Monday, 30 March 2015

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UNRIC Library Backgrounder: Educational Resources

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United Nations Cyberschoolbus

CyberSchoolBus LogoThe United Nations Cyberschoolbus was created in 1996 as the online education component of the Global Teaching and Learning Project, whose mission is to promote education about international issues and the United Nations.
UN Cyberschoolbus is currently down for maintenance and will return in a few months with a new design and new content.

UN Public Inquiries Unit

The UN Public Inquiries Unit handles queries from the general public about the United Nations and its work.  Public Inquiries produces easy-to-read and topical Fact Sheets and has a variety of brochures, publications and posters published by the UN Department of Public Information, as well as by other UN Departments, Agencies and Programmes.

Global Issues on the UN Agenda

From the suffering of the Second World War emerged a new international organization - the United Nations. The UN's founding, in 1945, enabled its Member States and their peoples to work together to promote peace and cooperation, economic and social development, and a clear vision codified by international law. Ever since, the UN system has addressed those uniquely global problems which require cooperative efforts. These are the Global Issues on the UN Agenda. This website offers an overview of some of these global issues, and links to other resources where you can gain additional information.

Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guide - UN Information for Young People

This research guide provides links to some UN resources for and about young people. Most United Nations websites are created for adults. They are usually written for policy-makers, government officials, and experts. There are not many UN websites or resources for young people.

UN Information Service (UNIS) Vienna – Teaching Resources

For teachers who want to teach their students about the work and goals of the United Nations, UNIS Vienna has several useful teaching resources available on the following topics: Peace & Security, Development, Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs, and International Law.


Selected Publications Available Online

Basic Facts about the United Nations 2014
Digital preview:  
2011 edition, available in full text:

Basic Facts about the United Nations 2014This comprehensive handbook designed for the general public explains the structure of the United Nations, how the Organization works, the main issues it addresses and its importance for people everywhere. In addition to setting out the various roles played by principle UN organs and related organizations, Basic Facts about the United Nations documents the Organization’s contributions to international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, humanitarian action, international law and decolonization. Appendices contain current data on UN membership and peacekeeping operations, as well as contact information for UN information centres, services and offices. This latest edition has been revised to take account of significant developments in the world and the Organization itself since 2011.

United Nations at a Glance (December 2012)
Partial online version:

United Nations at a GlanceThis simple, authoritative guide provides a starting point for readers who are new to the UN. In clear language, this book explains what the UN does, how the UN does it, who the actors are, and when historical milestones occurred. Illustrated with photos and stories from the field, the guide examines the work of the UN in international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, and humanitarian action. As a resource to students and teachers alike, additional features include definitions of frequently used terms, rich statistics, questions and answers, and the building blocks of international law. For anyone who wants to learn more about the world's foremost intergovernmental organisation, The United Nations at a Glance is the perfect place to start.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the United Nations: For Students at Intermediate and Secondary Levels
(April 2010)

Everything you always wanted to know about the United NationsThis booklet has been designed to enable students at intermediate and secondary levels to learn more about the United Nations, its work and achievements. It also presents a comprehensive overview of the main issues the Organization deals with, such as peace and security, the UN Millennium Development Goals, and human rights. Filled with photographs and statistical data, it is an easy-to-read and highly educational guide to the Organization for students and teachers.

Growing Together: Youth and the Work of the United Nations

growingtogetherThe brochure is an example of how the United Nations system and the young people it serves are growing together. By taking stock of UN system activities related to youth development, the brochure provides a chance to assess how effectively the United Nations system is responding to this important development challenge, and it helps to identify any gaps that may exist in our approach.

United Nations Publications – Resources for Educators

United Nations Publications offers a wide range of books that inform teachers and students about key issues facing the world today such as human rights, conflict prevention and peace building, economic and social issues, environment and sustainable development.

United Nations Chronicle
“The Youth Issue” (Vol. XLVII, No. 4, 2010):
“Education” (Vol. L, No. 4, 2013):

UN Chronicle: The Youth Issue educationA must-read for every concerned world citizen, the United Nations Chronicle is a quarterly, easy-to-read report on the work of the United Nations and its agencies. Produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information, every issue covers a wide range United Nations related activities: from fighting the drug war to fighting racial discrimination, from relief and development to nuclear disarmament, terrorism, and the world-wide environmental crisis.



