This summer, visit Refugees: a new exhibition in the UN Visitors Lobby

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Refugees Exhibition, UN Visitors Lobby (c) ARG Media

This upcoming September 2016, the UN General Assembly will address large movements of refugees and migrants at a High-level Summit in New York that will precede the annual General Assembly Debate. In the lead up to this, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign will be partnering with the UN Department of Public Information and UNHCR on an exhibition to draw attention to the plight of refugees, showcasing the individual stories and faces of those who are in in need of immediate help and desperate for the international community to reach and implement comprehensive and sustainable solutions. Through artistic installations that include infographics, photography, video, virtual reality, and a Portal, the exhibition will feature the personal stories of refugees as well as UNHCR’s latest facts and figures about the crisis. The exhibition will be open to the public in the UN Visitors Lobby from 20 June until mid-September.

As part of the exhibition, the UN SDG Action Campaign will bring you two immersive experiences, United Nations Virtual Reality + Portals, that allow visitors to feel first-hand what it means to be a refugee in the Zaatari Camp in Jordan. The Zaatari Camp is home to roughly 80,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war. Children make up half the camp’s population.

Opening of a new UN Portal to connect to the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Participants experiencing Clouds Over Sidra at the Refugees exhibition (c) UN Photo/Loey Felipe

 

Clouds Over Sidra is an award winning United Nations Virtual Reality film, which enables you to see Zaatari through the eyes of a young Syrian Refugee girl living in the camp. Individuals and groups may also schedule an appointment to visit the UN Portal that will and allow them to engage in dialogue and programmed events with Zaatari

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Dialogue with young boys living in Zaatari Camp, inside the Portal

The combined experience enables people to access locations and situations they would otherwise never experience, providing context for some of the most complex issues. Interactive experiences such as these also help build understanding of how successful implementation of the Goals can improve the life of a single person, and hopefully inspires action in helping to improve their lives, however small. Ultimately, the aim is to transform understanding of critical global issues that must be addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals into a medium that is instantly empathetic and universally relatable.

Opening of a new UN Portal to connect to the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Richard Amdur, speech writer for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, tells of his experience after he talked with a young Syrian refugee at the Zaatari camp via the UN Portal  (c) UN Photo/Loey Felipe

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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General that seeks to create an enabling environment for SDG Implementation by building new multi-stakeholder partnerships and empowering people with the knowledge and tools to become actively involved in supporting their governments with the implementation of the SDGs. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the world’s plan and guiding principle towards a more sustainable and equitable planet. These are a universal set of goals, interconnected and focused on leaving no one behind. While these are long-term goals, they are also highly relevant during pressing moments of crisis as well.

United Nations Virtual Reality (UNVR), coordinated by the UN SDG Action Campaign, uses high tech headsets to immerse viewers in some of the most complex global challenges. Building upon its mandate to amplify the voices of those who are often unheard, particularly the world’s most vulnerable, the project seeks to show the human story behind development challenges, allowing people with the power to make a difference have a deeper understanding of their world, and hopefully to act to make a difference. See more: www.UNVR.org #UNVR @sdgaction

Portals is part of a global network of interconnected shipping containers with immersive audio and video technology that allow visitors to converse face-to-face with people across the world. Together they form a global community where people can engage one another across myriad forms of distance. The Portal is made possible by a partnership between the UN SDG Action Campaign; Shared_Studios, a multidisciplinary arts, design, and technology collective focused on carving wormholes in the world through the use of new technologies and partnerships; Bridges of Understanding Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization established in 2007 that enhances positive relations between the United States and Arab World through one-to-one connections between thought leaders and the creation of original youth focused programs; and UNICEF Jordan. See more: www.sharedstudios.com/ #UNPortal #ZaatariPortal @sharedstudios

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(c) ARG Media

Youth Volunteers in Irbid, Jordan: The World We Want

Irbid Youth Volunteers is a youth initiative that works on training and empowering youth and provides them with the needed experience and skills to create positive change in the community. The have made tremendous efforts through volunteerism. In collaboration with the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office in Jordan, they have implemented an initiative as part of the post-2015 consultations in Jordan, which is helping them to shape the dialogue and to achieve the future they want.

As of April 15th, 65% of the almost 40,000 MY World voters in Jordan were people aged 30 and under (11% are aged 15 and under, and 55% are 16-30). 53% of voters 30 and under are female.

The top priorities of voters 15 and under are: “A good education,” “Better Healthcare,” “Affordable and nutritious food” and “Better job opportunities.”

The top priorities of voters 16-30 are: “Better job opportunities,” “A good education,” “Better healthcare” and “An honest and responsive government.”

 

HM Queen Rania meets with the ‘Mark a Difference’ volunteers

5th February, 2014 (Petra, Jordan)

The “Mark A Difference” volunteers in Jordan reiterated their commitment to the Post-2015 cause and to the dissemination of the MY World survey in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. As a member of UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel (HLP), formed to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, Queen Rania met with these very active and enthusiastic youth to discuss the roll out and the outcomes of the “Mark A Difference” campaign in Jordan.

