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Tuesday
Aug192014

Youth Assembly @ the UN Final Report- By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

The last two weeks of this summer, I was blessed to have the opportunity to see the culmination of all of the work that myself and my fellow FAF interns had been putting in for the past few months. Upon moving into Pace University downtown where I would share the building with 600 international youth delegates as well as the FAF staff, I began one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I was put in charge, specifically, of a group of 20 Chinese delegates and their chaperone. This meant that I was in charge of answering any questions they had, organizing their checking in and out of their lodgings, as well as guiding them via bus and train all around NYC to the different locations in which they needed to attend, like meals or the UN or visits to Missions throughout the city or Columbia University for evening events. I was lucky to have an awesome group of people, and one that were not entirely unfamiliar with English, because otherwise navigating everyone would have been insane. 

During our days we spent six hours inside the walls of the UN in various conference rooms, listening to Ambassadors and Youth Envoys and musicians and olympic leaders and youth leaders from all over. Generally, their speeches had very common goals. They were speaking about their stories as becoming world changers and opening up panels for dialogue among our delegates to speak about their lives and how to move forward. A lot of what was spoken about involved the ever increasing speed of what social media has done to our world's leaders, and a lot of what was said involved how to market oneself in what they were doing, which was interesting to me. To live in a world today where one must not only have passionate drive and leadership capabilites, but you must also be able to make yourself look as good and professional out of what you're doing through visual and social media. To my dissapointment, I found myself wishing that the speakers in attendance spoke less and interacted more. I could feel all 600 delegates become sleepy and less enthusiastic as the hours went on, as anyone would be when you're sitting down and listening to someone speak for hours on end. I think it would have been really helpful if there had been fewer large lectures and more small workshop based discussions. 

In terms of our evening events that I was running, our Opening Gala was a huge success. We had a few performers come but the ones that mainly stuck out in my head were The Vanaver Caravan, the company I've danced with from home who commuted to the city for our show and KCP Kids Creating Peace, an organization of women and a few teenagers from all different parts of Israel and Palestine working together to stop the fighting that is going on over there. Between boths groups, everyone's attention was held the entire time and toward the end they were led in group dancing.

Our next eveing was Culture Night. Half an hour before our second evening event began, I was informed that being Artistic Director meant also being the MC and stage manager for the hundreds of international youth delegates in attendance. This was not what I had prepared for and something that almost immediately made me begin to start panicking.

I thus began my night on and behind stage, quite literally making sure everyone was on top of everything, from the sound technicians to the lighting crew to the performers and their chaperones as well as smiling onstage between acts and making sure the audience was unaware. Considering how last mintute everything seemed to be occurring, the program changed every five minutes because of delegates deciding they also wanted to be involved and had a performance to add to the mix, which was encouraged by my bosses even though they were not the ones having to deal with it logistically. I also had to consider making sure the event's food went out on time and my boss looked good and guiding my team of interns who we're constructing a culture banner simultaneously in the back of the auditorium under my direction onstage. Yanyu, our logistics coordinator- worked with me and did what I asked her to do backstage when I wasn't there and while I was onstage. At one moment, I was trying to understand what our next performer, a Chinese delegate, was going to do and I could not figure it out. Yanyu rushed backstage and they quickly conversed in fast-paced Mandarin. Then Yanyu told me what happened and the show went on. Other similiar events occured such as calming down nervous performers backstage who were realizing how last minute the event was being put together... I had to take a young Vietnamese boy into the hallway and jump up and down with him for ten seconds so that he would begin breathing correctly again and would therefore be able to sing. Toward the end of the performance, we got everyone in the audience up on stage dancing with each other. The final performer was a Pakistani dancer who taught me, backstage, the traditional dance he was going to perform and then called me on to do it with him at the end.

I cannot explain the energy that was circulating within Columbia's hall, or more specifically the feeling that was undulating throughout my bones. Our performers ranged from Korean singers, Bangladeshi comedians, Israeli and Palestinian dancers, Chinese singers and caligraphy artists, Nigerian singers, Eritrean dancers and the list goes on. We had a two and a half hour show that held everyones attention and included the diversity of cultures and countries from around the entire world, not to mention everyone dressed up with attire from their countries. I have never been more proud of being a part of an event that held so much power in creating the cross cultural peace building experience I am passionate about. Instead of sitting in a conference room and listening to world leaders discuss how to make a difference within the world, we were coming together and creating one. As human beings, when we are dancing together and singing together and honoring one another's bravery in sharing a talent or part of themselves in this area, it is difficult not to love one another and see that they are not as different as we may think. As soon as this happens you begin to realize how easily war and bombing and intense hatred can be avoided. 

On our third night, our event on the cruise ship, we boarded the Hornblower Hybrid and began an evening of food and dance and final goodbyes to each other. We were gifted with perfect weather and a clear sunset over Manhattan on the water. A truly memorable evening was created with the diverse faces of young people with a common wish for the betterment of our world and its peoples. I am excited to continue doing work like this and feel confident that I can. 

