Before the program I had done a few things like community service and helping around with different organizations, but nothing like this. One thing like that I did with my school was a project on human rights. I picked the topic of Child Soldiers In Uganda . This topic interested me because my father had done some previous work on it. I researched a lot about the topic and then made a diorama which showed stories of different child soldiers. I then presented it and talked about how people could help the cause. I also help out a lot at my community soup kitchen. I started to do so because of a social justice project I had to do for school and then I just continued on doing it. I feel that it’s really important to help out because it gives back to the community and allows you to help people less fortunate than yourself.

I have always loved helping out and researching different causes but I was curious about the different organizations that really made a difference for the world. My dad told me about MMSYP right when I got back from a music camp that I had been at. I had never heard of it but it sounded really interesting. I wasn't sure what to think about the program before I went but I thought that I would like it and that it would really help me learn about important issues happening in the world today. The two weeks that I spent at Manhattan Multicultural summer youth program have been great. I have learned so much as well as been inspired to help out in my community and the world.

I learned about the gifts that were given to the UN from different countries. We learned about the different sections of the UN and how they worked. We also saw an Exhibit about land mines and nuclear bombs, in this we saw pictures of victims of land mines as well as nuclear bombs and what they did to their surroundings. The tour guide told us that almost all of the countries that were part of the UN had signed for the banning of land mines. During the tour we had a discussion about the human rights. We were asked the questions, “which is better, civil and political or economic and social rights?” and “Can one exist with out the other?” Those two questions were something that we investigated through out the whole program. We talked to a representative about that Israel Palestine situation. We talked about what started the whole thing and the two different sides to the story. I thought that this was very interesting because Most of the time you only hear from one side.

At the Tolerance Center, we first watched a short clip and talked about the meaning of tolerance. We then went on to look at different ads that were either racist or prejudice. We discussed them and the meaning behind them as well as the stereotype that it portrayed. Another thing that we discussed was the question, “should hate speech be protected by free speech?” We then went on to participate in two simulations. In the first one we are shown a clip in witch the racist and hateful words of a popular radio host cause a man to go crazy and accidentally shoot an innocent women. We were then told to “interview” the people we wanted to here from. We could interview the Radio host, who’s the Man who shot the gun and witnesses. At the end we were to formulate an opinion on whose fault it was and we took part in a poll. The second simulation we took part of showed us different terms and situations in which we needed to respond to and say what we would do. We then went on to watch a video about events that were happening around the world. This video was very graphic and definitely had me thinking about the different things that I could do to help.

We also visited the WHO (world health organization). It was very interesting because I had never heard of that organization before. They told us that they provide leadership on health issues, set norms and standards, and make sure all policies are ethical. One of the major topics that WHO is working are NCD's which are non contagious deceases such as diabetes, cancer and mental illness.

At UNICEF we learned that it was founded in 1946 made to uphold the laws of the 7 rights charter which was created in 1923 by the league of nations for children. We discussed some of the projects they were working on at the moment. We learned that UNICEF does many things such as provides the proper materials to educate child refuges, helps ex child soldiers and they are even working to stop child trafficking and labor. We also discussed what each of the rights from the 7 rights charter entailed.

At UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization), we learned about the organization’s background and when it was founded (1945). We also talked about the different sectors within UNESCO. The different sectors are:

  • Educational sector: Assists countries in forming educational policies.

  • Natural science sector: Promotes national science programs in countries.

  • Culture sector: Promotes cultural diversity in countries.

  • Communications sector: Promotes access to information, encourages freedom of press and trains journalists.

  • Social sciences sector: Encourages dialogue, creates networks of scientists and policy makers.

We were encouraged to contribute to UNESCO’s initiatives.

We visited a Buddhist temple and a synagogue. We went to a church which was very big and had many facilities such as an educational facility for adults and a facility for mental illness and counseling. The church also had a soup kitchen. So for lunch we ate what the soup kitchen had served that day. We also went to a Buddhist temple. We discussed the different types of Buddhism and I learned that this temple practiced Zen Buddhism which is Japanese. We looked at all the different tools that they use in ceremonies. At the synagogue we went through a step by step simulation on what people do to get prepared for the Sabbath in the Jewish religion. We saw a mini replica of a torah and some of the different objects that they use on a day to day basis in services. We explored the different levels of the temple and also talked about the history. That night I compared all of the new information I had learned about these three religions.

One day we went on a double decker tour bus. We first went on the uptown loop which goes all the way up to Harlem and then back down to the tip of central park. We learned many things about the city. We then went on to a very nice Korean restaurant to discuss what we had learned. We also played an educational board game. We went a full circle by going on the downtown loop afterwards.

We also went to the U.N Youth Assembly. The “theme” of the Y.A this year was the MDGs. We sat and listened to advocates talk about the MDGs and what the youth could do to help out. We would then go eat lunch and talk about the different topics that were brought up in the Y.A that day. At the Y.A there were many guest speakers such as, Gillian Sorenson, (an MDG advocate), Jason Rzepka (MTV), Donald Lee (advocate), Kate Spotz (Row For Water) and heads of companies such as Terra-cycle (A fertilizing and recycling company) as well. As well as discussing the MDGs and what we could do to help, we also went to workshops everyday after lunch to see the work people have already done towards the MDGs. We saw a group of people that were involved with getting celebrities involved. We also saw people that worked to get kids to promote the MDGs at there school. I learned a lot from all the speakers and workshops. It was really inspiring to see that although the MDGs aren't doing so well people are still trying there hardest to work towards them.

The Manhattan Multicultural Youth Program was very educational and helped me learn about leadership, tolerance and the MDGs. I gained a better understanding of the U.N and the different organizations around it. I made great friends and had an amazing time. All together it has been a great experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone over the age of 14.



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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights