2015 Focus on Youth Outreach - with Activities for All Ages!
by Lynn Bartley
At its annual January planning retreat, the Greater Lansing UNA’s Board identified four focal areas for 2015. One of them was to increase our outreach to youth. Some of the plans being developed include:
- World Friendship Day in March (see following article)
- An Intergenerational Model UN experience for ages approximately 8 to 120!
- A “walk/run for peace” for ALL ages to celebrate International Peace Day in September. Our entire community will be invited to participate.
- Outreach to schools, encouraging them to start Model UN clubs.
- A UNA display at MSU’s World Language Day event on Saturday, March 28th.
Are you interested in participating in or helping to launch any of these planned events or initiatives? Your creative ideas, volunteered time or monetary donations will be most welcome and appreciated.
Let us know how you want to help by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations (made payable to GLUNA) can be sent to GLUNA, PO Box 283, DeWitt, MI 48820. Be sure to check our website (www.gluna.org) and watch for informational emails for more details as they become available. We’ll provide a progress update in the next issue of our quarterly newsletter in June.
World Friendship Day
by Nancy Lubeski
Later in March the Greater Lansing United Nations Association will join hands with partnering community organizations and present our fifth annual World Friendship Day. Building our relationships with LATTICE (Linking All Types of Teachers to International, Cross-Cultural Education), the Peace Education Center, and Michigan State University’s Asian Studies Center, the focus of this year’s World Friendship Day will be to promote international education and diversity for youth. Lewton Elementary School, Global Studies/Spanish Immersion Magnet School, in Lansing will host this year's event.
Over one hundred people will attend this year's event, including the fifth graders from Lewton Elementary School. Community volunteers, 4-H leaders, MSU international students and faculty and many others will enrich the day's activities.
World Friendship Day activities place an emphasis on personal empowerment, service projects, learning about other cultures and making friends with people from around the world. Educational sessions enable upper elementary school youth to learn about global diversity, school systems, poverty, arts, music, and experience a slice of life from various countries, Our keynote speaker and CNN hero, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, will tell his story of growing up in Uganda and his current work in supporting schools for youth with HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
It is always very inspiring to see school youth engaged in learning about other cultures and making friends with people from around the world. World Friendship Day certainly provides a unique opportunity for our youth and community to come together to make our world a better place. It is only through education and deeper understandings of one another that we will be able to live together in peace and harmony.
Global Education Awards
by Nancy Lubeski
Each year the Greater Lansing United Nations Association (GLUNA) sponsors awards for outstanding contributions to Global Education and International Understanding. The Loy LaSalle Award is given to an outstanding K-12 teacher, and the Craig B. Stuttman Award is given to an outstanding high school student. All schools, educators and community members throughout the greater Lansing area are encouraged to submit nominations. Click here for student award criteria and student nomination form, and here for teacher award and teacher nomination form. Or, visit our website, www.gluna.org to access the forms under the Global Education tab.
Each prestigious award carries a cash stipend, UNA/USA membership and will be presented at the outstanding teacher’s and outstanding student’s year-end school award ceremony.
Nominations must be submitted no later than Friday, May 1, 2015. Award winners and their schools will be contacted by Wednesday, May 6, 2015.
Syrian Refugee Crisis - Donations Urgently Needed!
(This information is compiled from the UNHCR website)
The office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is “mandated to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.” In a February, 2015 address to the UN Security Council, High Commissioner António Guterres reported that the Syrian refugee crisis has escalated to the point of threatening regional stability as well as global peace and security.
3.8 million Syrians are refugees. This is the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.
The Syrian conflict and its impact on the surrounding region has resulted in a mega-crisis, with over 3.8 million Syrians seeking refuge in neighboring countries, severely overstretching host communities. The staggering growth in displacement has changed the nature of the refugee crisis; despair is rising, and the available protection space is shrinking. We are approaching a dangerous turning point. International support is far from meeting the magnitude of needs.
What UNHCR is doing to help
UNHCR provides basic and necessary humanitarian aid for Syrians struggling with the harsh climate conditions and helping the most vulnerable refugees with urgently needed relief—cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing. By helping refugees in the surrounding region, UNHCR hopes to reduce the number of desperate Syrians falling prey to smugglers and traffickers to reach safety elsewhere.
Your help is needed
YOU CAN help make a difference. A donation of as little as $50 can register 150 refugees, assess their needs, and help trace their families. A donation of $500 sinks two wells to provide clean drinking water to forcibly displaced people to prevent illness or death from bacterial infections. Click here to learn more about the critical needs donations provide for. Donate online here (unhcr.org/donate).
READ an article by Greater Lansing United Nations Association Board Member Emeritus Steve Osborn here.
Thank you for your support to meet this critical need!
Watch for the next issue of the CommUNAcator in June!