Zoya

Prior to attending this program I had a strong interest in world issues, peace and conflict resolution. I already knew that I wanted to major in international relations in college. I participated in various programs to explore my culture and the cultures of others, but never had I ever even dreamt of an experience where I would explore culture and religion at the United Nations. I had an interest in the UN and UNICEF and always knew I wanted to get involved but I never realized I could start working towards solutions to world issues now. I thought I had an idea of what the United Nations and UNICEF entailed, but in fact I had no idea of all the different initiatives the United Nations has taken to fight so many issues. I knew nothing about the Millennium Development Goals and I never realized that I too can be part of the solution.

As a participant in this program, I learned so much that it is truly difficult for me to put in words. In just two weeks I was introduced to all different aspects of the United Nations. I never realized that there were so many different smaller organizations within the United Nations that are all working diligently to better the lives of people around the world. Some people think that all the UN does is facilitate things such as international law, but in fact there is so much more that goes on. It made me so happy to see the diversity of people working towards human rights, children rights and making sure everyone’s individual rights are preserved and stories are heard. Never had I heard about the Millennium Development Goals and it was really interesting for me to learn what the United Nations, one of the biggest international organizations, views as the most pressing international issues and what they are doing to address them. The youth assembly program was also a great learning experience. Meeting and learning from ambassadors, business people and just ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, helped me see how many different things just one person can do to create a chain reaction to change the world. I will never forget what Ahmad Kamal, the ambassador of Pakistan said about how we all are actually one family because we all originate in East Africa; meaning the world was globalizing from day one. I also learned different things at the Tolerance Center and scared places we visited. Although I have already been to a mosque, synagogue and church before, each trip taught me something new.

This program created a new energy inside of me; to immediately do whatever possible to work towards the MDG’S. I just started college, majoring in international affairs and have starting taking Arabic courses in hopes of becoming fluent. I’ve already spoken to so many people about my experience at the Manhattan Multicultural Youth Program, and it really surprised me how many people don’t even know about the MDG’S. Additionally, I am trying to inform as many people as I can about the MDG’S. As of right now, I figured why not start in my own backyard, so I am looking at what is in place around my campus towards improving education. In many urban communities in Washington DC there are many children in poverty who aren’t getting the education they deserve. I have just started working for a homeless shelter called Community of Hope. I go there two days a week to help kids with their homework. I feel so fulfilled when I see the students I assist, with a smile and how I have touched them. As the year goes on, I hope to attend the Aids walk in October in order to do whatever else I can to get involved.

 

 

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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights