Weston Today photos
The flag of the United Nations was raised at Town Hall on Monday in commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the organization’s founding. The event was sponsored by the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut.
Brendan Paul, treasurer of the Weston High School Model UN Club, raised the flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance. WesTones, the high school’s a capella group, sang the national anthem and later performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
First Selectwoman Samantha Nestor spoke about the new tradition in Weston of celebrating the UN anniversary. Model UN Club Under Secretary General Gab Escandon read a message from UN Secretary General António Guterres, and Robbie Kohn, the Model UN Club’s Secretary General, spoke about “What the UN Means to Me.” His remarks are reproduced below.
Actor and activist James Naughton spoke on the topic of “Why the UN Matters,” and Weston School Superintendent Lisa Barbiero spoke about how the high school’s Model UN Club came into being.
In concluding remarks, UNASWCT Education Chair Marjorie Nieuwenhuis presented a bouquet to Renate Roehl, the Model UN Club’s faculty advisor.
Remarks by Robbie Kohn
Hello everyone, I am Robbie Kohn, a senior at Weston High School, a captain of the football team, grade representative of St. Baldricks, leader of Model United Nations, and above all else, a man who wishes to see the world’s state improve greatly.
First and foremost, I’d like acknowledge the coordinator of this wonderful event, Mrs. Nieuwenhuis. I’d also like to thank Superintendent Barbiero, Principal Ward, and our First Selectwoman Nestor for coming out to this event, to you what is a small amount of time in coming out here means the world and more to us.
The United Nations is what holds the peace of the world, and having the ability to hold mock peace talks within our classroom is a blessing. Informing more of our generation the way in which these conferences work is important so they can spread further information to those around them.
This cycle of learning is similar to the very cycle of care of the problems presented in the UN. People recognize problems, act on them, spread the word that enabling a problem will result in negative outcomes, and it leads to prevention. A problem in recent history has been the crisis in Ukraine and the positive influence had by the United Nations.
The United Nations has taken steps to help these people suffering in the midst of an illegal war. It is not limited to just Ukraine, it helps the people who are less fortunate and suffering because of terrorism, droughts, and many more natural disasters. Their helmets despite being bright blue are a beacon of hope for the people. The people are being built from the ground up in certain areas because of the UN.
If the UN can help the world further advance itself then a future is guaranteed for our children and even their children’s children. The improvement of renewable energy and investment in the world to help restrict those who abuse non-renewable sources has reduced the pressure on the ozone layer and can only be better.
On the other hand, a world without the United Nations’ cooperation is a world in disarray. We would devolve right into the 20th century again without this body of nations working together for a common good because of the peace the UN maintains. This darkness of war is something any veteran will tell you is something they never wish to have America experience again. So for our sakes, and those who will come after us, let us try and prevent blood from being spilt on our soils.
These values progressed in the broad scheme of the world are not lost on us in Weston. Kids in Model UN get an experience like no other which helps them everywhere in life. You speak in public with a goal of reaching a common goal even though you are just one head in a room of 300. You work in the back rooms with a group of maybe 20 people to reach your individual goals while writing a resolution paper to work for the greater good of people.
And on top of all that, you learn important lessons about writing and also how to conduct yourself based on these principles held in committee.
If all people — global leaders all the way down to high schoolers and even middle schoolers — approached the sustainability goals as a personal goal and chose to preserve their peace while fighting for others, the world would be a better place. It’s unclear if we’d be a utopia but one thing is for sure. It takes one good thing to get another one started, so why not do that extra thing to help another person? Protect their peace and be at peace with yourself.