JAMMU: Director of the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan said that UN is keen to work for peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking during ‘Meet The Press’ programme at Press Club Jammu, Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, Director of the UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan, said that the aim of United Nations India Connect (UNIC) is to connect people. She said that UN in Jammu and Kashmir will involve youth through sports to connect them.

“Much like Nokia once did, if in a somewhat different way. There are strong organizations doing powerful work all over this country, work that ties in directly with themes and ideas that are priorities for the UN and for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon,” she said adding that we find these people and partner with their projects and events for creating greater visibility for major issues, for outreach and for inspiration.

In her address she talked about UNIC work and how it fits into the larger UN system.

She said that when she came to UNIC 5 years ago, she re-named U-N-I-C to stand for UN-India Connect, which was very apt, because that is the core of what we do.

“UNIC creates connections at different levels, in different ways, between different stakeholders”, she added.

Kerpelman said that this is also the connect between the local and the global – local projects can connect with, and become part of global movements, and global themes and priorities are put into action, affecting ground realities.

“We connect institutions – networks of schools and colleges around the countries conduct outreach and awareness events all through the year in partnership with UNIC, bringing messages of the Secretary-General on observances as diverse as World Water Day, remembrance of the victims of the Rwandan Genocide, International Day of Sport for Peace and International Women’s Day, just to name a few”, she added.

Kerpelman added “We also have other important hooks such as a 12-day Peace to Non-Violence campaign which starts on the International Day of Peace on 21st September and ends on 2 October, International Day of Non-Violence on Gandhi Jayanti. Under this umbrella we work with all our partners to come up with innovative ways of celebrating and disseminating peace and non-violence.”

Commenting upon the work of UNIC, Kerpelman added that they work very closely with the Indian Federation of UN Associations and consequently with the State UNAs also in helping us achieve all of the above.

“UNIC connects opinion-makers and brings national and local media onboard, bringing together technical experts, social activists, policy-makers and journalists, on various issues including climate change, through seminars, workshops and field visits.”

She added that then of course, there is UN Day, on 24th October, which is very special this year, because it is the 70thanniversary of the UN, and we have a great deal planned. UNIC is running a year-long campaign called [email protected], during which we will organize events focused on involving the Indian youth with the ideals of the UN.

Everything that UNIC does strengthens the UN-India Connect. And the events here in Jammu are no different.

Quoting UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon she said, this is the “first generation with the potential to end poverty and the last generation to avoid worst effects of climate change…2015 is not just another year, it is a chance to change the course of history.” And what this new course is to be, is up to us, she added.

UNIC is doing its very best, and I hope we can convince you all to come on board and join us in creating the Future we want.

Earlier, after presenting the memento to Kerpelman, president Press Club of Jammu Ashwani Kumar demanded scholarships and projects for journalists based in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Journalists in Jammu and Kashmir have vast potential and they have been working in adverse conditions since past two and a half decades. Press Club of Jammu is the only intuition that represents the journalists of all three regions of state and this institution should be taken into confidence for scholarships and projects for journalists in state”, he added.

Secretary General Press Club of Jammu Zorawar Singh Jamwal welcomed  Kerpelman with a bouquet.

The function was also attended by Abhimanyu Sharma, Vice President Press Club of Jammu, Dinesh Manhotra, treasurer Press Club of Jammu, executive members of Club besides journalism students from Indian Institute of Mass Communication and Gandhi Memorial College.