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Study Themes

ASPnet schools are encouraged to conduct pilot projects on four main themes of study covering a wide range of interrelated sub-topics. The point of departure should be issues relevant to the studentís own environment, concerns, and aspirations. The themes presented below provide a basis which can be extended to other topics.

1. World concerns and the role of the United Nations system:

Select an issue of world concern such as poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, pollution, illiteracy, cultural identity, women's issues, population, etc., and examine various facets of the problem locally, nationally and internationally. As the students search for possible solutions, the present and future role of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies in helping to solve such issues become more concrete and visible. The observance of International and United Nations Years and Days can also help students to situate these issues with regard to their own lives, now and in the future.

2. Human rights, democracy and tolerance:

Schools often choose the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the Decade on Education for Human Rights (1995-2004 for example, as points of departure.. Discussions should be within the context of the students' own experiences, broadening out to encompass the rights of others, sensitizing them to their own rights but also to their duties and responsibilities. Today, many activities relating to human rights aim at eliminating all manifestations of intolerance, racism, prejudice and at strengthening education for democracy, mutual respect, civic responsibility, tolerance and non- violent conflict resolution.

3. lntercultural learning:

As societies become increasingly multicultural and multiethnic, the study of other countries and cultures can be undertaken at the local and national levels. Contact can be made with parents or students of other origins, indigenous peoples, immigrant groups and with embassies and cultural centres of other nations. Such groups and organisations are an invaluable source of information and could help to promote a better understanding and appreciation of other customs, traditions and values, by contributing to exhibitions or by providing speakers to address students about the country and its role in the UN family.

4. Environmental concern:

This theme allows students to link international issues affecting the global environment to individual, local or national realities. Within this framework, they can be encouraged to confront problems of local concern which may lead them to develop strategies for the same or similar problems at both national and international levels. Activities in this area include studies on pollution, energy, forest conservation, marine and atmospheric research, soil erosion and conservation of natural resources, desertification, the "greenhouse effect", sustainable development, recycling "Agenda 21", and ultimately on how science contributes to the future of humanity. Subsequent to reflection in the classroom, community-oriented projects are often conducted to improve immediate local needs.

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