Mater Dei Prep Selected to Present Video Project at UN Observance of the International Day of Tolerance
On Friday, November 16th, the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute participated in the International Day for Tolerance at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
The meeting included a panel discussion on tolerance and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and was followed by presentations from “Youtube Creators for Change” from all over the world. Mater Dei Prep students were able to network with other guests at the meeting including members from “Youtube Creators for Change” and United Nations representatives. Students also had the opportunity to hear speeches from Kimberly Mann, United Nations Chief of Educational and Craig Mokhiber, Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The United Nations invited students to create a presentation that will bring to life an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and explain how it can be applied to a specific issue in the world today. The Global Leaders Institute at Mater Dei Prep created a film that was selected to be presented at the conference out of 750 submissions worldwide. The Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute’s film titled “A House Divided” was made in adherence to UDHR Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The students focused on combating hatred in today’s world and the objective was to display the everyday assumptions that divide communities and how we can help the world join together in solidarity.
“It was a true honor and a great learning experience making the film “A House Divided”. The message that we created as a team truly spoke to the world at the United Nations,” said Perry Merse MDP’19, editor and videographer of “A House Divided.”
At the conference, Perry was able to introduce the film in front of the United Nations and spoke briefly about the project. “In today’s political climate it is important people still retain the idea of tolerance. In an era of hatred from both sides, one can feel forced to choose between the two. Instead of choosing hatred we can choose peace. If we are willing to work together peacefully and democratically we can overcome our hatred. It is only through the work and example of great humanitarians such as Dr. Jane Goodall, Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and many others that people can work together and reach their goals of finding solutions to the world’s problems. This film tells us that we have a lot to learn and teach the world.”
The film featured powerful photos of the students acting as people trying to spread peace by standing up for those who were victims of hate. The victims had tape over their mouths with words like “religious” or “outspoken” and several others. The peace makers then ripped these labels off the victims and held up signs together that read “Don’t let others silence you because of who they think you are.”
“We made this video to share the message of what happens when you label people. When we label people we silence them. We need to understand them and learn from each other,” said Karen Nortz MDP ’20, co-director of “A House Divided.”
“Seeing our video in the classroom and again at the United Nations was an amazing experience. It inspired me because it demonstrated that doing something in a very small environment can truly have an impact on the world. I am extremely thankful for this experience because not many people have this opportunity,” said Ishan Sharma MDP’19.
“The students in this program have the tools to create positive change. For example, we have social media and Youtube which some people use for hate, but we can also use it for healing. The students were able to use this tool to push forward the message of hope,” said George Anthony, Head of the Global Leaders Institute.