When I was about ten years old, my parents took me and my sister to the United Nations in New York. Big flags of bright colors and insignia danced nobly in the light breeze and a group of Chinese acrobats performed drastic stunts in the courtyard, and I still remember the jolt of excitement my ten year old self felt, though I didn’t understand why.
I remember my mother explaining to me that we were no longer in the USA even though we were in New York, we were actually in an area that belonged to all the nations of the world, even the ones outside America.
This blew my mind. All I had ever known of the world was America, and I never thought that I would be able to go any where else, and suddenly I am in the center of the world, like a real-life Disneyland. Then we went on a tour! Most of it is a blur now, but I remember realizing for the first time that other languages are actually used and real people make a difference in the world.
This adolescent realization changed the way I thought about life–it opened up my mind to start thinking “What if I could make a difference in the nations?” Shortly after, I decided that I would be the one to bring peace to Israel and Palestine, and I would do it while I was still ten.
And now I am here, in Switzerland, and I really believe that this eye-opening experience I had in the beginning stages of my life helped me get the motivation to come here and push myself out of my comfort zone and see the world.
I was lucky to get an official tour of the United Nations in Geneva today, which has a richer history that the one in New York. This UN housed the League of Nations when it was still around and most of the building materials were gifts from Spain (and one of my friends made a joke that Spain shouldn’t have given so many gifts, because now they can’t pay for anything).
Some say that the United Nations is useless, but I believe that it is necessary to have a safe place for all nations to talk to each other, because talking makes more progress than war. Even if in the end there is no conclusion, talking in a formal conference makes people listen, and you stop being a nationality and start being human.