Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Visiting the United Nations before lunch (Part One: Photo Essay)

We recently connected with the United Nations for a skype session in our classroom, and although our virtual field trip lasted only an hour, what we saw and learned will stay with us much longer. We'd like to share a snippet of our morning with you through photos. More information on globalizing your classroom can be found here. 

A view of the flags from each country, outside the UN building. Yes, they are arranged
alphabetically! And did you know that the building is on INTERNATIONAL TERRITORY? 
It even has its own post office, fire dept, and security. 
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in action. 
The walls of the UN are adorned with photos of UN Peacekeepers
(blue helmets!) doing their work worldwide. 
One of the 30 articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. 
It is the MOST TRANSLATED DOCUMENTin the world, in over 
300 languages! (The bible is the most translated BOOK.)
A view of the General Assembly hall; those windows on the side
are rooms where the interpreters sit as they work. 
The UN building is like a museum with artifacts from around the
world like these landmines, photos, and gifts from other countries.   
The Golden Rule mosaic by Norman Rockwell,
created from 20,000 pieces of tile. 
A statue from Nagasaki--hard to see in this photo, but
it had fallen during the atomic bombing. The back of it
is blackened and disfigured beyond recognition, while the front
bears scars from objects hitting it and the aftermath.  
The front of the Nagasaki statue, found lying face down after
the atomic bombing. 
General Assembly room where they discuss global issues, terrorism,
atomic weapons, etc. Solutions are not legally binding, and are
considered recommendations. Each member is allotted 6 chairs.
During our virtual tour, they had just voted 191-2-0 to lift the embargo
on Cuba--we knew before the news media did!
One of our guides. This is Jackie, from Malaysia. Totally missed his
calling as a comedian--he definitely loves his job!
The School in a Box! Supplies, foodstuffs, a radio, and basic necessities
for up to 80 students. It also includes chalk board paint to
make any wall a chalkboard. 
So much thought goes into these--Jackie is holding up paper
without margins. This honors different styles of writing; those
who start from the right side of the paper or the left will find
it equally useful. 
Although the role of the United Nations can be controversial, students today learned that the primary mission is to achieve peace. Students today witnessed glimpses of the UN discussing Cuba and Syria, learned about the peacekeepers, negotiation, sanctions, and military actions. They learned about the permanent members and the EcoSoc which develops ideas to address poverty within its 8 Millennium Development Goals. They came to realize that poverty is a HUGE reason why we still have so much conflict, and that disarmament is one of the largest problems we face. 

As for the UN mission, Dag Hammerskjold said it best:
"The United Nations was not created to take us to heaven, but to keep us from hell.

For part two of this post, please click here. 
What are some successes with virtual tours that you have had? Please share in the comments below!

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