Before attending MMSY Program, I had already participated in several events this summer. I was in a production of Curtains at Broadway Workshop’s Children’s Musical Theater Festival program, New York Live Arts Center. In addition, I volunteered at the McCarton School, a school for autistic children in elementary through high school.
I have a large range of interests so my goal for this summer was to combine all of them and do a variety of programs.
In addition, before starting MMSY, Director told me about the United Nations’ campaign for International Youth Day this year: “Mental Health Matters.” I decided to submit a video to the campaign. The whole goal behind the campaign is to eliminate this stigma that our modern society has towards individuals who have mental health conditions. Oftentimes, teenagers feel that their feelings are not justified, or that they’re not normal for feeling conflicted. But the reality is that so many kids experience a form of anxiety and stress during their adolescence; we can all relate and help one another remain strong. I also was honored to be selected to speak at the Youth Assembly about my video project.
What drew me to apply for the MMSY Program was that I love public speaking, history, and learning about new cultures. From its description, I thought that the MMSY Program would enable me to learn more about these topics. I had always had an interest in the United Nations. In history classes in high school, you are primarily learning about conflicts, wars, and governments. And since the United Nations is not a government, it was rarely ever mentioned. I really didn’t know much about the United Nations, except for the fact that it served as a sort of “mediator” for 193 countries. To me, that was pretty embarrassing that I knew so little about an organization that had one of its headquarters in my home city.
I have learned a variety of lessons by attending MMSY Program. I would say most significantly, I learned that we should celebrate our cultural similarities along with our differences. Although it is important to be proud of our cultures and proud of what makes us different from others, oftentimes we forget that our similarities are just as important. When we walk into a room, immediately we have preconceived notions about the people around us based on how different they seem from us, but we are unaware of how similar another individual’s culture is to our own. Therefore I learned from MMSY Program that it is important to approach any situation with an open mind and to ask questions rather than make assumptions.
I learned that it is important to develop an understanding of other cultures for so many different reasons. Specifically, if one is interested in a career in politics or if an individual wants to work at the United Nations, one needs to be able to relate to people and fully understand their conflicts and their opinions, and the way to do this is to learn about their cultural background, and where their ideas originated. When trying to combat any form of discrimination, it is necessary to understand both sides of the situation of the groups of peoples who are in conflict with one another. Being educated about other cultures is important not only for people pursuing career paths in these designated areas, but also it is relevant for everyone.
Education is key to establishing the United Nations’ ultimate goal of global peace, which is why so many organizations of the UN focus heavily on education. If everyone were educated about cultures other than their own, they would be much less likely to discriminate against people belonging to different cultures.
So in terms of how I will apply what I have learned from MMSYP to my life, I will continue to focus on the similarities I have with others rather than our differences. This can be rather difficult considering the fact that as humans, our brains organize ideas and people by grouping them, emphasizing the differences between groups. But throughout my life I will strive to find what is similar in other cultures to mine. And most importantly, I will educate others to be open-minded and accepting individuals.
ALL human beings are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights. -Universal Declaration of Human Rights
ALL human beings are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights.
-Universal Declaration of Human Rights