Remi

Before the MMSY program I spent my days either memorizing vocabulary words for the SAT or lying in my bed watching various tv shows. I had a constant cycle of waking up, taking a shower, going to my SAT class, coming home, taking a nap, and every once in a while seeing a friend.

SAT class went from 9:30 to 1 so it was a pretty intensive class. It was made up of about 15 kids and a teacher for the reading section and a teacher for the math section. I didn’t really enjoy the class because it was mostly straight studying and constant practice tests. There were daily vocabulary tests and if you didn’t get over an 80 percent you were required to stay until 4 to do extra work. This was both good and bad because who wants to stay longer? But it also helped motivate me to study every day. I made the mistake of not studying the first time and I got so tired from the extra problems I had to do it helped me to be able to actually study in the future.

 When MMSY program started I was just so glad. I was glad that I was finally doing something with my summer instead of just school or sleeping. And I am so glad I did the program.  I learned about the UN which is something I have never really done except for like five minutes in history class in the 8th grade. It was never something I thought about, only something I heard about in passing when talking about World War 2.

I also never knew that it was so close to my house. I imagined it to be extremely far away and distant, because it is in international waters. However, I literally walked there! It boggled my mind that something this important and influential was so close to where I slept and ate dinner.

The human rights briefing opened my eyes to numerous things. For example, there are apparently many human rights stations all over the world. It made me happy to think that people in less fortunate countries were getting services that they would may not be able to get before. The problems the Human Rights division of the UN were tackling were interesting because I never predicted them. While also going for the normalities of poverty and education it was amazing to think that the UN was also helping other countries learn how to control it’s money. This is an important skill. I barely know how to save my own money, it must be a huge hassle to do it for a whole country.

Another thing that popped out to me was the tolerance museum. I have never heard of this place before and I am so glad that I was able to experience it. It’s lucky that I went with MMSY  because doing it in such a small group was a better experience than with a large one like if I went with my school. I had the opportunity to actually ask the questions I was interested in because we were all able to talk without anyone feeling left out.

The tour guide we had was extremely friendly and approachable. The judgement game she did in the beginning of the tour really opened my eyes to the fact that people do make judgements about others even if they are the most tolerant person in the world. It’s just human nature and there is really nothing wrong with that. The propaganda throughout the ages wall of the museum also really stood out. It was crazy to think that in some time ago the human race thought it actually okay to depict such controversial and inappropriate slogan and images to the public. People lived in such a different environment back then, and it made me think about maybe the media is imprinting some idea on us and we don’t even notice it.

The holocaust survivor who spoke really inspired me. Even though she went through many hardships and had to endure such a terrible experience, she remained cheerful throughout the whole story. She was just so proud of herself and the man who saved her it made me rethink how we should all be grateful for what we have in life. If this old lady was able to smile as she thought back on life so should I.

 I think the exhibit that had the most impact was the video our tour guide showed us in the end. She really changed my view on history and genocide. I always knew about these atrocities of course, I learned about them in school. However seeing them in pictures with kids and people talking really made it seem real to me. The Jewish man who was held hostage really got to me because I heard about him on facebook but never really had enough curiosity to dig deeper on him. It’s crazy to think that I could’ve just overlooked something as big as that but I did. I wonder how many other things I have been overlooking. This video taught me that sometimes people will do bad things, and as the future generation it’s our responsibility to learn from the past to make better decisions in the future.

Our private tour of the Cyrus cylinder at the Metropolitan was a spectacular thing to witness. This piece of writing is the first documented evidence of human rights in the world, and I was able to view it. To be honest, I didn’t even remember who Cyrus was when I entered that tour. I recalled his name in the back of my head somewhere, but I couldn’t quite place what that he actually did. Now I will never forget his name. He is the person I realized who helps society grow, he is the kind of person who helps everyone.

Viewing different religious sites was my favorite day still. the buddhist temple was extremely engaging and thorough. I really liked his speech because it also gave me time to explore the house of worship on my own. It was like I just discovered the place and was learning. The whole day was just a great experience. The religion I knew most about was Christianity, because my grandma is a very strict Christian. However, I did not know about the holy trinity and I loved how the speaker explained it with the sun and sunray metaphor.

One of the most interesting things about all Muslim religious sites was the architecture and how each site arranged their furniture. I could barely witness these things at the mosque.The various speakers at the Youth Day and Youth Assembly were phenomenal. It was an honor to see Ban Ki-Moon speak; I have heard so much about him. I loved how we were video chatting with different countries. It just amazed me that in Brazil youths like me were sitting in a room listening in on the conference and asking questions. I also never realized how big the issue of gender equality and education was. I always took those two topics for granted and I noticed how sheltered my life really was. It really gave me a new perspective on things.

The movie about dancing was also extremely entertaining as well as informative. It was beautiful witnessing two opposing religion and cultures come together to learn the universal art of dance. Watching the kids grow into such understanding and thoughtful people reminded me about how children aren’t born hating others, it is influenced upon them at a young age.

The MMSY program really helped me to better understand and tolerate others. I really got to the point where I realized that every person had a story. I could walk down the street and people could have an incredible life and various beliefs and I would never know. It also taught me to understand that people have been through different things and that it’s okay to believe in what you want to.

After watching the Peace One Day documentary I learned that with enough persistence and motivation a person can literally do anything he puts his mind to. It really inspired me to go out and do something that I’m really passionate about, and no matter what gets thrown my way to stick to it. The whole program inspired me to have this drive. All the youth speakers, a few almost as young as I, encouraged me to go out there and make a change. To spread the word.

Knowing how to work with the twitter and social media really showed me how in only 140 characters you can spread ideas to people and educate others. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, youtube, all are amazing tools to reach out to your peers. Writing out tweets and taking photos for Facebook made me truly realize that every voice counts.

 In the future I think I am going to further educate myself about religious and the various faiths in the world. Who knows, maybe I’ll become religious myself. I will also be more conscious about the world and the events that occur around me. Educating myself I find is the key step to really making a difference. I am also going to try to know people before I judge. -conceived notions are okay, as long as we take the time to get to really know the person, we all have pre-conceived notions about each other is okay, as long as we take the time to get to really know the person.

Thank you Mahroo for this incredible experience! :)

 

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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights