UN "get American troops out of Iraq".

6.  What brief message do you have for the UN Secretary-General?

The UN Secretary-General is viewed as doing good work. Brief messages: "Good job, Sir, I salute you"; "Enjoy!"; "Keep up the good work!" and "You rock!"

Shandana Mufti is the daughter of the Pakistani Ambassador in Denmark. Her mother also served at the UN Permanent Mission in New York, and her father is the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Vienna. Because of her keen interest in international and UN affairs, she decided to create this project to gauge the views of her peers.

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For further information contact:

Martha Villa Godínez, Associate Information Officer, UNIS, Vienna