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September 24, 1993 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-24

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he flags are all flying
at exactly the same
height. Because there's
a breeze, they are flap-
ping gently - all 181 of them
- and they are a colorful
sight on a sunny day.
These many flags are much
more than a striking sight.
Arranged alphabetically by
country, from Afghanistan to
Zimbabwe, they also are an
appropriate symbol. Repre-
senting the member nations,
they fly directly in front of the
United Nations headquarters
in New York City.
Inside the complex of
buildings situated on 16 acres
of parkland bordering First
Avenue and the East River,
representatives from 181
countries meet and try to pro-
mote peace among the na-
tions of the world.
It is also here that tourists
from around the world come.
More than 30 million visitors
have visited the United Na-
tions. They come not only
because what happens here
affects the wide world of na-
tions, but also because the
United Nations offers a
wealth of exhibits and
displays as well as guided
tours in 20 languages - in-
cluding Hebrew - to help
visitors understand the work-
ings of this complex
organization.
That's why, on a recent visit
to New York, my mother and
I made the United Nations
focus of our two-day trip. It
proved to be a fascinating, in-
ternational experience.
The international flavor
was evident even when we
checked into our hotel. At the
U.N. Plaza-Park Hyatt at One
United Nations Plaza, we saw
many foreign guests in the

lobby, some dressed in native
garb. The staff, too, was
international.
Soon after check in, we
crossed First Avenue and
headed toward the gate where
all those flags were flying and
to the sleek rectangular
structure that is the General
Assembly building.
The outdoor plaza was
crowded with a mix of people:
Indian women in saris,
Chinese families, African-
American students in tour
groups; people speaking
many languages.

Entering the building, we
waited in line to have our
pocketbooks and bags check-
ed by the U.N. security force.
Then we were ready to sign
up for the next English-
speaking tour. During the 10
minutes before our tour,
people assembled for tours in
Spanish, Russian and
Hebrew.

Then we were introduced to
our guide, Annette Hanson
from Denmark, who first gave
us a brief explanation of the
history and structure of the
United Nations, which was
chartered in 1945. She told us
of its main units, the General
Assembly, Security Council,
Economic and Social Council,
Trusteeship Council, Secre-
tariat, and International
Court of Justice. For the next
45 minutes, she gave us a
fast-paced and informative
tour of the premises.
Before we left the lobby, she
pointed out one exhibit that
showed the effects of the
atomic bomb on artifacts, in-
cluding the Dome of Hiro-
shima, which was somehow
preserved despite bombing. In
the garden outside, she

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