Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Magazine article UN Chronicle

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Article excerpt

When I was a fellowship student in France, my greatest pleasure was Wednesday evenings when the Faculte des Lettres turned out its lights and became a cine club. From the projector's magic lantern came images from filmmakers like Truffaut, Fellini, Bergman, Man Ray and Kurosawa, and I was transposed to worlds far beyond my imagination. For the first time, my mind opened to foreign cultures, which stimulated me to learn beyond my limits.

Upon returning to the United States, I promised myself that I would one day try to recreate the same experience for other students. What better classroom could there be than the United Nations, where "the world" is part of its daily activities and what better theater than the Dag Hammarskjold Library (DHL) auditorium at UN Headquarters? And what better medium is there than film to teach young people about world events and human feelings?

As Director of Professional English for the Hospitality Committee at the United Nations, I started to explore whether my dream of introducing foreign countries to American students by using film as a medium could be turned into reality. The path was daunting, but I refused to allow it to be insurmountable. First, I had to check out the DHL auditorium, which was in the process of being upgraded technically. I joined their fund-raising campaign and helped the President of the Film Society secure contributions for modernizing the theater and acquiring lenses for a 35-mm projector.

The next piece of the puzzle was to ensure the cooperation of the New York City Board of Education and the participation of the high schools in the programme; Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and others all pledged their support. I was making progress. Next and most crucial was receiving approval from the United Nations. The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) supports community outreach and each month opens its doors to 175 students from the City's public high schools. The United Nations guides tailor-made their tours so that each student could understand the goals of peace and freedom for all people.

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In these difficult times, the UN message of non-violence and universal understanding offers hope to our students for a better world. So eager to learn and so avid for explanation, they are our future leaders. …

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