Category Archives: UNIC Canberra Events

The Courage and Resilience of Migrants and Refugees

As part of the UN’s “Together, Respect Safety and Dignity for All” Campaign Belinda Mason Director of the film ‘Constance on the Edge” talks to UNIC Canberra’s Julia Dean about the strength and resilience of migrants – what they have to offer their new communities and how a chat and a hot ‘cup of tea’ may be all that is needed to create new friendships.

The film Constance on the Edge, filmed over 10 years, is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of one refugee family’s resettlement story in Australia. Brave, lion-hearted, charismatic Constance, mother of six, confronts her painful past in war torn Sudan, and risks everything in Australia so her family can thrive.

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian Peoples Celebrations in Canberra

palestine-day-2016On 1 December, in collaboration with the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, and the Council of Arab Ambassadors, UNIC Canberra held a reception at the Albert Hall in Canberra.

The celebration also featured traditional fashion show, a Palestinian cultural corner, and a photography exhibition looking at nearly seven decades of UNRWA delivering education services to Palestine refugee children in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.

71st United Nations Day celebration in Canberra

img_0210webThis year the world celebrates the 71 Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. Its theme was to highlight actions people can take to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In Australia the occasion was marked in Canberra with a flag raising ceremony jointly organised by UNIC Canberra with the United Nations Association of Australia, together with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst Visit to Australia

img_6070The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mr Michel Forst, undertook an official mission to Australia from the 4 to 18th of October.

UNIC Canberra assisted with logistical arrangements and also on the 18th of October organised a press conference for the Special Rapporteur to present his preliminary findings to the Australian media.

During the press conference he called on the Government of Australia to urgently dispel civil society’s growing concerns about the combined ‘chilling effect’ of its recent laws, policies and actions constraining the rights of human rights defenders and noted that he “was astonished to observe mounting evidence of a range of cumulative measures that have concurrently levied enormous pressure on Australian civil society.”

UNIC Canberra National Information Officer Julia Dean interviewed the Special Rapporteur for
UN Radio.


Murringo Public School Talks Sustainable Development Goals

In a small town in New South Wales there is a small stone school surrounded by 100 year old elm trees. The students of Murringo Primary School and UNIC Canberra spent a happy day discussing, interviewing and filming thoughts on the Sustainable Development Goals – this is the result.

You can also see our video project
For more information on the Sustainable Development Goals



World Humanitarian Day Briefing by UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea

IMG_4398 (1)On the 23 August to celebrate World Humanitarian Day UNIC Canberra organised a Diplomatic briefing via Webex by the UN Resident Coordinator, Papua New Guinea, Mr Roy Trivedy.

The briefing was focused on the El Nino climate pattern over the last year, its impact on Papua New Guinea and the corresponding humanitarian efforts to assist communities.

Beginning his briefing, Mr Trivedy said that the El Nino brought with it severe drought and frosts which was catastrophic for a country like Papua New Guinea which has 80 percent of its population heavily reliant of subsistence agriculture.

He explained the various impacts of the El Nino and how communities struggled to cope. One main issue was the lack of rainfall which resulted in the rivers and rainwater catchments drying up leading to a drastic decrease in access to clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. And where communities were reliant on waterways for transport the drop in water level caused difficulties in accessing markets, he said.

In addition to these problems drought created food shortages and food insecurity as food gardens wouldn’t grow – resulting in some communities having to rely on wild crops and berries which is generally regarded as famine food, he added.

Promoting Sustainable Living through photography

CIT students at launch of UN CIT Photography competitionUNIC Canberra joined the Canberra Institute of Technology to launch the 2016 Photography Competition. Now in its seventh year with the theme of “Living Sustainably”, the competition aims to challenge photography students to picture one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in a way that would encourage each and every one of us to take action Continue reading

International Year of Pulses – Celebrated in South Australia


Adelaide, 8 June 2016: The versatility and ease of preparation of pulses were on display at a school cooking class at Kilkenny Primary School in Adelaide. It was no ordinary class for the 30 students who had the opportunity to cook a range of dishes with the help of celebrity chefs and VIPs.
The event, organized by the South Australian Division of the United Nations Association of Australia, was the culmination of the school’s focus on the International Year of Pulses (IYP). It had been preceded by short talk on the benefits of pulses at the school assembly by Peter Semmler, from the Australian IYP Committee. Peter, as well as internationally renowned chef Cheong Liew, and Adelaide chefs Gareth Grierson of The Red Door Bakery and Fatema Ayubi of the Parwana Afghani Restaurant, were joined by UNIC Director, Christopher Woodthorpe, to each cook a specific dish with a team of students.


With the Adelaide Advertiser on hand to record the event, the pressure was on in the kitchens as knives chopped, pans sizzled and the room was filled with enticing aromas. Having cleaned their stations, composted waste products and set out their dishes, the assembled sat down to a delicious five course meal of soup, frittatas, fritters and fabulous salads as the pulses came into their own in a feast that all will remember.

For more information on International Year of Pulses

2016 World Oceans Day Celebrated with South Australian Students



Adelaide, 8 June 2016. While the wind whipped the surf up only a short distance away, UNIC Canberra celebrated World Oceans Day 2016 at two primary schools in Adelaide. At both the Kilkenny and Fulham North primary schools, the young students were quick to put up their hands and engage in a discussion about keeping the oceans free of litter and enjoyed watching a short UNEP video about marine litter.


Speaking to the children, the UNIC Director, told them of one of the ocean garage patches which was one and half times the size of the state they lived in, South Australia and how marine litter impacts marine animals and plants. When asked who had participated in a beach clean-up it was inspiring to see hundreds of hands up. The idea of using less plastic and trying not to use plastic bags were also voiced by many of children as was the importance of discarding litter properly. They also recognised the importance of reusing plastic and were amazed when the UNIC Director showed them the plastic water bottle he had taken around the world with him.