Hilda N Liswani Picture

1st Namibian to take part in UNAOC – EF Summer School

The UNAOC-EF Summer School is the result of a collaboration between two organizations committed to bridging cultural divides – the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and EF Education First.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is established in 2005 by the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN Alliance of Civilizations’ mission is to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities.

Hilda Nambili Liswani, aged 23 will be the first Namibian to take part in the programme since its inception. The Summer School aimed to be “a unique space for learning and collaborating that welcomes a diversity of participants, speakers and educators from a wide range of contexts. In this space, diverse perspectives, experiences and epistemologies contribute to greater understanding and respect among people, encourage new thinking, and inspire context-sensitive action and solutions.”

Every year 75 participants are chosen from around the world to address issues at the core of the United Nations’ mandate: peace and security, development, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and international law. More emphasis will be placed on the mandate of UNAOC to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities and EF’s mission of opening the world through education. Participants deliberations will be on global challenges linked to intercultural dialogue and understanding.

This interactive engagement open up a whole new world of knowledge, action around cultural and religious diversity: how to better understand it, manage it, promote it and leverage it to shape a world that is healthier, safer, more peaceful and inclusive. Different methods are applied, including advocacy, narratives, multimedia, negotiation, theater, and social entrepreneurship.

To read more about the programme, visit: http://www.unaocefsummerschool.org/summer-school

The List of participants for this year (Including, Hilda Nambili Liswani, from Namibia) at the following link: http://www.unaocefsummerschool.org/participants









Secretary-General’s message

2015 – Earth Day’s 45th anniversary – could be the most exciting year in environmental history.

The year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands. The year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty. The year in which citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions. These are tough issues but we know what’s at stake is the future of our planet and the survival of life on earth.

On Earth Day we need you to take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction. It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example. For many, climate change seems like a remote problem, but the reality is that it’s already affecting people, animals and places around the world. A change needs to be made. On April 22 we are harnessing the power of Earth Day to show our communities and our leadership that we want action on climate. It’s our turn to lead.


In 2015, let’s redefine what progress looks like. It’s Our Turn to Lead.

Sustainable Development

One billion people still live on less than $1.25 per day. One of the biggest controversies over a treaty has been the issue that developing countries don’t want to give up economic growth no matter the environmental cost, since the US and other developed countries got to pollute their way to the top.


Making a Difference
Over 400,000 people came together this past September in NYC for the biggest climate march of all time. Their call for action from the city streets reverberated around the world. They rallied for their leaders to recognize the catastrophic implications of climate change.

Time for a Treaty
Over the past 20 years, there have been a series of failed attempts to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation. In 1997, the first major international agreement was passed, The Kyoto Protocol. The US—one of the top polluters—didn’t ratify. Since then, many Summits and many efforts to come to agreement—Rio, Copenhagen—have ended in a flop.



New and Emerging Threats Require Renewed Fight against Sexual Violence in Conflict

By Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

An adolescent girl is kidnapped from her village in Iraq and she will be sold or given away to ISIL fighters as a sex slave.  In a detention centre in Syria a man is sexually assaulted to punish him for his political affiliations, real or imagined.  In South Sudan a woman must make the choice between feeding her family or being attacked by armed men when she tries to harvest crops.  In Bosnia, a woman passes the place where she was raped every day during the war there twenty years ago.  This is the reality for women, children and men around the world facing the threat of sexual violence in conflict.

This past year was one of tremendous progress in the fight against conflict-related sexual violence.  In June 2014 the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London brought together thousands of policy makers, researchers, civil society actors and survivors who made renewed commitments to eradicate this human rights violation.  Countries that are grappling with conflict-related sexual violence delivered on some important commitments, with the Democratic Republic of Congo appointing a Presidential Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Recruitment of Children, and Colombia ensuring that survivors of sexual violence have a prominent place at the table as they negotiate a peace agreement to end that country’s decades long civil war.

But unfortunately, last year’s successes were also met with new and terrifying challenges.  In April, the violent extremist group Boko Haram made headlines with their abduction of 276 schoolgirls from their dorm in Nigeria and their abuse of women and girls as a central belief of their doctrine.  In August 2014 the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) began targeting Yezidi women in northern Iraq, capturing them by the hundreds and forcing them into sexual slavery.  The horrifying stories that began to emerge from young women who managed to escape painted a picture of unimaginable savagery and brutality, with some young women committing suicide rather than live in ISIL captivity.