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Since the launch of the campaign by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in May 2013, the volunteers have been a valuable asset in spreading the survey across the Kingdom. Aged between 13 and 25 years old, this young crew comes from the different governorates of Jordan and is determined to give a voice to people in their local communities, and the opportunity to tell global leaders what is the future they want.

During the meeting, HM Queen Rania asserted the important role young Jordanians played in promoting the survey across the Kingdom, thus contributing in identifying priorities and challenges that will help shape the post-2015 agenda. The Queen noted that the volunteers’ participation in promoting the survey is a valuable experience, allowing them to get to know, firsthand, the priorities of their country and find ways that can help overcome the challenges of the development agenda.

Volunteers shared with the Queen their experiences from working in the field, noting that the people they encountered showed great interest in participating in the survey and were delighted to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on national development priorities. “It is really fulfilling to see children in schools reading the survey carefully and discussing what they want to vote for” – said Doha, a volunteer from Amman.Image

Preliminary results from the MY World survey show that the first priorities for Jordan are better job opportunities and better education, followed by better healthcare and honest and responsive government. In this regard, Ali –a volunteer from Irbid- stressed that the first two priorities are closely linked: “If students do not get a proper education, an education that gives them the necessary knowledge and skills to work, then no company will be interested in hiring them”.

Her Majesty added that it is crucial to publish the results of the survey so far so that decision makers and stakeholders can benefit from them. The words of HM Queen Rania strongly motivated the volunteers who are ready to expand their network and continue their efforts in disseminating the survey and the results across the country.

Young representatives also attended the meeting from various local organizations, including Irbid Youth Volunteers, Family Kitchen and X Feer. 

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“Mark A Difference” volunteers in the spotlight of the UN Day in Jordan

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“It is vital to ensure that youth are a part of the conversation to identify the next development priorities, both globally and locally,” HRH Princess Basma bin Talal said during the UN Day celebrations on 24 October, adding that “here in Jordan, youth were a vibrant part of the national consultations”.

Proud of the recent award as the “Best Outreach Partner of the Arab States Region”, the “Mark A Difference” volunteers were the protagonists of the UN Day event held in Amman, attended by over 500 people to commemorate the foundation of the United Nations. Their achievements, enthusiasm and dedication were recognized by HRH Princess Basma bin Talal, the guest of honor.  Continue reading ““Mark A Difference” volunteers in the spotlight of the UN Day in Jordan”

Inclusiveness marks the MY World campaign in Jordan

Building on the enthusiasm of several thousands of Jordanians and 190 organizations mobilized during the Post-2015 agenda national consultations, in May the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in Jordan launched the “Mark A Difference” campaign. Expectations are rising high as more than 300 volunteers are already on board to disseminate the MY World survey in schools and universities across the country, through popular fairs, shopping malls, public events, and approaching people in central avenues. “Of course I want to vote, but I also would like to help you make other Jordanians vote” (Mark A Difference volunteer, July 2013).

While almost 20,000 off-line ballots are travelling across the Kingdom ready to be filled, the top interaction is happening on the UN newly launched social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook captured the attention of prominent people as well as youth, in a total of 8,000 users from all over the country. No surprise then, that the campaign brought us new partners! Jordan’s number one hit music station, Play 99.6 FM, broadcasted 180 times spots on the MY World survey in one month, while 25,000 SMS-ads hit mobile phones screens across the nation. The highlight of this month is the announcement of an Instagram competition on the theme “The Future We Want”.

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UNV Jordan puts an “Eye on the Future”

Children and youth represent the future everywhere in this world –a truth more relevant now than ever, as half of the world’s population is under 25. Jordan is no exception in this respect. The Kingdom is a very young society, and the challenges that especially young Jordanians face in terms of unemployment and civic participation are steep.  However, also in Jordan young people realize they can bring positive change to their communities and to their country. A handful of these motivated Jordanians  created an initiative that aims to provide high school students the chance to make a more sustainable and informed decision regarding their studies. “We were not happy and had to chance something. So we had the idea of “Eye on the Future ”, explains Malek Abu Ghanemeh, one of the initiators. “Eye on Future” was established three years ago as an annual event and an open air carnival of experience exchange. The active exchange and the provision of information will eventually decrease the level of frustration amongst students as well as their families and lead to an overall positive effect on the community as well. Since the whole fair focused on the future of youth, it also gathered different organizations and initiatives and programs, such as “Talal Abu Ghazaleh Knowledge Society” or “Bee Academy”, all aiming to inform students for example about effective learning programs.

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Alberto Natta from Italy, Post-2015 – Assistant at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, collecting votes for the My World Survey at the “Eyes on the Future” Fair at University of Jordan (Rana Jarhum, UNV Programme Officer, July 7th 2013).

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