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Berkshire Youths Visit United Nations on International Day of Peace

A select group of Berkshire youths are attending ceremonies at the United Nations today for the fifteenth observance of the International Day of Peace. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more…

Today, the Railroad Street Youth Project and other student groups across the country are attending observations at the United Nations to commemorate the International Day of Peace. Today hundreds of youths from the Northeast, Washington DC, Mexico, and Canada will participate in ceremonies themed under “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”, focusing on how natural resources, including clean water, minerals, oil and timber, can finance and influence armed conflict.

Michael Johnson, representative for Pathways to Peace at the United Nations, collaborated with the Railraod Street Youth Project to bring the group to this year’s events. Johnson said that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace.

Paul McNeil, program director for the Railroad Street Youth Project said that his organization first became involved with the United Nations about five years ago. Classified as a non-government organization, or NGO, the group has access to weekly UN briefings during the general assembly schedule during the fall, winter, and spring.  

Today, the group of students attending the observance are being addressed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, as well as UN peace messengers including Michael Douglas, Elie Weisel, and Dr. Jane Goodall. Students will also be asked to brainstorm and suggest peace projects to inaugurate in their communities.

Last year, Paul McNeil said that two members of the Railroad Street Youth Project were selected to represent Southern Berkshire County as youth delegates. Out of the experience, McNeil said the youth were instrumental in organizing peace events in the Berkshires.

The group will also use its NGO status to help involve students from local schools in learning about international relations via their access to the UN briefings.

In addition to the events being held today with participation from young people from around the world, an international minute of silence in over 5,000 cities is being held with the support from the Mayor of Montreal.


A webcast of the events at the UN can be found here:


Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.