15 February 2008

From one of our readers, Andreas S. von Warburg, comes this creative submission:

"I earnestly hope that young boys and girls of today will grow up knowing that the United Nations is working hard to build a better future for them." These wise words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are the inspiration behind the cartoon documentary series "United Nations for kids," now available for free on YouTube.

Ban's first address to the United Nations - right after his oath of office - was full of passion. It was also extremely real and courageous. "Indeed, our Organization is modest in its means, but not in its values. Let us work together for a United Nations that can deliver more and better." It was October 2006 and the beginning of a new era for the United Nations under a new leadership.

"United Nations for kids" aims to help the Secretary-General in reaching out to children and educating them about the work of the United Nations and its many activities around the world.

The documentary talks to children in their own language, with cartoons, images and examples. A talking UN globe guides the audience through the history and mission of the Organization, giving a general introduction on various topics: the first episode provides a background on the UN main bodies and its agencies, while the second episode, launched at the beginning of this year, is about the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. A third episode - now in pre-production - will educate children about the work of UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

Produced by journalist and filmmaker Andreas S. von Warburg, "United Nations for kids" is a pilot project specifically designed for YouTube. It tries to exploit the great versatility of new media technologies and put them to good use while improving the reach and educational potential.

The first two episodes are available at the following YouTube webpage: www.youtube.com/unclebabe. They are available in different languages through the dotSUB project: www.dotsub.com/films/unitednations_3.

Previous projects include "Why is Kofi Annan not a woman?" a film documentary examining the odds of one day having a woman at the helm of the Organization (distributed by Amazon), and the "Pink Book on the status of women delegates at the United Nations," a study on gender balance published by the Gstaad Project in March 2007.