Category Archives: News from UNIC Manila

UNIC Manila co-organizes peace concert to diffuse tensions in West Philippine Sea

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila is co-organizing a peace concert dubbed Not by Force but by Art on 20-23 April 2018 to encourage dialogue among claimant countries–China, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei, in the West Philippine Sea.

UNIC Manila announced this initiative at a press conference held on 5 March 2018 at the Manila Hotel, specifically at a weekly gathering of the press there called “Kapihan sa Manila Hotel” sponsored by Samahang Plaridel–an association of members of the local press.

UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque formed the panel of interviewees, along with representatives of the organizing committee, including Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, executive director, Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/president, Philippine Center of the International Theatre Institute; and Harold Clavite, director-general, Philippine Information Agency.

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UN recalls 1.5M children killed during Holocaust

(L-R: Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines; Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Head of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila; Director Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Department of Foreign Affairs-UNIO)

About 160 university students gathered at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on 26 January 2018 to take part in a commemorative event recalling the memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, or the systematic killing of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila, the 2018 Holocaust remembrance event focused on the children of the Holocaust. It featured an exhibit opening, a student briefing and a film showing.

In a video message, shown during the event, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Decades since the Second World War, we see the persistence of anti-Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice. And too often, vile views are moving from the margins to the mainstream of societies and politics. We must stand together against the normalization of hate.”

In the student briefing, Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Chief of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila, said, “All of us today have a special obligation. An obligation to never lose sight of what went wrong and how it happened. And an obligation to be ever vigilant in the face of persistent anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our time.”

Meanwhile, UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque enjoined the students to “remember never to forget what happened during the Holocaust” and to call out “Holocaust deniers who say that the Holocaust is a myth that was created by and perpetuated by the Jewish people.”

Earlier, the exhibit was opened by Ms. Rachisnky-Spivakov, Ms. Debuque, Ms. Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Director for Peace and Security of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines.

The exhibit, called “The Butterfly Project,” highlighted the stories of five Jewish children who lived and died during the Holocaust, including Anne Frank. The exhibit gets its name from an initiative of the same name that was started in 1996 by the Holocaust Museum in Houston. Students around the world were invited to express their empathy and hope through the creation of a butterfly. The Butterfly Project aims to teach social responsibility, respect for diversity and the importance of human rights.

The exhibit opening was followed by the ceremonial lighting of six candles, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during World War II.

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed by the UN on January 27 of every year. January 27 is also the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

The “Holocaust Remembrance” day was created by UN General Assembly resolution 60/7, which was adopted on 1 November 2005. The same resolution created the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which seeks to remind the world of the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.

You may view photos of the event at:

UNIC Manila and Embassy of Israel launch Butterfly Art Contest

UNIC Manila and the Embassy of Israel in Manila have launched the Butterfly Art Contest in time for the 2018 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust.

Why a butterfly art contest?

In 1996, the Holocaust Museum Houston launched The Butterfly Project to commemorate the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust.

The Butterfly Project drew its inspiration from the poem, “The Butterfly,” which was written by Pavel Friedmann. The poem expressed the impact of the conditions in the camp on the prisoners. In 1944, Pavel was deported to Auschwitz Birkenau*, where he was murdered by the Nazis. After the Holocaust, his poem was discovered.

Here is Pavel’s poem:


The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing

against a white stone….

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly ‘way up high

It went away I’m sure because it wished

to kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.

But I have found what I love here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don’t live here,

in the ghetto.


Under the Butterfly Project, students around the world were invited to express their empathy and hope through the creation of a butterfly. The Holocaust Museum collected butterflies of every size and shape. The display of butterflies connects a new generation of young people to the memory of the children who did not survive the Holocaust.

The Butterfly Project aims to teach social responsibility, respect for diversity and the importance of human rights.

In the words of one of the students who participated in the project: “I want to make a difference in the world, one butterfly at a time.”

