Before I attended MMSY program, I was tutoring a young girl, with her summer school and summer reading homework. Then I did three-day training for a job in a fast-food restaurant. However, I was not hired for the job. At this time I was not doing anything. I believe that God did not give me the job, so that I may have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program.

The MMSY program definitely exceeded my expectations. On the first day, I was very happy to see that we were all from different backgrounds. We were a diverse group, since we all had different ethnicities.

I learned about the purposes of the United Nations. I learned that its purpose is to maintain international peace and security.  I learned how the Human Rights department advocates for a better world. Their mission is to achieve a non-discriminatory society. The instructor said something very important which is to never say that an immigrant is illegal, but to say that he is undocumented, because no human being is illegal. Now I understand how important it is that people know their rights. I also learned about The Millennium Project and the goals of Post 2015. Our instructor told us about initiatives such as “Leave no one behind.” She talked in detail about education. One of the things that struck me was that, some children are not declared and do not have birth certificates.

At the Museum of Tolerance, I learned about the extremities of intolerance and the impact of stereotyping. We saw a video of the power of words. The power of words could hurt a whole race. We also saw a series of propaganda that illustrated examples of dehumanization. We also met a Holocaust survivor named Hannah Sloan. She told us about how she escaped the Holocaust, because she was put on a train with many other children. She was only fourteen years old, when she escaped and was received by another family. She addressed something very important, which was that she never renounced her faith. Although she endured numerous hardships, she held on to her beliefs. She is very thankful for her life.  We watched a video about acts of genocide and violence. It was hard to watch and unbelievable. I could not believe that those acts of genocide were still occurring throughout our world today. It motivated me to incite change.

We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and learned about the Cyrus Cylinder. Our tour guide was able to tell us about the history leading up to the Cyrus Cylinder. I learned that Cyrus was a person that carried out an invasion peacefully. He is said to be the one to introduce the concept of diversity. The Cylinder is also the basis of human rights. The Cyrus Cylinder is an object that embodies the concept of peace. I was happy to see how humble Director of UNESCO, Mr. Kridelka was also very eager to learn about the Cyrus Cylinder. After the tour Mr. Kridelka talked to us about the work of UNESCO. He really highlighted the importance of diversity and its impact.

When we visited UNICEF, I learned about how children need basic things to survive. Something that caught my attention was that they find that it is important to educate a girl. The day before we arrived they had just started their #End Violence against children campaign. Our instructor said, “We have to highlight the invisible and make it visible.” They also spoke about Malala and her moving speech. We also watched the movie Peace One Day by Jeremy Gilley. This movie really taught me the power that one man can have to change the world. He never gave up in his efforts to establish September 21 as Peace Day. Although he encountered many challenges, that did not lower his spirits. One of the things that struck me about the movie was that, the Taliban in Afghanistan agreed to put their guns down during Peace One Day 2007, while 1.4 million children received polio vaccinations.

At the World Health Organization. I learned about how they advocate health issues for the United Nations and try to meet Millennium Development Goals. This organization wants to achieve universal access to quality healthcare.

We were invited to attend  to the UNSG Envoy on Youth, which was located in the United Nations in the General Assembly Hall. This was a youth conference with the Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon. There were more than 500 young people there and other young people that joined us via webcam from Nigeria, India, Brussels, Lebanon and Brasil. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon addressed important topics such as education, better and more job opportunities, and climate change. He also spoke about the importance of achieving the MDGs. Then a group of panelists spoke and answered questions. They really supported gender equality, women empowerment and the availability of jobs. They encouraged us to engage globally.

We had the opportunity to discuss about our cultures; everyone had the opportunity to talk about his or her own culture. I spoke about the Dominican Republic and some of the problems that they are dealing with today. It was very interesting to learn about everyone’s cultures. I realized how diverse we all were.

On religion day, we visited many places of worship. First, we visited a Buddhist Temple. He spoke about the importance of meditation and focusing on one’s self. The location had various tables, and an “altar” toward the front with various statues of Siddhartha Gautama. I was surprised to see that the temple wasn’t solely an open space, due to the fact that they focused on meditation. Next, we visited a Jewish synagogue. It is actually a museum; however, it is closed on Saturdays because that is their day of worship. The museum has a wealth of history. I noticed that the synagogue looks similar to the Catholic Church in its structure. However, there are two “altars.” I learned that the arc towards the synagogue contains the Torahs. I really enjoyed visiting this museum, because I was able to find clarity for some of the questions I had. After this we went to the Catholic Church. We went to St. Francis of Assisi Church. Although I was already familiar with the Catholic Church, I learned something new. I asked our instructor a question about the statues of the church, and he answered it with a very understandable answer. I’ve asked the question many times but his answer really put an end to my doubt. Lastly, we visited a Muslim mosque. I learned that we had to wrap our hair with scarves to respect their religious beliefs. The Muslim place of worship is an open space with carpet, and I learned that women worship at a different area than the men. I learned a lot about Islam and some of their most important beliefs. I am grateful that I was able to learn about so many different belief systems on this day.

At the Youth Assembly in the United Nations, were many young people there. One of the speakers said that leadership and empowerment were crucial. She said, “Put the you in youth.” After she spoke one of my favorite speakers spoke. Mr. Sam Vaghar really communicated his empowerment for the youth. Throughout his journey, he was persistent to make his voice heard. I learned to not be afraid to talk to anyone. Next we saw a video that focused on the eight MDGs. I was able to learn more in detail about these MDGs and what the United Nations is doing to achieve them. Lastly, we saw a movie with Mr. Pierre Dulaine. His movie focused on getting Arab and Jewish students to dance together. This movie was very moving, and it taught me how the conflict affects everyone. Mr. Dulaine’s intention was to plant the seed of friendship. On this day, I learned that there are many people who are working toward making a change in the most affected areas.

We were able to see the music video I am Malala, which was very inspirational. The music video focused on her message of education. Then we were introduced to a new video game inspired by the book Half the Sky. I learned that there are some video games that promote positivity. They taught us numerous ways to communicate our message, especially through social media. Ms. Rehema Ellis showed us that we had to get people’s attention. Mr. Bill Oberlander said we had to tell a moving story. The speaker that struck me the most on this day was Ms. Morgan Wienberg. She is very young and she is the founder of Little Footprints Big Steps. She was very emotional throughout her speech, as she spoke about her work with poor Haitian orphans. Her work really inspired me because she was able to achieve this at such a young age. Her sincere care towards those children is admirable.

 During the MMSY program we had discussions about some questions regarding self-esteem. We were able to get to know each other on a more personal level. Ms. Mahroo Moshari really helped us to express our feelings. We continued by speaking about our family background and how we got along with our family. I learned about some of the problems that some of us face throughout our daily lives. Ms. Moshari gave us helpful advice on how to deal with those difficulties.

The MMSY program taught me how to express myself and appreciate diversity and to be less stereotypical. It really opened my eyes to things that I had no knowledge about.

I also enjoyed learning about the Cyrus Cylinder because of its significance. It was a different experience visiting the various places of worship, rather than just learning about them in school. I was also very privileged to be a part of the Youth Assembly. It was motivational and a great learning experience. I have gained a wealth of knowledge throughout this program.  After attending MMSY program, I know I have the duty to share what I have learned. I want to focus on advocating for Peace One Day. The simple act of talking to classmates and friends can make a difference, because then they will also tell others about it. I also want to tell people about the United Nations. I know that many people do not about it and the Millenium Development Goals. I owe this opportunity entirely to Ms. Mahroo Moshari. She did an amazing job to expose us to all of these things. I deeply appreciated her desire to hear our opinions about every place we visited or every activity we did. She taught us how to be more tolerant and accepting of diversity.



ALL human beings are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights. 

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights