By Special to the Daily World
Responding to the shortage of affordable educational activities for Atlanta public school children during spring break, The Buckhead/Cascade City Chapter of the Links, Inc. launched its inaugural Model United Nations Spring Break Camp for students attending M. Agnes Jones Elementary School located near Morehouse College in Atlanta. Chartered in 1995, this Links chapter has partnered for more than a decade with the school to broaden the students’ global awareness and help foster their identification with children all over world.
Each day through games, arts and crafts, problem solving and role playing, BCCC Link members, including former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Fox 5 News Anchor Amanda Davis, volunteered side-by-side with the children to expose them to the cultures of Haiti, Japan and South Africa and engage them in researching and creating solutions for the cholera epidemic and earthquake aftermath in Haiti. By the end of the week, the students had learned enough to create table displays adorned with food, pictures, books and artifacts representing the three countries.
To reinforce their learning, special guests were invited to share with the students. Those guests included Mr. Frantz Bourget, chairman of the Haitian Alliance, and his colleague, Mr. Ronald Bertrand. These gentlemen presented a wealth of information, flags and even a Haitian dancer. Judge Keisuke Shibata and his wife shared about life in Japan and taught the students the ancient art of origami.
Ambassador Andrew Young closed out the camp, talking about what it means to be an ambassador and his travels to South Africa and other parts of the world.
Finally, after much work and lots of fun, it was time for the UN Assembly to convene. Bursting with excitement as their country’s national anthem played and their delegation was introduced to the parents, school officials, Links and special guests convened in the school’s Media Center, the student ambassadors proudly led their fellow delegates, dressed in traditional costumes and waving flags, in a parade of nations.
Each country presented its position paper on the topic: “Children Linking Together to Combat Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic. The Japanese delegation shared original artwork, the Haitian delegation danced and the South African delegation performed a play titled “A Time to Protest” written by student playwright, Shawna Feliciano.