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UN Flag


Racism. No way!
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Date: 27 June 2003

The United Nations

Theme: Cultural diversity and multiculturalism - International racism and anti-racism
Learning Area: English - Humanities and social sciences
Age Group: Primary Upper (10-12) - Secondary Lower (13-14)
Resource Type: Timelines and calendars
Stimulus Name The flag of the United Nations

Students examine the history of the United Nations (UN) Organisation and its influence on world politics and peace. Students make a timeline of significant UN Conventions and activities since World War II.


The purpose of the United Nations is to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people. It affords the opportunity for countries to balance global interdependence and national interests when addressing international problems.

In recent times the authority of the UN appears to have been questioned despite its undeniable record of achievement.

Worksheets to download
Resources needed

Student access to library and internet

Suggested Activities
  1. The United Nations: an introduction for students
    1. Download and read Worksheet The United Nations Charter
      What was the climate surrounding the formation of the United Nations in 1945?
      What was the purpose of the UN?
    2. Download Worksheet The United Nations System
      What are the six principal organs of the United Nations?
      Divide the class into six groups, allocate an organisation to each.
      Students further research on the main functions and spheres of influence of each organisation and report to the class.
      Refer to Main Bodies and The UN works for Everyone
  2. Timeline
    1. Students choose a theme related to the activities of the United Nations e.g. human rights, peace-keeping, arms control,disarmament, economic and social development, world environment.
    2. In pairs or small groups Students research relevant sites e.g.
      Australian War Memorial Timeline of Australian Peacekeeping Operations
      Students present a chronology of events to the class.
    3. Students enter their group information onto a class timeline either online or on butchers paper for display.
Additional Strategies

In seven groups, students research the contributions made by each of the UN secretaries-general defining his role within the context of his particular time in office, and add to the class timeline:

  1. Kofi A. Annan (Ghana), January 1997;
  2. Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), January 1992 to December 1996;
  3. Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru), January 1982 to December 1991;
  4. Kurt Waldheim (Austria), January 1972 to December 1981;
  5. U Thant (Burma, now Myanmar), November 196 1to December 1971;
  6. Dag Hammarskjˆld (Sweden), April 1953 to September 1961; and
  7. Trygve Lie (Norway), February 1946 to November 1952.
    Refer to the UN site, The role of the Secretary-General.