Grassroots Leaders from Across U.S. Reflect on Visit to the UN

20 February 2019, 8:25 AM
URI young leaders at the UN - January 2019

In January 2019, seven young leaders from across the United States participated in a two-day visit to the United Nations where they attended a symposium co-sponsored by URI and met with officials from the Office of Genocide Prevention, the government of the Philippines, experts on nuclear issues (Jonathan Granoff, John Burroughs and Christian Ciobanu), and Indigenous Elder Phil Lane, Jr.

Participants from across the US and Canada applied to participate in the trip, which is offered annually around the time of World Interfaith Harmony Week and is open to young leaders from Cooperation Circles who celebrated International Day of Peace the year before. 

All 7 participants take to Facebook Live to share their reflections on the trip. Click the play button below to watch!

Follow the links below to read reflections from each participant and keep scrolling to see a slideshow from the trip.

  • Caitlin Ferrell, Rothko Chapel: "I feel a renewed sense of confidence and validation in the work that we do at the Chapel. Looking forward to all of the amazing programs and opportunities we have planned, I know in my heart that we provide a unique and truly significant space and create lasting impact on those who experience it."
  • Emerald Stanton, Camp Anytown: "Yes, the United Nations reaches the world and helps with global conflict, but would conflict be around if we were able to reach communities on individual levels to spread compassion and understanding?"
  • Gabrielle Henry, University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel: "If I could emphasize one point from my UN experience, it would be that opportunities such as this are vital in including a more diverse range of people in the interfaith movement. Without financial barriers being lowered, I would never have discovered my true passion for interfaith work, and its potential as a future career path."
  • Maliha Sheikh, Interfaith Cafe: "Hope without reality is mere illusion, but reality without any hope is a dark place.  Being at the United Nations, I felt like it was the place between reality and hope."
  • Laila Galarsa, Camp Anytown: "I came to the United Nations in New York in the search of how to teach advocacy. I have become so vocal in defense of others that I lost sense of how I was granted such courage and how to pass down the strength of words."
  • Patrick Horn, Unity-and-Diversity World Council: "Now in 2019, a time of trials and many troubles, I am thankful for the strategic vision, long patience, and perseverance of supportive allies. This is a most unique moment in human history, and the group of URI youth representatives that I joined at the UN give tangible hope for a just, peaceful, and sustainable world."
URI leaders in the General Assembly room at the UN.

URI leaders in the General Assembly room at the UN. 

URI leaders meet with Simona Cruciani from the UN Office of Genocide prevention.

URI leaders meet with Simona Cruciani from the UN Office of Genocide prevention.

URI leaders meet with Simona Cruciani from the UN Office of Genocide prevention

URI leaders meet with Simona Cruciani from the UN Office of Genocide prevention.

URI group meets with Jonathan Granoff and John Burrows at the Global Security Institute.

URI group meets with Jonathan Granoff and John Burrows at the Global Security Institute.

URI leaders meet with Philippines Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena.

URI leaders meet with Philippines Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena.

URI leaders with Philippines Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena.

URI leaders with Philippines Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena.

URI group enjoys dinner together at the beginning of their trip.

URI group enjoys dinner together at the beginning of their trip.

Maliha Sheikh, Emerald Staton, Laila Galarsa, Sofia Schersei, Gabi Henry, Caitlin Ferrel and Patrick Horn at the UN.

Maliha Sheikh, Emerald Staton, Laila Galarsa, Sofia Schersei, Gabi Henry, Caitlin Ferrel and Patrick Horn at the UN. 

URI leaders with a mosaic of the Normal Rockwell "Golden Rule" painting at the UN.

URI leaders with a mosaic of the Normal Rockwell "Golden Rule" painting at the UN. 

URI leaders attending the fifth annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs.

URI leaders attending the fifth annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs.

Emerald Stanton and Laila Galarsa with Indigenous Elder Chief Phil Lane, Jr.

Emerald Stanton and Laila Galarsa with Indigenous Elder Chief Phil Lane, Jr. 

Cooperation Circles Involved

Rothko Chapel CC

"The Chapel has two vocations: contemplation and action. It is a place alive with religious ceremonies of all faiths, and where the experience and understanding of all traditions are encouraged and made available."

Unity and Diversity World Council

“Our purpose is to establish and sustain a local-to-global cooperating body of individuals, groups, and networks for the pursuit of peace, justice, and an environmentally sustainable civilization for all races, cultures, and religions based on universal ethical and spiritual values.”

Interfaith Café

"Our purpose is to encourage interfaith dialogue and awareness by uniting people of different faiths in conversation over tea and coffee."