These violent extremist groups are all the more frightening because of the organization and sophistication they use to subjugate and abuse women in areas under their control.  They exploit them as prizes to reward fighters and then publicize these crimes on social media to attract new recruits.  Their use of twenty first century technology amplifies their voices and helps to spread their medieval messaging to a global audience.

This year’s United Nations report on sexual violence in conflict documents horrendous crimes like this happening in conflicts around the world. It chronicles the disturbing trend of sexual violence against adolescent girls, including rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage. It records the use of sexual violence to persecute ethnic and religious minorities and the targeting of people based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. It describes the heightened vulnerability of displaced and refugee populations to sexual abuse. It details the stigma and shame that keep women, men and children from coming forward when they have been attacked and outlines the lack of services and support available for the survivors who find the strength to speak out about what was done to them. The report lists 45 armed groups credibly suspected of committing these crimes, including state forces, opposition groups and violent extremist groups.

The report details the gruesome brutality that we face in the fight to end rape used as a weapon of war, but it also serves as a roadmap for solutions. By stressing the importance of building the capacity of civilian and military justice systems, the report underscores the necessary broader efforts required to strengthen institutional safeguards against impunity. For example, in the past year military and police officers, a number of them high-ranking, in countries covered by the report have been indicted, prosecuted, and convicted on charges of conflict-related sexual violence.

The report also highlights the need for sexual violence to be an element included in ceasefire and peace negotiations, and for perpetrators to be excluded from amnesty. It calls for more women peacekeepers to be deployed to conflict settings and increased participation of women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes. Solutions include ensuring that the urgent need for increased medical, psychosocial, legal and economic services and support for survivors is met to help them rebuild their lives.  National and regional early warning systems that sound the alarm against escalating sexual violence should be adopted to help prevent these atrocities before they occur.

The past year has shown that with political will and sustained action we can turn the tide against sexual violence in conflict. Despite this progress, the international community must renew its commitment and apply increased pressure so as not to lose the ground we have gained and to meet the demands of new and emerging threats.

Perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict are ruthless adversaries whose crimes can take many forms and require a comprehensive response. We must redouble our efforts to end impunity for perpetrators, to secure justice and reparations for victims and to strengthen the rule of law until innocent people are no longer menaced by this threat.

The challenges are great, but the lives of thousands of people around the world and the future peace and security of our global community are at stake.  Losing this fight is not an option.

Fact Sheet Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Annual Report 2015 FINAL












International Happiness Day: Strive to be Happy


“Happiness is the art of living with peace, confidence and joy”

On Friday, 13 March the Centre visited the grade 3 learners of the St. Andrews Primary School. Beginning with the ordinary order of our schedule, we started our presentation by playing a game, musical chairs. We had one chair less than the number of children who were divided into two groups. Kids were going around the chairs cheering to Pharrell William’s song Happiness. Music was being turned on and off on irregular basis and when the music stops, all kids had to find a seat. Whoever doesn’t get one were out of  the game. It was really worth the moment as the kids were very active and excited. We had two winners, which was great as they were of different gender, they each received a lollipop as a reward.

Shortly after the game, UNIC staff engage in a very short discussion with them, asking them questions about happiness. They were very energetic, as they all showed interest in the discussion. Their answers were interesting, involving their parents, teachers, school and themselves to being responsible for their happiness.

Coming to the main activity, we distributed materials to the children. They were expected to create a card, for person of their choice. The cards were amazing, creativity at its best. It was pleasant to see some of the kids having had created cards for their teachers, principal and Head of the Department (HOD), which express the strong bond they have with the school.

With great attention to detail the learners asked for extra time to illustrate their creativity. Each individual concentrated on their own design, while sharing the provided arts and crafts material provided by United Nations Information Centre amongst themselves.The lower primary HOD, Mrs. Jeffrey has done the honours and complemented each and every child on their design, they were beautiful and eye catching.

After a fascinating art work session the Centre staff surprised them with a Tom and Jerry video clip. The United Nations Information Centre applauded them for being so active and stressed: “you are a child of the universe, always strive to be happy.” As an incentive lollipops were distributed. The teachers thanked us for taking the time and visit the school.  The St. Andrews grade 3s, proved to be active, energetic, creative, all qualities one could look for in a child. The Centre staff loved every single moment spent with them as they made us happy too.  Hopefully, most schools have the same overwhelming bond as St. Andrews primary family.



UN Namibia @ 25

Namibia gained her Independence on 21st March 1990. Its climax came shortly after midnight, when the South African flag was lowered, the Namibian flag was raised and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, administered the oath of office to Dr. Sam Nujoma as President of the newly independent State. Despite the existence of significant challenges, 25 years after Independence, Namibia continues to enjoy peace, security and political stability as well as steady economic progress. The country is considered a sound democracy both in legal and political terms.

