“The first thing that caught my eye was the wall with lists upon lists of human rights plastered on it.” Last week, students from EF Academy’s 9th and 10th grade Global Perspectives courses spent a day touring the halls of the United Nations in New York City where such dignitaries including President Obama, Malala, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon. The trip occurred as a part of their study of international relations and history. The tour included a visit to the Hall of Flags, the chamber where the delegations from all 193 member nations meet, and the Security Council meeting room. For many students, it was their first time visiting the United Nations and they were impressed to see the work of an international body of government.
Going to the United Nations was a great experience for the class. They learned the most important facts about the UN including the peace talks that happen there. They saw the principal rooms where the most important politicians meet and discuss world affairs. Most of these rooms have art donated by one of the countries that is a part of the UN. For example, they were able to view a mosaic donated by Norway. They also viewed the main table in the Security Council room which was also donated by Norway.
Following the tour, the group heard a speech from a member of the United Nations from India. He explained the main functions of the UN around the world. He also spoke about how the UN contributes to solutions on a world wide scale in political, religious, social and economic problems. One student remarked, “I found it amazing how all 193 countries gather together to discuss world matters. One thing that really caught my attention was the board that counted how much money was spent on a daily basis on weapons. The tour guide said the money spent on weapons could feed every child in the world. I found that very impacting because some countries only care about weapons instead of disarming and creating peace.”
There were many lessons learned from the trip to help support study in the classroom. Students reflected:
“The trip was really interesting and cool. It helped me to learn more about war in peace.”
“The General Assembly was the most important part of the day. It is a chamber where the most important people in the entire world gather together to find a solution to many conflicts.”
“The tour was very interesting because we are an international school from many different countries around the world. We loved seeing the Hall of Flags and learning about how all of our countries interact together, like we all interact together at school.”
The United Nations experience was led by IGCSE History and Global Perspectives Teacher Alexandra Levitt.