First Selectman Gordon Joseloff proclaimed today as United Nations Day in Westport at a ceremony Friday to recognize the organization's work since it was formed 65 years ago.
"Westport, as you may or may not know, is one of the strongest supporters of the UN and has been for many years," Joseloff said at the ceremony. "There is no more an important time for the United Nations than now, as we see around the world with the relief in Haiti."
Joining Joseloff was Bill Hass, president of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut, which organized the event; Westport resident Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, third secretary-general of the UN; Model UN students from Staples and Trumbull high schools; and the Trumbull High Chamber Singers Choir.
With 116,000 peacekeepers in 17 operations on four continents, the UN provides vaccinations to 40 percent of the world's children, feeds 108 million people in 74 countries and assists more than 34 million refugees, Hass said. By 2015, the UN, an organization made up of 192 countries, hopes to eliminate world poverty.
During the ceremony, Model UN students from Staples and Trumbull high schools explained what the UN means to them.
"The United Nations was put in place mainly as a way to maintain ideals," said Model UN Co-president Sarah Hyman from Staples. "With the formation of the United Nations, we have broken down barriers between countries and have facilitated global communication."
In closing the ceremony, Thant called upon the crowd to help move the world in a positive direction.
"I would like to ask you to be an instrument for change, speak out, learn and build your knowledge," Thant said. "Let the world hear your voice. It is for everyone, young and old, to get involved in the activities of the United Nations."
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