Creative tents and exhibits by University of Miami international students will fill the university green this week to raise awareness about the global issue of exploited child labor, in which youngsters are forced to work, often under difficult and dangerous conditions.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Labor report, entitled “2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” there are approximately 168 million child laborers around the world, 85 million of whom work in hazardous conditions.
COISO, the Council of International Students and Organizations, chosen that theme for this year’s United Nations Day event, which takes place at noon Thursday. UN Day honors the international diplomatic organization’s charter that was created in 1947 to promote international peace and cooperation.
“We organize United Nations Day because we want to raise awareness among students of issues that they may not know about,” said Andres Morfin, COISO treasurer.
Morfin said the student response to past UN Days has been great.
“Our theme last year was on environmental issues,” he said. “We saw so many students attend, about 100 every hour. It was great to see President Donna E. Shalala stop by. This upcoming UN Day, we will be having guides lead students through [exhibits in] seven tents, and [they will] be able to ask questions.”
Sophomore Ana Perez, a COISO member, says this year’s theme is an important one.
“Child labor issues occur worldwide, but at times isn’t spoken about, which is why we chose to focus on this topic unanimously and wanted to inform students about it,” she said.
Anna De Andreis, the COISO president, is also excited about this event.
“This year, we want to spread awareness to other students about what is being done by the United Nations and other organizations to solve [the child labor] problem,” she said.
COISO began in 1967 to support the interests of international students who travel from all over the globe to study at UM.
Kiran Chawla, vice president of external affairs for UM’s chapter of Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc., a sorority for South Asian women, said students from different countries and cultures are coming together to make UN Day a great event.
“We love the fact we are doing something to bring awareness to issues from around the world,” she said.
After UN Day, COISO members will plan to follow up on child labor issues.
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What: United Nations Day
Where: University Green
When: Noon on Thursday
Participants: Colombian Students Association, Alliance of Latin American Students, Venezuelan Students Association, Filipino Students Association and Hui Aloha- Pacific Islander Students Association