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March 2020 

Kia ora tātou,
On Sunday, Aotearoa New Zealand reflected on the terrible loss of life that took place exactly one year ago. The March 15 terrorist attacks on two mosques left us shocked, and as the past 12 months have unfolded we have collectively thought a lot about what we want for our country and how we can ensure our inclusivity and care for one another creates a culture where the violence of March 15 is not seen in this country again.

It’s something we’ve thought a lot about here at the National Commission, too. Our work is fundamentally about creating peace through dialogue, and that principle has guided us over the last year.

There have been several initiatives that have supported this mahi.
The Youth Diversity Forum we hosted with the Human Rights Commission, mana whenua Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu in Christchurch brought young thinkers together to carve out their vision and ensuing actions for the Aotearoa they want to live in.
Starting challenging conversations, and learning how to have them was the premise of Ara Taiohi’s MOSAIC cards that have been created as conversation starters for whanau and those working with youth, for young people to have a healthy dialogue about prejudice and where it comes from.
Understanding our own history and sharing it with others is another way to foster empathy between people, and a new project that supports Muslim women to develop new skills is doing that through oral history. The Our Hijrah (our migration) project will record spoken histories of Muslim migration to New Zealand dating back to the 1950s. Creating community connections and a shared sense of identity and history, the project will also equip women to learn new skills and acquire professional experience.
These projects have been supported by the National Commission because of their integrity and values, and we are committed to continue supporting initiatives that facilitate social cohesion and peace between citizens.

Robyn Baker,
National Commission Chair


Minister Jenny Salesa with 2018 GCED award winners

Global Citizenship Education Award

Applications for the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO’s GCED award opened on 4th November 2019 and close 1 June 2020.

Find application packs and examples of past winners here:

Minor grants  

The National Commission is seeking to fund innovative projects, events, programmes or initiatives that reflect its mission and strategic priorities. As UNESCO is an organisation of ‘ideas’, we are especially interested in projects that demonstrate new ways of working and which have the potential to lead to positive long-term change at a national or regional level.

Minor grants support projects up to $5000.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO’s mission is ‘Connecting Aotearoa-New Zealand to UNESCO and the world by the fostering and sharing of ideas; and contributing to building the knowledge and capabilities needed to ensure a better future for all’. 

Read our strategic priorities here:

To apply:
The Big Girls parade

Online education resources during COVID-19

While schools in New Zealand are open and operating as usual, UNESCO has been leading research to identify the impacts COVID-19 is already having on education globally.

According to data released by UNESCO, COVID-19 is now impacting close to 363 million learners worldwide, from the pre-primary to tertiary level, including 57.8 million students in higher education.

“We are entering uncharted territory and working with countries to find hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech solutions to assure the continuity of learning,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “As countries try to prepare their response, international cooperation is vital to share the most effective approaches and support students, teachers and families. UNESCO is stepping up its support to ensure this crisis promotes innovation and inclusion and does not exacerbate learning inequalities.”

UNESCO has created a list of online tools that can support teachers and students to keep learning if outside of their classroom environment:
Upcoming Events
Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Poetry Clinic

Poetry doctor* prescribes verse, free...

Held on World Poetry Day, March 21 and presented by Dunedin Fringe Festival, Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) is a Dunedin based arts in health charity which prints and distributes free poetry cards (currently 8000) every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, hospices and prisons throughout New Zealand.

The poems are selected for readers’ enjoyment and are in no way a vehicle for delivering any social or health messages.  

People are invited to drop in to the Dunedin Public Libraries/Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Poetry Clinic on World Poetry Day (2-4pm 21 March) for an injection of restorative verse. 

No appointment necessary – the poetry “doctor” will be ready to prescribe a session with some of Dunedin’s most excellent poets, and a collectible prescription gift of poetry can be taken away.
*not a real doctor
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New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO · Ministry of Education · 33 Bowen Street ·
Wellington 6011 · New Zealand 


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New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO · Ministry of Education · 33 Bowen Street · Wellington, Wgn 6011 · New Zealand

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