UNIS opens its doors to youth - with workshops and a Model United Nations on the topic of refugees
Young people from Vienna learned more about the situation facing refugees at a series of events hosted by the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna on the occasion of World Refugee Day (20 June).
Starting with a workshop on 19 June for high school students organized by the UNHCR office in Austria and the director and the producer of the theatre play "Die Reise" ("The journey") currently playing at the Viennese Volkstheater, the participants had the opportunity to learn more about topics such as flight and migration on a personal level. Three actors "Die Reise" talked about their personal experiences as migrants and refugees and engaged with the students to explore their own experiences with these issues. In an interactive and playful way, the group of about 50 students, many of them with a migration background themselves, staged little plays enacting their own experiences of migration.
The event was followed on 20 June 2012 by a Model United Nations Conference with special focus on migration and refugees, organized by the Institute for International Development at the University of Vienna. Simulating a real session of the United Nations General Assembly, the 60 students split up in committees to work out resolutions on the various issues, while acting as delegates of different UN Member States, NGOs and other international institutions. The resolutions addressed topics such as "climate refugees", the legal definition of refugees, human rights and sustainable solutions for the prevention of flight.
These two days raised awareness about refugees and migration among all participants and brought some real-life examples to their attention, so creating a very personal experience as well.