Prior to starting this program, I was either at home, studying, or working. I joined the program because of my interest in other cultures and also to help familiarize myself with what the United Nations was doing. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but within a few days I fell into the rhythm of the program, and became acutely aware of what was going on in the world, and was struck by how many countries the world over were experiencing the same things, like poverty, climate change, HIV/AIDS, and much more. I realized that this wasn’t something I could simply ignore and expect to go away, but that just as you had to be active in times of war, you had to active in the mission of accomplishing peace.

Throughout the duration of this program I learned a lot. Not only just about the United Nations, but also on a cultural level that I would’ve never thought to have explored. I learned about the human rights aspect of the United Nations; that countries argue over human rights. Usually it is civil/political rights vs. economic/social rights. However, the United Nations has realized something quite important, both types of rights co-exist, and both are equally important. You cannot have one without the other. And also, that there cannot be peace without a basic respect for human rights. In addition, over the course of the first week, I also learned about the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, and also about the various organizations that are affiliated with the United Nations, also working towards peace, and an improvement of situations that the world is facing.

Conflict today, between Israel and Palestine, despite popular belief, is nothing new. For years, there has been a growing tension between the two countries, and has escalated to alarming proportions in recent years. Israel doesn’t want the Palestinians occupying the country, whereas the Palestinians want to be able to live in the country without being persecuted and believe it is their right. Consequently, there is increasing conflict between the two nations. It has escalated to the point where a study was conducted on Palestinian children and 7 out of 10 wanted to die for their country. They wanted to be martyrs because that means they will be honored and remembered; to become a martyr is to become a hero.

Organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, and UNESCO are working around the clock to ensure that peace can be established. WHO, or the World Health Organization was established in 1945 and their mission was to provide leadership on health issues, monitor health situations/assess health trends, and advocate/raise awareness on health issues. UNICEF, another organization focuses on children and their rights, and came into existence after the First World War. The main focuses of UNICEF are survival and development (health, education, life skills etc.), child protection (from: physical/psychological harm, neglect, and sexual abuse) and of course, the best interest of the child. Finally, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization also works toward the common good. Promoting education and assisting countries in creating educational policies. UNESCO also promotes the importance of cultural diversity and the need for natural/social sciences.

Lately the MDG’s are becoming increasingly important, by increasing awareness and educating others on these goals, we can change the state of our world. What are these MDG’s, you ask? The millennium development goals are 8 goals that address issues that are becoming more and more prominent in the world today that we can actually do something about. They are: Ending poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, improving child health, maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability, creating a global partnership for development. There are so many things we can do to help promote the MDG’s and see them come to fruition. Simply by telling others, promoting awareness, or holding fundraisers, you can help make a change for the better.

In a country that strives towards peace, we are continually developing the endless channels towards a united world. Through organizations such as: WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, and countless others, every aspect of peace is being addressed. What are the goals, you may ask. What do we hope to achieve so that peace becomes a reality instead of a dream? Well the millennium development goals (also known as the MDG’s) do that quite well. With the set date of 2015, eight goals are being fervently advocated, as well as supported. There are so many things that are going on in our world today that it is hard to keep track of, and certainly quite overwhelming. But it’s not just the United Nations that can make a difference; by exploring different cultures, becoming aware of global/cultural issues, and practicing tolerance, you too can make a difference. And no matter how small, that change will help shape the world for a better, more peaceful future. I am glad I learned a valuable lesson for my life this summer.



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

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights