We’re going to the United Nations. While it’s common to find our students taking advantage of all this city has to offer, a UN invitation last Thursday was something special. The excitement was palpable as students and faculty, dressed to the nines for the formal occasion, broke off into their advisory groups to depart to the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan that hosts the United Nations sprawling headquarters.
October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and this year marked 30 years that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty laying out the basic human rights for children regardless of race, religion, and gender, was adopted. The trip was orchestrated by Spanish and Global Dynamics teacher Armand Bolourian who used his past nonprofit work and connection to ATD Fourth World, a nonprofit working to eliminate poverty and increase access to basic human rights, to secure invitations for both The Winchendon School Brooklyn and Model UN advisors and student leaders from the Massachusetts campus.
Students in his Global Dynamics IV class worked with volunteers from the nonprofit to learn about the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals which range from no poverty to clean water and sanitation. The week of the event GD IV students visited classes to explain the 17 goals and significance of the day.
The Winchendon School Brooklyn joined other schools, youth programs, and NGOs at the UN Headquarters to observe the holiday. It was fitting that the room was filled with so many young faces and voices because the theme this year is “Acting Together to Empower Children, their Families and Communities to End Poverty”.
Students listened to musical performances and speakers from Indonesia, Ireland to Spain and France, donning the iconic earpieces as speeches were translated. The event concluded in the UN gardens at a replica of the commemorative stone. The stone is a replica of the original stone that is in Paris and was commemorated in 1987 where hundreds of thousands of people gathered to adopt the resolution to eradicate extreme forms of poverty, hunger, and violence. The declaration was read by school children in Chinese, Russia, French, English, Arabic, and Spanish.