We can give that a try

They arrived from Boston at around 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning and by 9:30 a.m, they made it to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

100_1428 Five students, two faculty members, and an assistant from the Program for International and Civic Leadership (PICL) at Maryville College in Maryville, TN are on an East Coast Tour. Located within the Social Sciences division, PICL is a new program for students interested in service careers in a wide variety of areas from human rights to environmental sustainability.

They traveled to make connections with graduate school programs, government agencies, and NGOs whose missions align with that of ours. The trip began in Boston; after visiting New York City, they will head to Washington.

Their visit began with introductions. They then went across the street to tour the United Nations building. The tour received rave reviews; tour guides at the United Nations come from countries around the world – Uzbekistan is the home of their guide.

After the tour, the group returned to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for lunch and a great conversation. We talked about the work of the ministry – equipping Presbyterians to live as disciples in the global neighborhood and advocating for peace and justice in the UN community, guided by General Assembly policy.

We talked of red hands to end the exploitation of children as soldiers, the Tap Project, the Commission on the Status of Women, World Interfaith Harmony Week and more. They told of Maryville's Model UN program.

We pondered ways that we might partner together – a class on the UN might spend a couple of days in New York before going on to Geneva, seminars could be held for classes or participants in the PICL program, connections made with NGOs at the UN or with other staff members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), email conversations for students working on theses, video conferences and the use of Skype. The group also had the opportunity to meet our partner Joe Donnelly of Caritas Internationalis.

Our time together closed with viewing the video clips of the January 7 prayer service with the people of Sudan. One of the students is from South Sudan – he voted in Nashville.

Hopefully the Maryville group gained as many ideas for future possibilities as I did. As we considered some of the ideas that we discussed, I found myself returning to an oft-used phrase, but with a twist … "I am new," I said. "We can sure give that a try."

The picture is by Ricky Velez-Negron.

Contact the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations to arrange a visit or seminar for your group.

Support the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

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