To highlight, celebrate and reflect on the work and achievements of the country over the past 25 years, the United Nations System in Namibia in collaboration with City of Windhoek invited 2000 students of 35 schools to a comprehensive program on 16th of March 2015  at Windhoek High School.

2000 learners from 35 high schools attended the Silver Jubilee Anniversary event hosted by the UN System in Namibia in collaboration with the City of Windhoek

2000 learners from 35 high schools attended the Silver Jubilee Anniversary event hosted by the UN System in Namibia in collaboration with the City of Windhoek

The learners arrived filled with anticipation on Monday, the 16th of March by 10:30 am at Windhoek High School. Members of the American Embassy participated as special guests in the festivity. Mr. James Kalundu, representative of City of Windhoek, welcomed the guests and introduced the program. Finally, he called upon Emma Theophilus and Uitani Hikuam, the Junior Councilors of City of Windhoek, who led the audience through the program.

The opening of the celebration was based on the voice of the youth. A couple of students and in adherence of “gender equality” showcase their profound talent by reciting their poems on this public platform. The young and upcoming poets received a standing ovation from their peers.

And of course, singing and dancing is part of the African culture, a young cultural group, TABAKAN, from the Karas region lighten things up with their performance.

The main activity for the day was a quiz, whereby learner’s general knowledge on the history of Namibia and the United Nations were tested. To qualify to participate in the quiz, each school present had to nominate two representative to pop a balloon. In the balloon contained a black paper which elimination the school’s participation or a white one saying “Congratulation! You qualified.”

Namibian Reggae Artist, Ras Sheehama

Namibian Reggae Artist, Ras Sheehama

Before the nerve reckoning session on which balloon to pop, the well- known Namibian reggae artist, Ras Sheehama performed two of his deep and historical affected songs for the students. It was such an honour to have the famous and respected public persona supporting the independence celebration.

Also, as a surprise, the soulful singer, Shishani, another young Namibian artist took the stage and proudly presented a song about her hometown Windhoek.

The performances eased the flow of the upcoming quiz. The students were highly motivated and due their responses it was rapid to see that they were well acquainted with the topic. The five best teams took home prize, award, gift vouchers and money for their school.

Learners participating in the UN Namibia History quiz

Learners participating in the UN Namibia History quiz

While the youth enjoyed a lunch and refreshments, the national television broadcast transmitter NBC settled their equipment for a panel discussion as part of the live show “Talk of the nation” which was streamed at 19:00 o’clock in the evening. Topic of the discussion was: Understanding Namibia’s Independence, the achievements of the Nation during the past 25 years as well as the role of the UN in the development of the country.  Leader’s vs Youth. The panel members consisted of representatives of the UN Family, City of Windhoek, Junior Mayor, Politicians and Youth Council answering questions from the in and out of school going youth from the floor. This session was moderated by the well-known television persona, Ms. Hilda Basson.

Talk of the Nation Panel Discussion: Leaders vs. Youth

Talk of the Nation Panel Discussion: Leaders vs. Youth

Conclusively, it was a successful day with critical aspects, cheerful moments and a condignly celebrated Independence. The program came to a close with remarks and the vote of thanks by Vincent Mwiya, Deputy Mayor of City of Windhoek and the prayerful celebrant of the National and AU Anthems.

IMG_00000374 (1)

UN Namibia Celebrated International Women’s Day

On Monday, 9 March 2015, the Secretariat of the UN Communication Group, UNIC Windhoek brought together the UN Family in supporting and celebrating the significance of International Women’s Day or encouraging unity among UN sisters by embracing the 2015 theme: “ Empowering women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”

 UN Staff Namibia

                                  UN Staff Namibia

The UN staff f in Namibia celebrated the women in their lives. They are the cornerstones of their communities who worked tirelessly in making countless differences in their lives and those around them. The staff gathered in spirit and to acknowledge and pay tribute to:

  • those in small remote areas and refugee camps;
  • those living in huts in urban and rural areas / villages;
  • those working with us in the UN House, the poor, the rich, and the unemployed women of our time;
  • those in schools, colleges and universities,
  • those who are mothers, working women, and those who do both;
  • those who are single, married, divorced or widowed;
  • those who are young, old or disabled; and
  • those known to us and the strangers on the street;

The UN staff united to make the women of the past proud: those who stood up for change and fought for the rights that we live and enjoy today. The staff acknowledged the women of the present:  those present, those around the world and the ones who used their voice to help make our world a better place.  The staff looks towards the future women: the individuals who will continue to champion women’s voices, break barriers and keep visible women’s achievements and plights.

UN Namibia salutes and made the women of the past proud, inspired the women of the present and provides the women of the future with vision.

We all took a moment to reflect as the National Information Officer of UNIC Windhoek called upon forty volunteers to light a candle of solidarity and to pay tribute to all the women to symbolize our connection with women and with each other.

Jennifer Bitonde (WFP) Micaela Marques De Sousa (UNICEF), Tharcisse Barihuta (UNAID), Dr. Helena Ndume (Namibian Ophthalmologist)

Jennifer Bitonde (WFP) Micaela Marques De Sousa (UNICEF), Tharcisse Barihuta (UNAID), Dr. Helena Ndume (Namibian Ophthalmologist)

The well-known, Namibian Ophthalmologist, Dr. Helena Ndume as guest of honour added great value to the commemoration , especially to the young working class women of the country who require the guidance and path-breaking ideas to lead their way to strike out to secure their futures and to contribute to their families, communities and societies.  As a successful career women and mother, she shared in-depth knowledge with the UN women on “women work life balance.”

Other speakers were, Ms. Micaela Marques De Sousa, UNICEF Representative who traveled backwards in time and shared with us her personal success story in embracing the 2015 theme and in the same vein answering the following questions: How can women cultivate career success? How did she as a woman manage to progress in her career while also enjoying life outside of work? Basically, sharing the tidbits she have learned over the years in working for the UN, her fears and unbridled possibilities, how she found success and how she sustain in remaining on top.  Micaela, motivated the UN women to take responsibility for their own success, be champions of their own ideas and landscapers of their careers. She also acknowledged the men’s role and stressed that women need their support to be successful. The UNICE Representative encouraged men to recognized and nurture female talent. She also touched on the on issues of progress, the MDGs and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

The WFP Officer-in-Charge, Jennifer Bitonde delivered the UN Secretary –General’s statement, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNAIDS Country Representative Tharcisse Barihuta  delivered the closing remarks, followed by the voted of thanks given by Gesine Knolle, member of the UN Communication Group. The welcoming remarks were delivered by UN Communication Chairperson, Emma Mbekele and Anthea Basson represented the UN Secretariat of the UN Communication Group served as Director of Ceremonies.

Most of the staff dressed up in their traditional attire or purple. Why purple? Purple symbolized justice and dignity, two values strongly associated with women’s equality.



2015 Holocaust Observance

Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community”. 

                                                                                                        UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Holocaust was a turning point in history, which prompted the world to say “never again”. The significance of resolution A/RES/60/7 is that it calls for a remembrance of past crimes with an eye towards preventing them in the future.

The UNIC Windhoek 2015 Holocaust  educational outreach programme aimed to raise awareness about the circumstances which made this genocide happen, to sensitize for social and individual strengths and weaknesses and finally memorize the losses of that genocide.

On Wednesday, the 4th of March UNIC Windhoek visited the Windhoek International School and were warmly welcomed by 50 grade 10 and 11 students. The UNIC team cautiously launched the intense topic by presenting a patchwork of different pictures showing significant marks of the Holocaust as the yellow star, the life in a ghetto, beds in a death camp, a mass of dead bodies and a portrait of Adolf Hitler.

Grade 10 and 11 learners from the Windhoek International School

Grade 10 and 11 learners from the Windhoek International School

The students were to describe the pictures and express their inner thoughts and feelings attached to the incidences. Due the respond it was rapid to see that the students were already well acquainted with the topic.

This ease the flow of the presentation into the grounding conditions of Germany during 1930, which place emphases on the economic and political situation and the mood of anti-Semitism as well as the stairs of Hitler’s rise.

We went into more depth with a clip showing the “Milgram experiment” to explain why people act against their convictions in the context of power of obedience. The students were delighted to see how these mechanism of the human psych work and were surprised how far people go, if they don`t have to take responsibility for their behavior/manners.

To intensify the individual skills of the adolescent they became actively involved in assigned group work in answering the following question: “Who am I?” The students have to describe themselves as unique as they are in context of optic, character and specials. The second group read the story of the15 year old girl “Anne Frank”, a young Jewish victim of the genocide and the third group of student got to discuss about statements in terms of the concept of the enemy.

Learners delving into group work "Who am I"

Learners delving into group work “Who am I”

Finally the crowd compared notes over what they have concluded and highlight connections to the subject. Humbly they’ve expressed their creative side as they delve into the issue. After that an insightful exchange of ideas, the one and half hour teaching session comes to a close with a candle light ceremony.

Holocaust Candle Light Ceremony

Holocaust Candle Light Ceremony


UNIC Windhoek team were pleased to see that the presentation not only informed the adolescent about the devastating effects of the Holocaust, but also sparked up a strong individualistic interest to prevent future genocides.

Learners with ICT Minister, Hon. Joel Kaapanda

Radio and Youth

World Radio Day was celebrated in Windhoek on Friday, 13 February 2015 by many Namibians who use or make use of this media platform to entertain and inform the masses on a daily basis. This year’s observance of World Radio Day highlighted the involvement of youth in content production of radio programmes.

Many activities were put together to hear the voices of the youth and to highlight the importance Radio play in the life of the Namibian child. Radio programmes are most effective when produced with audience participation, in local languages and with consideration for cultural traditions. Successful features included live public shows, quizzes and village debates.

In hype of the actual day, Lifeline/Childline facilitated a workshop aiming to train journalist in community radio broadcasting. Learners of various high schools within the capital also joined in a panel discussion  to underline ‘the relevance of radio to the Namibian youth.Youth members @ World Radio Day event                                                              Youth members @ WRDNAM Event

The main festivities took place at the Polytechnic of Namibia, Science and Technology building with a live broadcasting-decentralized to all radio stations across the country through the technical support of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

Radio remains the most powerful, and yet the cheapest, mass medium for reaching large numbers of Namibians in isolated areas.

Information and Communication Technology Minister, Honourable Joel Kaapanda, who officiated in the days proceedings, said the involvement of young people in content creation would enhance public participation on youth related matters. Honourable Kaapanda, said radio is a good platform to create public debate as it had the widest audience reaching more than 90 % of the Namibian population.

Also, speaking at the event, Dr. Tharcisse Barihuta, UNESCO Windhoek Officer in Charge, said UNESCO is committed to promote youth participation in broadcasting. “Through the funding of the Swedish Development Cooperation, UNESCO Windhoek office is implementing a four -year regional project on “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs”. The project started in March 2012 and covers seven Sub-Saharan African countries, including Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa.  The project’s aim is to address the lack of quality programming of local radios’, in particular inadequacy of reporting on development issues and limited space dedicated to debate relevant issues for the youth,” said Dr. Barihuta. He highlighted that the project offers support on priority areas of public concern, and facilitates the active participation of youth in public debates thus, promoting their own development. He further said UNESCO was also assisting in the establishment of Khorixas Youth Radio in Kunene Region.Youth participating in the World Radio Day Panel Discussion ‘the relevance of radio to the Namibian youth’

Youth participating in the World Radio Day Panel Discussion

Radio stations in all the regions of Namibia join in on the celebration in the form of outside broadcasting, open days for young people to access radio stations’ studios and co-produce present specific programmes. In Windhoek, about 90 students from 5 schools were afforded the opportunity to visit radio stations and co-present programmes. They were selected through a short essay contest entitled, “What does radio mean to you?” The students said they felt privileged and would like radio stations to include them more regularly in youth programming.

The Namibia National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO Windhoek Office, the Polytechnic of Namibia, European Union, the UNCG Secretariat (UNIC Windhoek) and various radio outlets in country spearheaded the 2015 World Radio day celebrations that were attended by UN Family, public, primary and secondary school learners, students and staff of tertiary institutions, commercial and community radio stations, etc.

From left Prof. Tjama Tjivikua Rector of Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr Tharcisse Barihuta, UNESCO Windhoek  Acting Officer in Charge and Mr Raul Fuentes Milani, Head of Delegation, European Union at 2015 World Radio Day 2015 celebrations  at Polytechnic of Namibia

From left Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr Tharcisse Barihuta, UNESCO Windhoek Acting Officer – in – Charge and Mr. Raul Fuentes Milani, Head of Delegation, European Union at 2015 World Radio Day 2015 celebrations at Polytechnic of Namibia.













Secretary General’s message on the Intl. Day in memory of the victims of the holocaust

Message on the International Day of Commemoration

in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

27 January 2015


Seventy years ago today, allied forces liberated Auschwitz Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp.

More than a million inmates, primarily Jews, were brutally and systematically killed in the place where the Nazis introduced the monstrous concept of “industrialized murder”. Among the other victims were non-Jewish Poles, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled persons and Jehovah’s witnesses. Continue reading