Each year since 1976 our partner school, the United Nations International School (UNIS) has hosted their UNIS-UN Conference at the United Nations General Assembly. This year some of our Project Rousseau students were very grateful to receive invites. UNIS students have been an invaluable resource for our students providing weekly tutoring across a range of subjects; this invite highlighted how special this partnership is to both parties.
The 2017 conference centered on the topic “Migration: Crossing the Line” and featured a broad range of speakers including Angy Rivera, an advocate for undocumented immigrants’ rights who was undocumented herself for much of her early life and Selcuk Sirin, J. K. Javits Professor at New York University. Our students attentively listened to all the speakers and by the second day had the confidence to pose some very thought-provoking questions to the speakers. The student-led debates added a fascinating dynamic to the conference: hearing the views of peers from over 25 countries was an enlightening experience for all.
The range of countries represented was without a doubt a highlight for our students. They enjoyed the fantastic opportunity to learn about living in other countries over a shared lunch, in the UN Delegates’ Dining Room no less, with students from places such as Bermuda, Japan and France. We were also delighted to bump into our partner school from Switzerland, Institut Florimont, whose delegation coincidentally included one of our exchange hosts from January!
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the amazing setting for the conference: the UN General Assembly. Seated at the back of the room, in the seats usually occupied by Yemen’s representatives, we had the chance to take in many aspects of the space. Now, our students can comfortably point out where the interpreters sit and the languages they specialize in and had great fun finding where their family’s country would sit.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to UNIS for allowing us to participate in such a special experience and for their continued support.