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UN Youth New Zealand: Civics education outside the traditional classroom context

Andrew Tzer-Yeu Chen

UN Youth is a youth-for-youth charitable civics education organisation that operates throughout the country. The organisation’s goal is to equip young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to become informed, engaged, and critical New Zealanders who can become global citizens. For 16 years, UN Youth has primarily achieved this through holding Model United Nations events to introduce international relations and politics to high school and tertiary students. Over 2,000 students from Northland to Southland attend a UN Youth event each year. Events are held in schools, at a regional level in major city centres, at a national level in Auckland and Wellington, and internationally with delegations to external events in Australia, the United States, and Europe. All events are run by volunteers who are tertiary students, or under the age of 25, or both. More recently, the organisation has focused on innovation, finding new ways to enable wider groups of students to learn about civics and citizenship in accessible ways.

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