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26 October 2005

Australian and American students will interview the United Nations' chief media spokesman, Shashi Tharoor, about how the UN represents itself to the media during a special international Talkback Classroom session at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra this Friday.

In a live video link with the UN, Mr Tharoor will discuss how it gets its messages across. He will be questioned specifically about the UN oil-for-food scandal, the war in Iraq and the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

Three American high school students will join Mr Tharoor at the UN building in New York. The three Australian students will be at the National Museum's Studio in Canberra.

The Talkback Classroom interview is being held in the National Museum's Studio at 8.45am on Friday 28 October.

Talkback Classroom is a National Museum project which links students from across Australia and the world with key politicians and public figures. Last year, the UN's Civil Society Service Chief Ramu Damodaran took part in a similar exchange.

The international student panel has been preparing for this event for several weeks.

The Australian student panel is: Madeleine Tewes, Year 12, Copland College, Canberra; Michael Wright, Year 12, Trinity College, East Perth and Mitchell Grady, Year 11, St Joseph's College, Brisbane. Their US counterparts are: Ethan Waxman, Year 11, Washington, DC; Amy Bisno, Year 12 Larchmount, New York and Pablo Rojas, Year 12 Bethesda, Maryland.

Other Talkback Classroom guests this year include Dr Ameer Ali, President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, on 9 November and Michael Milton, Paralympian skier, on 23 November.

The Shashi Tharoor interview will be edited and broadcast on Radio National's Life Matters program.

The interview will also be webcast at:

For images, interviews or more information please contact Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or email:

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