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United Nations Celebrates 48 Years Of Visiting Westport

The flags along the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge have been changed to represent all the member states of the UN. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Westport First Selectmen Gordon Joseloff greeted UN Legal Council Patricia O'Brien after her speech for jUNe day. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

WESTPORT, Conn. - Representatives from 37 countries around the world from Rwanda to Italy were welcomed to Westport's Saugatuck Elementary School on Saturday for the 48th Annual jUNe Day.

Once a year United Nations staffers, ambassadors and their families are invited to spend a day outside New York City and enjoy a wide range of activities offered in Westport.

"jUNe Day is important as it commemorates the signing of the United Nations charter on June the 26 1945," United Nations Legal Counsel Patricia O'Brien said at the start of her keynote speech.

The nearly 300 people who arrived to take part in the days festivities were offered the opportunity to visit Earthplace, take a historic tour of downtown Westport, drop by the Wakeman Town Farm, sun at the beach at Compo and play golf at Longshore.

Included in the activities is a yearly grudge match between the Westport Knights and the UN soccer team.

"It's a wonderful program, we allow people from the United Nations community to get out of New York and experience a community near New York but far out in the country," said Willard Hass, president for the United Nations Association of Southwest Connecticut Chapter and the International Visitors Committee.

First organized by Ruth Steinkraus Cohen in 1965, the day has grown into a UN tradition, with many families coming year after year. Michaela MacColl, jUNe Day chair, said one family has been coming since before their 18-year-old son was born.

Hass said he discovered Westport because of the jUNe Day events while he worked at the UN. "I was living in Westchester at the time, and when I got married I moved out here."

The day is also about celebrating everything that those who work for the UN do for the world. O'Brien thanked those people who turned out for the event for all the work they do.

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