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Winter 1991

President's Message (Sandra Duckworth)
Debates to Debut
Ed Fund Changes Noted
Board Highlights
Board of Education Voters Guide
Legislative Lobby Corps Needed
Dues Issues Clarified
United Nations News
Calendar and Announcements
Neighbor Isle Activities Reported

United Nations News

International Literacy has been the theme this year in the United Nations. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines a literate person as one "who can both read with understanding and write a short simple statement on his everyday life."

UNESCO has been given the role of lead agency in preparing for the IL Year's observance. Two basic messages are: • That education matters because education plays a decisive role in shaping our own future and the future of our society, and • That cooperation - a partnership - among people and nations will help to ensure that men, women and children everywhere can exercise their right to education - and their right to a future.

Many educators use the terms functional literacy and functional illiteracy when describing the ability of individuals to read, write, or do arithmetic skillfully enough to meet the demands of the society in which they live. Studies have shown that in some industrialized countries as many as 10 to 15 percent of the adult population is functionally illiterate. This means that in the United States, 21 to 25 million citizens cannot read or write.

A 1975 survey by the US. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare estimated that 20 percent of adult Americans lack necessary skills for everyday life. These statistics and others in the survey demonstrate the necessity of involving parents and children in literacy programs.

Locally the United Nation's Association of the United States of America, Hawaii Division will focus on the ILY theme: A summons to action: an opportunity and a challenge at its United Nations Day Dinner, October 20,1990.

Hawaii Literacy, Inc. and its Executive Director, Janet Morse, invite interested persons to train as a volunteer tutors for English-speaking, non-readers. For information call #537-6706 and become one of Hawaii's corps of people helping alleviate this problem.

The newsletter for UNA-USA, The Interdependent, reviews events of the past year. It states, "We have entered an extraordinarily dynamic period of human history. And the United Nations, for the first time, has the opportunity to play a major role in shaping, not just witnessing or recording, the course of events."

And further, "The U.N. Charter speaks eloquently about the centrality of human rights, and from its early days the U.N. has taken the lead in codifying and championing international standard of human decency. Yet in years past, implementation efforts have been selective, with politics too often triumphing over principle."

The article by Edward C. Luck, President of UNAUSA, concludes, "The United States can play an extremely valuable role as a source of ideas, principles, and inspiration in a time of uncertainty and change. As the US. begins to turn the page on its years of isolation in and arrearages (behindhand) to the world body, it has an historic opportunity to provide positive leadership in the United Nations system In doing so, the U.S. can recapture the forwardlooking vision that did so much to define the postwar world and its unprecedented set of international institutions. Two generations later, as the bipolar system starts to fade, these multilateral institutions-and U.S. leadership in them-are needed more than ever."

The League of Women Voters of the US has long been a supporter of United Nations efforts. At its recent convention the League sent a letter to Congress calling for full funding of the United States' assessed contributions to the UN.

The United Nations Day Dinner will highlight International Literacy through the theme "From Global to Local Action."

Keynote Speaker is Siegfried Rambler of the Wo Institute on International Studies who will speak on global efforts in this area. Literacy panelists will include Janet Morse, Executive Director of Hawaii Literacy, Inc.; Meriel Colons, a literacy tutor; and Andy Quartero, named one of seven 1990 Outstanding Adult Learners in Washington, D.C.

For information call the Friends of the East-West Center at 944-7691.

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