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Coming Together in Peace, Love, Unity, and Hope- by Cheryll Montero Lanuza

Growing up as a kid it brings me so much joy and excitement everytime we were celebrating United Nations Day at school with my teachers and classmates because it's always full of vibrant colors, festive atmosphere, and a cheerful celebration.


This year marks the 78th year anniversary of United Nations Day in which the main goal is to unite people together and build camaraderie among all of us in peace and love and in bringing hope to continue thriving for world peace. E haere tahi mai ana i runga i te kotahitanga aroha rangimārie me te tūmanako. The main goal of this week's theme is to ensure that we continue the tradition of coming together in peace, love, unity, and hope. United Nations Day aims to protect human rights, promote social and economic development, and provide aid around the world in cases of crisis.

I am very much honored to be able to celebrate United Nations with my schoolmates in AKA Auckland Campus under the caring wings of our program leaders AJ and Rhea and in which the engaging activities were meticulously prepared by Jane and was also spearheaded by the ever-diligent John.

It was a beautiful Wednesday morning and each team from different rooms were busy finalizing in setting up our presentation before we start our activities. Everyone was wearing either their brightly coloured national costumes, our own country's flag stickers or a dress that represented the colours of our flags. We fervently started our activity with our Karakia followed by New Zealand's national anthem and a heartfelt waiata. Most of the students just got back from their school break and this is great transition for them to start their week strong.


Our class was divided into 7 groups including the traffic enforcers which are usually the main activity facilitators to maintain the order and proper flow of the students especially after each game.


The first game was named Emoji Charade where students were divided into 3 groups. The students enjoyed the game as it exhibited their classmates' different comical facial expressions. The first player will be given the emoji, and he/she will imitate the emoji using facial expressions. When the time starts, the player will relay the emoji expression to the next player until it reaches the last prayer then last player will choose at the emojis flashed on the projector.

Next game is called Word Connect which requires agility to come up with answers and making sure the spelling is correct and was written legibly to get a point. Each group will form a straight line facing the whiteboard. The facilitator will provide a category and will write a word related to the category. The last letter of the first word should always be the first letter of the next word.


Another exciting physical game for the students is what we call Beer pong where the students were divided into 3 groups. Each of the group representatives was then asked to stand around 2 meters away from the cups and were provided with 4 Ping-Pong balls each. The players have to shoot the balls into the cup and whoever shoots first will have the chance to answer the United Nations themed questions flashed on the projector. The second group who was able to shoot a Ping-Pong ball in a cup will have the chance to steal if the first team was not able to answer the question right.



The next game by far, which we called Number Game became one of the crowd favorites because we can hear the highly competitive students swiftly answer Math questions which requires a mental arithmetic skill. The class was divided into 4 groups. Each group will be seated where each member will have a designated number. Mathematical problems will be shown on the projector and the group will need to answer as fast as they can by standing and holding the number corresponding to the answer. As soon as the answer is formed, the team should then shout their group's chosen country name. The first group to show the correct answer will gain a point.


Another game that stimulated the student's visual imagination is the Flag Game where the class was divided into 3 groups. Each group will have 1 representative who will be sitting in front and guess the flag being shown by the facilitator to the rest of the team. The representative will then ask questions about the flag and the only answer that the rest of the team may say is just either YES, NO or MAYBE. The representative will have 2 chances to guess which flag was assigned. Each correct answer represents a point and may answer as many as they can within 2 minutes.

Last but not the least is our Arts and Crafts session which the students really enjoyed because they were able to express their thoughts subjectively and objectively about real essence of our theme to them and how it impacted them since majority are immigrants working towards their dreams and aspirations in life.

The United Nations Day celebration resonated with the core values of peace, love, unity, and hope. This event united us as a global family, emphasizing the profound beauty in our diversity. In a time marked by divisions, it served as a compelling reminder of our shared humanity and collective responsibility to forge a better future, encouraging us to continue working together for a more inclusive and harmonious world.


Reference:

United Nations.(n.d.) Peace, Dignity, and Equality on a Healthy Planet. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/

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