Other UN Educational Websites

United Nations Website

Disarmament Education: Resources for Learning (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs)

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme – Educational Materials

Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations - Educational Materials

International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005-2015 - Kids and Youth
The Water Decade offers the opportunity for everyone to learn and get involved on water issues. In this section you will find different resources (games, videos, tales, etc.) that can help you to learn more about water and inspire you and those around you to take action. We also hope you will share your work with us so that we can also learn from you.

UN Water - For Youth and Kids


UN Funds, Programmes & Specialized Agencies

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – School Food & School Gardens

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Information and online learning activities about the IMF, money, and macroeconomics
This site has been created for intermediate, secondary, and college students. The IMF Centre for Students features games, interactive role-playing stories, and curricula about money, the IMF, global cooperation, and macroeconomics.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – Training and Education Materials
This series consists of publications aimed at supporting general human rights education efforts. It includes information on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, a study on human rights education and human rights treaties, and a practical book to support human rights education in schools.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - Educational Resources for Teachers  
This section of UNHCR's website provides a wide range of educational materials, ranging from publications and posters to DVDs. These are ideal materials to help children and young adults learn more about refugee issues. There is also a Kid’s zone and a section on Lesson Modules that are specifically designed materials to help teachers everywhere integrate refugee issues into the classroom in innovative and exciting ways.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Youth Corner
The UNECE has developed a series of games that offer a fun way for children of all ages to learn more about how the United Nations and the UNECE work and the goals they strive to achieve. This section offers several interactive puzzles, quizzes, and games that challenge, inform and entertain.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future
This is an UNESCO programme prepared for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). It provides professional development for student teachers, teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – TUNZA: Children and Youth Programme
This websites helps young people concerned about the environment do something good. It provides materials, builds networks, and arranges conferences and art competitions.

UNEP - Kids Against Marine Litter
Several agencies and organizations working with the issue of marine litter (marine debris) offer educational material and special activities for children. The overall purpose of these efforts is to make children familiar with the marine environment, make them care about it and understand the consequences of abusing it. The educational programmes are about waste management in general and/or about marine litter in particular. A few examples of programmes and activities targetting children/students (and their teachers) are given here.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – Voices of Youth
Voices of Youth (VOY) was founded in 1995 as UNICEF’s online place for young people to learn more about issues affecting their world. VOY was recently redesigned for a more modern youth audience and is now the go-to place where you can know more, learn more and do more about our world! You can share your thoughts and opinions with thousands of people from all over the world. You can also discuss social issues such as Education, Environment or Violence and Conflict and inform yourself about HIV/AIDS, Health or Human Rights.

World Bank – YouThink!
Youthink! is a blog for sharing stories and ideas on how young people are shaping the fight against poverty and the future of development.

World Food Programme (WFP) – Students and Teachers
Teachers and students are especially important to WFP because the more people learn about hunger, the more likely it is that the problem will be solved.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Publications for Young People and Schools   
WIPO has produced a range of publications aimed at young people and schools. These publications are designed to foster the creativity and inventiveness of future generations, while at the same time raising awareness about the value of intellectual property (IP).

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – Youth Corner
This web site dedicated to children and teens answers frequently asked questions you may have about weather, climate and water. It is also a starting point for a better understanding of how these affect every aspect of your daily life. Information on weather, climate and water is vital for protecting our environment and for making the planet safer for us all, especially for future generations.

World Trade Organization (WTO) – Students and young professionals
Explore this page to find out more about the work of the WTO, opportunities for students and young professionals, and how trade is relevant to you and your country.


Further Information

 Youth Delegate Programme 

Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country's official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

UN Competitions, Campaigns, Mobile Apps & Games 

United Nations on Social Media 



January 2015
not an official document - for information only


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Backgrounders on DRCongo, Ukraine, Syria

Library Newsletter - March 2015

new Backgrounders: Ebola,
        Post-2015 Development Agenda