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20 April 2004

Australian and American students will interview United Nations Civil Society Service Chief Ramu Damodaran about global citizenship during a special international Talkback Classroom session at the National Museum of Australia this Thursday.

In a live video link with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, Mr Damodaran will discuss his views on civic responsibility in world affairs.

Three American high school students will join Mr Damodaran at the Smithsonian. The three Australian students will be at the National Museum's Studio in Canberra.

Mr Damodaran who is also editor of the flagship UN Chronicle will be questioned about the political influence of young people and issues that have particular importance to them.

The Talkback Classroom interview is being held in the National Museum's Studio at 9.45 am this Thursday, 22 April.

Talkback Classroom is a National Museum project which links students from across Australia and the world with key politicians and public figures. Last year, Prime Minister John Howard took part in a similar exchange.

The international student panel has been preparing for this event in museum-based workshops for the past four months.

The Australian student panel is: Michaela Flanigan, Canberra College; Matthew Leung, Radford College; and Jo Hanna Werts, Merici College. Their US counterparts are: Spencer Irvine, John F Kennedy High School; Whitney Soble, Thomas Jefferson High School; and Thomas Meyer, Montgomery Blair High School.

Other Talkback Classroom guests this year include Labor Party president Carmen Lawrence, Senator Aden Ridgeway, Canberra Times cartoonist Geoff Pryor and Governor-General Michael Jeffrey.

The Ramu Damodaran interview will be edited and broadcast on Radio National's Life Matters program at 10am on Tuesday, 27 April.

The interview will also be webcast at:

For images, interviews or more information please contact Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or

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