One butterfly even arrived from space. American Astronaut Rex J. Walheim participated in The Butterfly Project in July 2011 while aboard the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

*Auschwitz Birkenau is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list with its official title “Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, (1940-1945)”


Deadline for submission of entries: 15 March 2018

Who are eligible to join: Filipinos, 13-17 years old, BOTH in-school and out-of-school

Art specifications:

  • Size: A4
  • Medium: paint or watercolor
  • Color: color or black and white
  • Material: canvas, illustration board, other hard boards

Guidelines for Submission of Entries:

  1. Only one (1) entry per contestant will be accepted.
  2. All entries must be submitted by email to by no later than 11:55PM, 15 March 2018.
  3. You may scan your art in high-resolution, or take a high-resolution photo of it.
  4. Send the art file to the email address: with the subject line: Butterfly Art Contest Entry_(Your Full Name);
    • Attach a scan or a photo of your birth certificate to indicate your year of birth.

Contest Prizes

The top three winning artists will receive a trophy and art kits, courtesy of the Embassy of Israel in Manila.

For any questions, feel free to send an email to:

Teresa L. Debuque

National Information Officer

UNIC Manila


UPR Working Group releases report on the Philippines

(Manila, 11 May 2017) The report of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group (UPR WG) on the Philippines has just been distributed to states.

However, please note that the report is still scheduled to be adopted by the UPR WG today, 11 May 2017, at at 16.30 in Geneva, or 22.30 in Manila. Nevertheless, since the report has been distributed to states, there is no embargo on this report.

In brief, the Philippines received a total of 257 recommendations from the 95 participating states.   Simply to note, 220 is the average number of recommendations received thus far from states during this session; so the 257 is not extraordinary (e.g., India and Brazil received 250 and 246, respectively).

The dominant issues cited in the Philippines recommendations relate to extrajudicial killings and the campaign against illegal drugs (as reported widely in media), the death penalty and human trafficking.

Here is the Report: A_HRC_WG.6_27_L.10_Philippines

UNIC Manila celebrates UN71 with launch of SDG Exhibit

screenhunter_828-nov-18-13-47 screenhunter_829-nov-18-13-48 screenhunter_830-nov-18-13-4824 October 2016 — The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila marked the 71st Anniversary of the UN (UN71) with the inauguration today of an exhibit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The exhibit, which opened at the SM Mall of Asia, featured standees of Filipino celebrities and renowned personalities, such as Anne Curtis, Daphne Osena-Paez, Dingdong Dantes, Gary Valenciano, KC Concepcion, and Paolo Abrera, as well as UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon..

The exhibit opened with a programme graced by Ambassador-Designate, Philippine Mission to the UN, Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr.; UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Mr. Ola Almgren; Assistant Secretary Dr. Evelyn Cruzada from the Office of the President; Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Mr. Yeb Sano, and CNN Awardee Mr. Efren Penaflorida.

Here is the Keynote Message delivered by Mr. Locsin Jr.


Here is the Keynote Message delivered by UNRC Mr. Almgren.


The UNIC Manila SDG exhibit will “travel” to all Metro Manila based SM Malls.

Photos of the event may be viewed at:

Wall-to-wall video coverage of the event is available at:

UNIC Manila conducts forum on UN Philippines for Mindanao students

Last 13 July 2016, UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque conducted a forum on the United Nations (UN) in the Philippines for 41 students of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, in Lanao del Sur province in Mindanao.

The  MSU students are in Manila to fulfill the on-the-training requirement of their International Relations course.

Ms. Debuque presented the history of the UN in the Philippines; the UN Development Assistance Framework as the roadmap for UN Philippines assistance to the Philippine Government; the UN reform process as exemplified by ‘Delivering As One’ principles; and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Capping the student forum was the showing of two videos: the UN70 video produced by the UN Country Communications Group (UNCCG) in the Philippines, which showed progress made jointly by the UN and the Philippine Government in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the “We the People” video, showing international celebrities talking about the SDGs.

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Handicapable painters depict SDGs in Disability Week exhibit (21 July 2016)

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L-R in foreground: Mr. Zaldy Sanches, IEC Chief, National Council on Disability Affairs; Ms. Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, Executive Director, Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace; Secretary Salvador Panel, Presidential Legal Counsel; Ms. Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre Manila; Mr. Heherson Alvarez, former Philippines Senator and founder of Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace.

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Above: View of paintings done by handicapable artists and depicting their interpretation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Above: Mr. Nikki Pahati gives a message on behalf of handicapable artists.

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(Above: Keynote speaker, Secretary Salvador Panelo–Presidential Legal Counsel)

On 21 July 2016, UNIC Manila and partners opened an exhibit of paintings of “handicapable artists” depicting the latter’s interpretation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Presidential Palace Museum.

