On October 28, 2022, students from the S. Daniel Honors Program at Stern College for Women enjoyed fascinating and informative tours of the United Nations.
Led by international guides from Ecuador, Morocco, Israel, and elsewhere, the students toured different parts of the extensive UN building, even witnessing some sessions in progress. During the tour, the students learned about the UN Security Council; the organization’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was written in 1948; the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were established in 2015; and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF, that helps children worldwide.
The students also learned about the UN’s attempt to encourage disarmament, and the tour guides explained how money currently being used to acquire weapons could help end world poverty. As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s once stated, “The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded.” The students also toured a Holocaust memorial exhibit and saw a beautiful mosaic based upon a painting by Norman Rockwell portraying people from the world’s various religions. The mosaic includes two Jewish men wearing a tallis [prayer shawl] and tefillin [phylacteries], with the words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – which the students noted is similar to Hillel Hazakein’s well-known phrase, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another.”
Towards the end of the tour, the students were given the opportunity to sit in the famous Assembly Hall, and in a powerful farewell, were told by the tour guides that each of them belongs in that room because they need to be involved in helping the world and have that power. The students then visited the information center and the UN gift shop which had interesting products unique to each country – including a havdalah set in the Israel section.
Dr. Cynthia Wachtell, director of the Honors program, organized the event for the students, who all agreed the trip was a great opportunity to learn about foreign affairs and helping others, while spending time with other Stern students.
Many thanks to Maayan Tzur ‘24S for her help with the writing of this article and Gabriella Rahmanfa ’24S for the photo below.