United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth


What is the Odd Fellow and Rebekahs United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth?

EPSON MFP imageThis unique Educational Program brings together high school students from around the world to study and learn about the United Nations. For young adults interested in world affairs, international relations, economics and/or political sciences this is an opportunity of a lifetime to observe the United Nations in person while exchanging views on education, politics and religion.

Tour the United Nations building and listen to behind-the-scenes briefings conducted by specialized United Nations agencies and departments. Mingle with young people from around the world making new and lifelong friends, plus experience one of the greatest cities in the world, New York. Attend a Broadway play; visit the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and much more. Growing in popularity, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth program has been garnering growing public attention in the United States, Canada and abroad. The U.S. National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the advisory List of National contests and Activities.


Who sponsors the students?

Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodges sponsor the students. The Tour is funded by fund-raising activities and donations of the many dedicated members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, along with corporate and individual donations. This non-profit fraternal organization has sponsored over 44,000 students since the program’s inception in 1949!

After half a century, the members of Odd Fellow and Rebekah lodges continue to proudly inspire the young people of today to pursue global agendas that will enable them to help their communities relate to world affairs in the future.


When are the tours conducted?

Tours are conducted during the summer and vary from six to twelve days in duration, usually late June to early July. The Vancouver Odd Fellows coordinator will advise you of your specific departure date.


Who is eligible?

Competition is open to all Vancouver high school students 16 or 17 years of age with a minimum of one year of high school remaining. Applications are reviewed by the selection committee for evidence of leadership, character, concern for community welfare, interest in world affairs and general fitness. Applicants are required to write and participate in our speech contest. The winner will participate in the UN Pilgrimage for Youth tour.


What does it cost?

Expenses including transportation, meals, lodging, and sightseeing are paid for by the Vancouver Odd Fellows Lodge. The student provides spending money for souvenirs, laundry, shopping, extra refreshments and some entertainment. Parents must give written permission for the student to attend the program and agree to pay for student’s return trip when an accident, illness or misbehaviour prevents further participation in the tour. Click here for an application form.
The 2017 United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth Speak Off will happen February 16, 2017!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the dress code?
The dress code for contestants is semi-formal.

Can I invite my family?
Family, friends, teachers and classmates are invited to attend the contest.

How long may I speak?
Contestants have 4 minutes per speech. The Judges may deduct points for speeches that exceed 4 minutes.

How will I be judged?
The Toastmasters International Judge’s Guide and Criteria will be followed (see link provided below).

What happens after the contest?
Guests and contestants will be served light snacks, tea & coffee while the Judges convene to select a winner.

How soon will the winner be announced?
The Judges will announce the winner on the evening of the contest (February 16th).


High Schools that have competed in the past

  • Gladstone
  • Little Flower Academy
  • Tupper
  • Windermere
  • Prince of Wales
  • Britannia
  • King George
  • Killarney
  • Vancouver Technical


How to Participate

Students must be chosen by their school to compete in Lodge 90’s Public Speech Competition. Students will need to write a speech 4 minutes in length on a topic pertaining to the United Nations or World Affairs, such as:

Any aspect of the work of the United Nations.

  • Is the United Nations meeting the challenges of today?
  • Any topic of International concern.
  • Any matter of National interest.

Contestants are required to find their own resource material. Due consideration will be given to both content and length by the Judges at the competition. To participate, a student should be 16 or 17 years of age, and must not have reached the age of 18 years by August 1, 2017. The student must have at least one remaining semester or one year of high school upon their return from the trip.
Judging Criteria

The Judges for the Vancouver Odd Fellows, Speak-off will follow the format of the Toastmasters International, International Speech Contest, Judge’s Guide and Criteria (pages 1 and 3).


Past Speeches & Tips, Tour Information

Checkout http://www.unpilgrimage.org/ for past speeches and tour information.

Click here for tips on your speech.


UN Pilgrimage Information Form

UN Pilgrimage Contact Form

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