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UPF Joins Student Day of Peace Observance at the UN

New York, NY - UPF brought a delegation of 25 students from high schools and universities in the New York City area to join hundreds of students assembled from around the world at the United Nations and via telecast in observance of the International Day of Peace on September 18.

After the ringing of the Peace Bell in the UN Garden, both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, president of the 64th General Assembly, personally greeted the over 800 high school and junior high school students with their chaperones and college-aged students in Conference Room 4 as the Student Observance of the International Day of Peace began.

Under the theme of “Disarm Now for a Better World,” the youth delegation sat through several presentations from representatives from the Office for Disarmament Affairs. A panel of students who were engaged in the disarmament issue through organizations such as Amnesty International gave insights to eager minds about their own involvement in the peace-building process.

The highlight of the event was the live satellite broadcasts from the UN Peacekeeping sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sudan. Students from Liberia gave an especially powerful description of the horrors caused by the proliferation of arms. At the end of the event, students waved flags of member states and filled the room with shouts of “May peace prevail on earth!”

Born and raised in the United States, the majority of students in the UPF delegation talked about the impact of interacting among members our global community via satellite. “It seems to me that people in America live in a bubble…. Interacting with  students from Liberia, Sudan, and the Congo allowed me to better grasp the reality of the situation children face in underdeveloped countries,” wrote a student from Irvington High School in suburban New York.

Student responses were mixed regarding the tangible relevance of the observance, however. Many expressed a shift in personal attitude towards a deeper sense of connectivity within the global human family. Others noted that raising awareness and educating people about world crises is an important step forward.

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