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“Let’s talk about the UN!”

SDG circle, school students at #UNDay Brussels, 20 October

23 October 2017 – One hundred high school students from both Dutch and French speaking secondary schools in Belgium participated in an interactive youth event organised to celebrate United Nations Day, which is marked every year on 24th of October. Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, in her role as SDG Advocate, together with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders as well as the UN Director in Belgium, Barbara Pesce Monteiro engaged young people in a lively debate under the title “Let’s talk about the UN!” at Egmont Palace in Brussels.

Deputy PM, Didier Reynders, and Queen Mathilde at #UNDay Brussels, 20 October

After a video message delivered by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the high-level speakers shared their views on the work of the UN, the role of Belgium within the organization and how young people can take part in the implementation of the SDG’s. The plenary session also offered the perfect opportunity for the students to listen to first-hand testimonials from an SDG Advocate and allowed them to interact directly with the Queen on issues such as quality education, gender equality and health.

School students trying out virtual reality at #UNDay Brussels event, 20 October

Prior to the plenary session, the students also took part in two workshops one of which focused on refugees and migration. The screening of the movie, Life in a Time of Refuge, took them on a virtual reality journey from Lebanon to Finland putting them in the shoes of Omar, a nine-year-old Syrian refugee boy who was resettled there last year because he suffers from a debilitating hormone deficiency. A second workshop was hosted by the Belgian Youth Delegates, and allowed the participants to better understand the importance of the SDG’s, to share their thoughts and let their voices be heard and to think about their own role and contribution to the achievement of this important global agenda.  

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