On 23 – 27 March 2010, eight award-winning junior and senior high school students visited the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN through the Oku / Inoue Commemorative Youth UN Visit program. The students, who wrote speeches about global issues, such as achieving Millennium Development Goals and raising global awareness, were the winners of a national speech / essay contest held in Tokyo last year.
During their visit, on 24 March, the students toured the UN and were briefed by Japanese UN Staff about the workings of the UN as well as their experiences working in an international environment as a Japanese national. They then met with the German Press Counsellor, Ms. Katharina Ahrendts at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN who gave a detailed briefing on Germany and Japan’s similarities with regards to the two country’s work and goals at the UN.
On 25 March, UNICEF and UNESCO hosted briefings for the students in their offices, where the students had the opportunity to learn about their work in bettering the lives of children and the environment, and how they had opportunities to help.
Later that day, they visited the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN and heard a briefing by Minister Katsuhide Ariyoshi. The students were given an insight into the Mission of Japan’s work in the UN and the importance of participation. The students also received a special briefing by H.E. Mr. Jakkrit Srivali, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the UN, along with Second Secretary Ms. Pronprom Petklai, and Second Secretary Ms. Maratee Andamo, whom described Thailand’s active partnership with Japan in both the bilateral and international spheres.
The Oku / Inoue Commemorative Youth UN Visit program is an annual program sponsored by the Government of Japan and the U.N. Association of Japan for the purpose of enhancing student’s understanding and interest in the United Nations and the international community. The program enables the students to spend five days in New York, where they not only learn about the UN, but also visit a local high school for a student exchange.