This exhibit was put together in observance of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation month twinned with National Disaster Consciousness Month.

The exhibit was opened by Presidential Legal Counsel Mr. Salvador Panelo; Ms. Teresa Debuque, UNIC Manila National Information Officer; and former Philippines Senator and founder of Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace, Mr. Heherson Alvarez.

UNIC Manila’s partners include Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace; the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); and the National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA).

The exhibit is open to the public and will run from 21-29 July 2016.

View more photos of the exhibit operning at:

You may take a closer look at the paintings here:

Running alongside the exhibit is a poetry contest on the theme: Persons With Disabilities and their Role in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” which is organized by UNIC Manila, NCCA, and Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/Artist for Peace. Winners of this poetry contest will be announced at the end of July 2016 at the radio programme, Radyo Balintataw, aired over DZRH.


Global UN essay-writing tilt challenges high-school students to give life to sustainable devt goals

First place winner to get $2,500 cash prize and a $10,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University in New Jersey, United States


The United Nations (UN) has opened a global essay-writing contest for high school students, with the first prize winner set to receive a $2,500 cash prize and a $10,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University in New Jersey, United States ($2,500 annually).

This contest is being organized by the UN Academic Impact (UNAI),  UNAI member Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and the Education Outreach Section, of the UN Department of Public Information (UN DPI). This contest invites high school students to be part of the solution and serve the greater good by participating in a Sustainable Development (SDG) Challenge designed to engage students in thinking about the needs of society and the planet — encouraging them to be agents of change and embrace the SDGs.

Students around the world are invited to submit their 300 to 500 word statement that describes an innovative approach or idea for addressing any of the SDGs. They can present an idea aimed at creating awareness or change related to one or more of the goals. Proposals can be for a project, campaign or charity that will assist in attaining one or more of the goals. They can be local or global, with a focus on the students’ school, surrounding community, state or any country or region of the world. Submissions are asked to  briefly explain the idea and approach to implementing the idea; identify which UN. Sustainable Development Goal(s) this idea supports; and explain how the idea will contribute to attaining this goal(s).

The deadline for submission of entries is midnight (New York time) the night of March 27-28, 2016.

Finalists with the best ideas will win cash prizes and a scholarship to attend Seton Hall. The cash prize can assist in launching the idea or creating awareness about the sustainable development goal or region of the world that is most important to the submitter. The first place winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize and a $10,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($2,500 annually). The second place winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize plus a $6,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($1,500 annually). The other finalists will each receive a $4,000 scholarship to attend Seton Hall University ($1,000 annually).

For contest rules and how to submit your entry, go to:

Read more about this contest:

For any questions, please contact: Ms. Teresa Debuque, National Information Officer, UN Information Centre (UNIC) Manila, at 632-3367720 to 22, 0917-5000622, or via email:

Deadline for Application extended to 8 March 2016: 2016 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme

The deadline for submission of applications to the Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme has been extended to 8 March 2016. [See the note announcing the extension of the deadline on the RAF Programme website:]

The Programme provides journalists with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the work of the United Nations. It is also an opportunity to meet journalists from other countries and exchange ideas with UN communication professionals.

Read more about the RAF Programme to see if you qualify.

Eligible candidates need to submit the following documents:

  1. Completed Application Form available online: answering ALL questions and providing all requested information.
  2. Photocopy of the passport
  3. Photocopy of the diploma or any certificates of professional training or workshop in journalism/broadcasting.
  4. A reference letter (on letterhead) from the current employer.
  5. Three samples of his/her work on topics related to the work of the UN (or links to online or audio visual stories)

All the above mentioned documents should be sent to RAF Programme Director, Mr. Zvi Muskal, via e-mail at: no later than 8 March 2016.

Selected journalists and broadcasters will spend four weeks at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 8 September through 5 October, 2016

Upon completion of the Programme, participants are expected to continue working in journalism or broadcasting and help promote better understanding of the United Nations in their home country.

Applicants must be aged between 22 and 35 and currently employed by a recognized media organisation, with several years of professional experience and oral and written fluency in English. The United Nations will cover the cost of a round trip ticket and a daily subsistence allowance. For further information, please visit

For any inquiries, please contact: Ms. Teresa L. Debuque, National Information Officer, UN Information Center Manila, at, or you may call at: 3367720 to 22.