Daily Archives: August 26, 2011
One of the inevitable rituals that comes with going back to school is sharing what you did on your summer vacation with your fellow classmates. Is working towards solving the world’s most pressing global challenges, such as child marriage, immigration, and human rights a common story?
For the 39 rising 8th-12th graders who attended our first ever Model UN Summer Camp, held at Harvard Business School in July, the answer is yes. We asked a handful of our summer campers to share about their camp experience and how it feels to be working towards becoming the next generation of global advocates. Learn more about the week here and consider sharing information about next year’s camp with a young person in your life!
Raheem, 11th grade
I am from: I live in Rosendale, MA; that’s where I was born, but my mom is actually from Singapore. She is from an Arab background, and she grew up there in Singapore.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations, so this is a great way to learn about some of the current issues today.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned about current issues in different countries such as child marriage, and also the role of peacekeepers in the UN, so doing those simulations really helped me to learn more about those different aspects.
What I liked the most about this program: It is so much more engaging type of learning than just hearing about things on the news, so I really enjoyed it. I think the public speaking aspect that we focus on a lot really helps a lot.
This program will help me with my future goals: Before this I didn’t think international relations was really up there, but now I may be considering it in the future. I have not done much public speaking before, so wasn’t really used to it, but such a big part of it was based on public speaking that I think I have gotten much better in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think that all sort of kids would like it whether they like to speak out or not, they learn a lot would really broadened their horizons based on politics.
Christina, 11th grade
I am from: Malden, MA
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I came to Model UN Camp to be better at public speaking and further my education in international relations.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things I have not known before that I would need to take to the future with me.
I liked the most about this program: How we came from all over the world to the debate and the caucuses, and the different roles there are.
This program will help me with my future goals: In the future I hope to go into maybe something in law, maybe history, so either way Model UN will help me.
I would suggest this program to other students: Advice that I give is to come prepared and be open. Don’t be shy about it because everyone is at the same position – come and learn and just be ready to do it.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations. My school is an international school, so there are lots of kids from all over. I have always been completely fascinated by the different cultural backgrounds and the way countries interact and politics that unite them.
What I have learned from this program: I will learn more about how to express myself and how to debate…How to argue convincingly from point when I don’t completely agree with that point. The thing about being diplomat is you represent a country and a body of people and that’s very important because not everyone’s voice can be heard at any global situation. I want to learn about different countries and different policies.
What I liked the most about this program: Learning from and hearing about what other people have to say, along with meeting new people.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I am older I would love to be a diplomat. Interactions between people and countries in the world are fascinating, and someday I want to make a positive difference in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: It is important for someone to represent because otherwise those people’s voices won’t be heard.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: This year I am a class president of my club at my high school and I really want to further my knowledge of the UN and learn about its operations and policies as well as that I hope for a career in the UN someday.
What I have learned from this program: My experience at the Model UN UNA-GB Summer Camp was extraordinary. It [provided] me with experience to become a better public speaker and debater. Some of the nature of the issues, which I would want to deal with, would be the global economy crisis…as well as human rights.
I liked the most about this program: I made a lot of new friends. I learned how to become a much more effective and efficient delegate in future Model UN Competitions.
This program will help me with my future goals: I want to represent people who typically, normally speak up for themselves and to defend them. My dream job would be to become a politician either for the United States or to represent the United States in the UN because I care a lot about people. It has made me want to become even more involved in international politics; I believe it will help me when applying to some colleges.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think it is important for teenagers my age to join this program, so that way they will realize that they are going to be affected by human rights or some other law or other aspect which the UN discusses.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: Because I really did not know about the UN. I thought that I could actually learn how the UN works, what the UN really is, what they really do. I want to learn more about modern day issues and human rights.
What I have learned from this program: Paying attention is definitely a key part of this camp. It really helps with public speaking. I learned how to debate. I actually was not really that good in it and I have improved a lot.
What I liked the most about this program: Parliamentary procedures… It was actually my favorite part in the whole class. I had almost no idea when I came here, but now I really understand it.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I joined the camp I thought it will be an interesting thing to know about…I actually don’t know exactly what my career would be, but I think it definitely will help me. It is a very important thing nowadays because all these issues and human rights are a big thing today.
I would suggest this program to other students: It was very accelerating, hard at some points, but I thought it was fun and very educational overall.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp to: Improve my speaking skills and actually learn to give out my opinions, my suggestions more because before I had a hard time putting out my personal views on certain topics.
What I have learned from this program: It has been a great experience understanding and learning more and getting to touch up on everything I have learned before. The Summer Camp has just expanded my level of understanding of how to give out more information about the certain topics that I understand and how to speak to other people sharing my views with others. I learned everything from child marriage to migrant workers and their struggles to basics of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What I liked the most about this program: [It is] giving me the chance to actually meet with other students from other schools and other countries and cities, which gives me a broader understanding of their different views on different topics being discussed.
This program will help me with my future goals: It changed my life because growing up I always knew I wanted to do something that was bigger than me – something that did not just have to do with me helping myself, but helping others. And the Model UN simulation just gives you the feeling that it is okay to want to get out of the comfort zone, to say I want to go beyond myself, and I want to help others in the process.
I have always wanted to be a pediatrician. That’s always been in my plan book, but I want to intertwine that with traveling – I want to travel to help those in need, maybe kids in the other parts of the world that cannot get the aid that they need for those specialized areas.
I would suggest this program to other students: This program is amazing because it is actually improving your social capability and your ability to learn and share with others what you learned. It is a great experience to come to the summer camp because it sharpens your learning abilities and what you know about American history and about the issues in general. It is the beginning, opening the door to helping others, and understanding what the world is made out of.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I thought it was a great opportunity to come to a beautiful city like Boston and practice and learn some things about Model United Nations that I did not know before.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things about international relations and child rights and human rights that I would have never known if I would have never came to this program. Mediating with other countries is always the best way to fix things.
What I liked the most about this program: It sets a great platform for your future aspirations to go farther than Model United Nations, and I would suggest it to any Model UN students.
This program will help me with my future goals: Overall I would like to make the world a better place. There is a lot of turmoil in the world. And it is only one person, but if one person affects three, two people, that is already life well spent. I am aspiring to go to college at Boston University and go to the international relations school and maybe become an ambassador to another country from the United States. And the prior information that I have learned from this program will surely help to reach that goal.
I would suggest this program to other students: Whether you are experienced or not in the Model United Nations field, you can learn some things that you did not know or if you just completely new to the Model UN, you can learn everything you really need to know.
UNA-GB’s Young Professionals came together last week for a taste of a rich and historical culture at the “Taste Of El Salvador” event. Close to 30 young professionals gathered at Mi Pueblito restaurant in East Boston to learn about the culture, history and politics of the Central American country and enjoy an authentic Salvadoran three course meal complete with Salvadoran beverages.
The event welcomed a few special guests to share with the group some cultural background of El Salvador. The Consul General of El Salvador for New England, José Edgardo Alemán Molina, expressed through his diplomatic representation the hope and dreams of El Salvadorans both in their homeland and in communities around the US. As mentioned, Boston has one of the largest immigrant Salvadoran populations in the world. “While I am not the mayor, I still feel it is appropriate for me to say: Welcome to East Boston” the Consul General said, adding that 18% of the neighborhood’s population is Salvadoran, East Boston’s largest ethnic population.
Following the Consul General’s remarks was Ms. Zulma Romero, la Reina Carnaval de San Miguel Boston 2010-2011, who shared her experience as a Reina with the group. A resident of Worcester, MA, Ms. Romero will compete with Reinas from around the world to earn the title of Carnaval Queen of The Carival de San Miguel, an important part of Salvadoran culture and the second largest Carnival in the world.
Also there to share experiences were a number of Returning Peace Corp Volunteers, who had served in El Salvador. Joe Dizoglio, the coordinator of the evening’s Taste Of event and RPCV spoke about his experiences, and shared mementos and photos, as well as offered up extensive knowledge about the menu for the evening, which included pupusas, Carne Asada, and Empanadas as a few of the samplings (complete menu here). It was a wonderful way to honor the more than two years of service and community building with the Salvadoran people.
The event was a success, through the sharing of the stories and cultural lessons from each of the presentations, and the incredible meal and discussion experienced among the young professionals. Check out more pictures from this event now!
Stay tuned for more “Taste Of” and “On-Tap” events coming up! Every other month, the UNA-Greater Boston Young Professionals group meets for a “Taste Of” event at ethnic restaurants in the area to not only enjoy specialty dishes but also to increase awareness about other parts of the world.
-Nate Tassanari, YP Chair
On May 25, 2011, the world celebrated Africa Day. This year marked the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963. On July 9, 2002, OAU was succeeded by the African Union, whose aim is to promote economic, social, and political integration, and democracy on the continent. Even though the Organisation of African Unity no longer exists, May 25th continues to be commemorated as Africa Day.
This year’s Africa Day came at a time of momentous political change on the continent, as evidenced by the recent events in North Africa and Côte d’Ivoire. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon celebrated the Day in Ethiopia, where the African Union is headquartered. Emphasizing this year’s Africa Day theme, “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development,” Secretary-General Ban remarked that despite substantial progress in education and economic growth, inequalities are prevalent in Africa, and that the youth of Africa continues to face challenges when it comes to finding decent jobs and participating in the decision-making processes. The Secretary-General also emphasized that sustainable economic growth and the judicious management of the earth’s resources can only be achieved through the empowerment of young people.
In addition to S-G Ban Ki-moon, those present in the commemorative event at the African Union Headquarters included the Chairperson of the African Union, Mr. Teodoro Mbasogo, and the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. In celebration of Africa, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be offering a number of events, including film screenings, art exhibitions and debates, with special attention paid to the role of women and young people.
Picture this: a beach of sandy white, blue-green waters with foam flecking the surface. Children laughing, flying kites, playing soccer, and swimming through the crashing waves. Along the shore there are giant slides, bouncy castles, and ping-pong tables. Where does your mind take you? To a picturesque day at the New Jersey shore? Or maybe to a carnival on a Florida beachscape?
The scene I am describing actually exists in an area normally torn with pain and hardship—Gaza. However, a UN agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has made great strides in creating an environment that attempts to bring stability to the residents of Palestine and the Gaza Strip. Specifically, this group provides education, health, relief, and social services to eligible Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and the West Bank. Since 2007, they have organized unique summer games for the children to attend, which consist of a total of 1,200 camps, running from June 12th to August 5th.
Last year, the games drew around 250,000 children, located at 25 different beaches along the Gaza coast, where kids received swimming lessons, played various sports, and created arts and crafts. The UNRWA also connected with community based organizations to bring mural-painting, inflatable slides, bouncy castles, swimming pools, dancing, kite making and more. The activities extended into hospitals and orphanages where the UNRWA provided puppet and theater shows, clowns, and cartoons.
The summer games have transformed many of the children. One parent remarks on the necessity of the program:
“This event is so necessary; I mean, the situation being what it is here, children and families really need a break and more of these activities. The kids see so much, and they understand the situation and the suffering of their parents. So these kinds of activities really help them psychologically and encourage their talents. As you can see, here the kids can play, and laugh, and be happy…and we’re happy for them.”
Hopefully, the games will continue to run for years to come. There has been much support so far. The European Union recently donated 2 million Euros to support the camps. The programming truly makes a difference in the lives of the Palestinian youth.
Want to see more? Check out the UNRWA picture gallery.