Prior to attending the Manhattan Multicultural Summer Youth Program I hadn’t really done much with my summer. After finishing school the only interesting thing I had done was visit family in Florida. For almost an entire month I did nothing productive at all. The only thing to relieve me of my boredom would be occasionally hanging out with friends and family. My mother and I were constantly looking for things for me to do, and almost every time she mentions something I would turn it down because I wasn’t interested in what it was.

Honestly, I was prepared to just sit back and lounged for the rest of the summer. Then, one day my mother told me about the MMSY, and it sounded interesting to me. I have always been interested in learning about other cultures. In recent years I have also developed an interest in traveling. I haven’t really been to many other countries, and other continents before. I hadn’t really been exposed to many other cultures as well. My father is from the Bronx, and my mother is from Trinidad & Tobago, even though she left when she was young and moved to Canada, and neither of them really talks about their families and the culture of their families. Besides the culture part of the program, I had never been to the United Nations. I had heard about it and I knew that it had established after World War II and that there was a general assembly ever so often were world leaders would discuss the problems that plague the global communities, and that was it.


I was very nervous before the program started. I didn’t know at all what to expect, and thoughts of what was to come were always in my head. For some reason the nervous thoughts never seemed to want to go away. I think I was so nervous because everything we did in the program would make me have to step out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t think I was ready for that. Almost every part of the program made me step out of my comfort zone in some way. For example, I never really go into Manhattan, and I never really take the train to go anywhere. So, taking the train into Grand Central and walking to the UN building by myself was a new thing, and it made my very nervous the first time. But now after about two weeks, I have started to really enjoy the trip into the city and being more independent. Also, we were encouraged to memorize and recite the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which made me even more nervous. After some time however, some of my nervousness started to fade. I think at times I was still nervous because we were never told what we would be doing or see the next day. So it was a good thing that most of the things we very interesting.

I was surprised by the way the program went. It wasn’t really what I expected it to be like. However, I never really knew what to expect in the first place. I liked the tour of the UN on the first day. I felt that the speaker really knew what she was talking about and that she was experienced. The different gifts from the different countries were also very interesting. I think the ivory model was one of the most impressive things I saw. I thought it was amazing how detailed it was, and even on the train you could see tiny little people in the tiny little windows.

Another part that I found very interesting was the talk on Palestine. I have been interested in that subject for some time. However, I had not gotten around to researching a lot into the subject. I also feel as though the speaker presented the information very well. I felt as though he added a good amount of personality into the discussion. Overall, I have to say the discussion on Palestine was my second favorite presentation during the two weeks. Hopefully, before the summer is over I can continue to do more research into the subject.

The discussion on WHO (World Health Organization) is also worth mentioning. The slide show that was presented to us was very clear and made it a little bit easier to follow along and take notes. What was also interesting were the Millennium Development Goals. This was the first time I had learned about the MDGs, and in the presentation we got a quick overview of what they were.

Going to the Tolerance center was a different experience then I thought it would be. I was under the impression that it was going to be more like a museum. Overall, I really like the Tolerance center. I really liked the POV diner, and how it gave you a chance to pick what question you want and who you want to answer it. After the diner, there was another section where we answered questions. We also watched a film on the International Day of Peace. Before watching the film I had never known that there was an International Day of Peace. I was surprised by the amount of work that had to go into making such a day possible, and how hard it is to be taken seriously.

Overall, I had a great time at MMSY. I learned a lot from every one of the presentations, and everything that we saw. I am extremely glad that I got into the program, because I don’t know what I would be doing if I hadn’t. I like that the program inspired me to memorize the 30 Articles of UDHR, for which I received the second prize in the competition to recite them. I am going to apply the newfound knowledge and experiences in a multitude of ways. First of all I am going to try to spread what I have learned to my family, and then my friends. I will also try to get my school involved in some way. This program has definitely helped me in more ways than one. I already see the world differently because of this program. We all can do something to change the world, and if this program has taught me one thing that one thing would be that it only takes one person to start changing the world, all you need to do is stand up and try.



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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights