Khalid

This summer, I spent two weeks learning about human rights and the UN participating in the MMSY Program--perhaps the most enriching experience I’ve had this year. Currently, I attend Paramus High School (a rising senior) and the multiculturalism I experienced in the past two weeks has been more than I have experienced in my high school in the year that I’ve been there. I am grateful for the opportunity provided to me through this program and believe it has had an impact on the way I think about and approach human interactions.

During my session, the students involved came from many different backgrounds and that in of itself made the experience unique and educational.

During the MMSY program, we visited many UN agencies, and learned about the inner workings of the UN and NGO’s from people directly involved with both. This ‘insider perspective’ was very useful and informative; it completely changed my perspective on how the UN operates and what contribution motivated individuals can make to the advancement of the world.

Among the most interesting days of the program was the day on which we visited different places of worship. The group made its way to a synagogue, a Buddhist temple, a church, and a mosque. I like to think of myself as a person with knowledge of faiths outside my own, but I learned things about the day to day worship of different religions that I never knew before. Perhaps the most interesting thing I observed was that the three Abrahamic faiths have many of the same practices which are based on highly similar principles and ideologies.

While visiting different places of worship was enlightening, I think the most valuable experience to me was seeing the Cyrus Cylinder. The tour guide who lead us through the exhibit was very informative and engaging; she always encouraged the ‘students’ to participate and ask questions, as well as maintain a dialogue about the exhibit amongst themselves. Even without the awesome guide, the exhibit would have been very interesting on its own. Being able to read the first declaration of human rights--well, the translation of it--and see the original cylinder itself brought about a feeling of awe in me.

Without this program, I don’t think I would have had the perspective I do now on multiculturalism and cooperation. Even though I have lived in New York City most of my life, the diversity experienced there is subtle: people don’t really acknowledge it or discuss it overtly. However, over period of two weeks, it has been brought to the forefront of my conscious. Because of this experience, I’m encouraged to make a change. Even if it is a small change, like speaking out against discrimination when I see it, or starting a club in my school, I’m inspired to do something to improve the way human beings treat each other.

 

 

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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights