The SGAP Leaders Global Experience and United Nations Tour was a phenomenal opportunity. It exposed me to the intricacies of the United Nations (UN) and the functions of each organ within the headquarters. I also had the pleasure of learning the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and how they are planned to be accomplished.
The collective activity with other high school students was a great space to experience a diverse array of opinions. It was an introduction to an ongoing discussion about gun control and reform and its relation to mass shootings. We were able to compose possible solutions related to the problem and how we can continue to act upon them, even without being of age to vote. With such resources at hand, we are now able to continue the conversation at our high schools, encouraging our peers to get involved in the March for Our Lives movement I was most fascinated by the guided tour through the facility. As our multilingual tour guide led us through every organ of the United Nations, I learned about the functions, architecture and history of each part. The symbolic messages of the artwork truly displayed how the UN works to unite many nations, with art donated by countries such as France, Cuba and Brazil. I was also intrigued by the roles and missions of the United Nations Peacekeepers and how they sacrifice their lives to better assist those in crisis.
As I walked past the huge golden sphere and exited the United Nations, I came to a decision. As a person of diverse heritage who has lived abroad, I decided it would be incumbent upon me to pursue a major in International Studies when I am accepted into college. Being at the UN and having the chance to see how global citizens contribute to the success of our planet, helped me to see the importance for a young person, like myself, to be involved not only locally, but globally, as a citizen of the world.
(Zula O is now a board member and junior in college studying International Studies/Politics)