If you are travelling to New York with your kids, the new Children's Tour of UN Headquarters was launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month. Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, opened the event with the Secretary-General and Monique Coleman, UN Foundation Girl-Up Champion, for kids from New York City schools P.S IS 217 and Trevor Day School, as well as children of staff and Delegates.
"You are the leaders of tomorrow," said the Secretary-General, "I will hand over the torch to you soon." He introduced the new "UN Kids" that have been developed for the children's tours and encouraged the kids present to work together to address issues such as poverty, as not all kids are as fortunate as them.
The development of the "UN Kids" was a collaborative process between the Visitors' Services, Martin Samaan of Graphic Design Unit and Conor Hughes of DGACM.
"The guides had created activities for kids, then we brainstormed and worked together to conceptualize and create a visual look of the activity booklet," said Martin Samaan. "The idea started about a year and a half ago when the tour guides asked for guidance on how to best speak to our youngest visitors," Elisabeth Waechter, Chief of Visitors' Services explained. "The creative energy that was unleashed by those first few brainstorming sessions is really quite amazing and I am extremely happy to see what a wonderful result our collective efforts have achieved," she said.
"We decided to create the six "UN Kids" with Peeka as the central character." Writing the bios for each kid helped bring their personalities out, and shape their visual look. Using Conor's illustrations, Martin composed and created the layout using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
"When developing the characters, we tried to reflect the multicultural societies that we live in," Martin explained. The kids communicate with each other via internet, learn from each other and share each others experiences and daily lives - making them true global kids of today.
Each kid speaks a different UN language and has different hobbies and interests that are reflected in Conor's illustrations. Ibrahim, for example, is first generation French Senegalese and has a dog whose name is Jawara, which means 'peace-loving'. "It is exciting to think about how far these 'UN kids' can go in communicating a message about the UN to kids," Martin added.
"It is always important to take part in a collaborative exercise and to maintain an inspired and engaged team. Working with our clients and receiving their perspective and input and seeing the project grow is one of the greatest rewards for our team at the Graphic Design Unit", said Ziad Al-kadri, Graphic Design Unit Team Leader.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485