Sunday
Aug172014

Australian Rules Football

 

By: Matthias Baudinet

     This summer I had the opportunity to play Australian Football. This is a sport that I have played in the past, but have not played for a really long time. Known as Australian Rules Football, Australian Football, Aussie Rules, football, or footy, this is the main code of "football" in Australia. Just as American Football is the dominant form of "football" in the States, Australian Football is that in Australia.

     This is a wonderful sport that requires endurance, strength, intelligence, and kicking. I consider myself being an open minded person, and so I always try everything once. When it comes to sports, being open minded is something that I value because one can learn an awful lot about a certain culture when watching and playing that culture's favorite sports. Australian Football is certainly an entertaining sport that does not get a lot of attention in many places around the world, and I think that opposite should be true.

      The sport is played between two teams of eighteen players on an Australian Football field or a modified cricket field. The field is in an oval shape, and the goals are two tall posts at opposite ends of the oval. The main way to score in the game is to kick the ball between the two tall center posts. Kicking a goal is worth 6 points. There are also two other posts on each side of the two main center goal posts. If a player kicks the ball between the two outside shorter posts, then that team is awarded one point (this is not referred to as a goal, but a behind).

Here is what an Australian Football field looks like:

     Players are allowed to position themselves anywhere on the field no matter if they belong to the defense, midfield, or offense. Players are also allowed to run with the ball in their hands, or they can kick the ball on the ground. Since the ball resembles that of an American football, running with the ball is usually how the players carry the ball up the field. When running however, the player must bounce the ball every 15 paces. Throwing the ball to your teammates is not allowed. Instead, players handball to their teammates. Meaning that they must punch the ball almost like a volleyball.

     Also, a player must not be caught holding the ball if they are being tackled. After being tackled, the player must either handball the ball to an open teammate or release the ball. Not releasing the ball will result in a foul. When a player catches a ball that was kicked, the player who caught the ball is awarded a free kick. This is called a mark. This allows them to have a few seconds to pick out an open teammate to kick to, or to decide to run down the field if they choose.

     Physical contact is one of the sport's main attraction. Tackles are allowed, but bumps is a distinctive feature to Australian Football. A bump, or a "hip and shoulder" is when a player hits the other player by jumping into the air and hitting an opponent with their hips and shoulder. Watch the video below for examples:

     This is what contesting for a mark looks like:

     The sport was invented in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in the 19th century. Origins of the game go back to the early 1800s, but the official rules of the game were created and published in 1858. The most prestigious Australian Football competition is the AFL (Australian Football League). The AFL Grand Final, which is the equivalent of the American NFL Super Bowl, is the highest attended sport champioship event in the world.

    I highly recommend watching videos on youtube about the sport, or trying to play it yourself if you are interested. Check online to find local AFL clubs near you!

Here is another video for you guys:

Sunday
Aug172014

Heartwarming GMC

 

By: Matthias Baudinet

     After arriving a few days ago in Poultney, I have found myself back at my second home. When I first came to Green Mountain College in the fall of 2011, I knew that it would be the start of a new adventure for me, but I never knew that I would enjoy this adventure as much as I have in the past 3 years. The place itself is beautiful and charming, but what makes it so special for me are the people that belong to the GMC community.

     Even with only about 30 people on campus (RAs and summer workers), I already feel a comforting warmth in my heart--the same warmth that I first felt when I stepped foot on the campus for the first time three years ago. The type of people that GMC attracts are so unique and dynamic that it only takes 30 people to make the campus feel like home.

   

     As I took a walk along the banks of the Poultney river, I realized that the atmosphere alone can make you feel better as soon as you step outside here. Reuniting with old friends that I have not seen in a couple months has the ability to make my day an awesome one. Catching up, telling each other stories about adventures we had over the summer, chatting about romantic experiences we had over the summer, and sharing what we are most excited about for this upcoming year, while sitting outside in the Vermont sun is one of the most beautiful experiences I have had while at Green Mountain.

     With RA training in full swing, the other RAs and I have bonded with each other well, but most of all we all can't wait for the new and returning students to come back! It is always a pleasure to meet new Green Mountain students and hear about what attracted them to the school, and find out cool, awesome things about so many different individuals. Learning about so many things, trying different things from so many different cultures and upbringings, and meeting one-of-a-kind people are the things that makes Green Mountain College such a heartwarming place.

Friday
Aug152014

Youth Assembly @ the UN Photos- By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

Above this blog- I will write about my final period of time working for the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation and my work as their Artistic Coordinator and Director. Here is a photo journal to accompany and explain that post.


(this is myself and my team of interns at the main UN conference room that was used for our youth assembly)


(this is the UN on 47th st and 1st ave)

(these are the 18 chinese delegates that I was in charge of navigating through NYC for the week long event of the YA, here we are at the permanent mission of Russia in NYC)

(this is myself and three other american delegates from california and the washinton scholars foundation in the UN security council)

(this was the performance of an eritrean folk dancer, taken from behind the scenes of culture night during the YA at columbia university)

(these are a few of my fellow interns behind the scenes of the YA)

(these are the chinese delegates that I was in charge of navigating through NYC for the week long event of the YA right before we went in for our morning conference session)

(this was with the broadway cast of the dance show iLuminate, which we took many of our delegates to see post the YA)

(this was a picture taking after the YA at our culminating staff beach day in greenwich, ct)

(these are a few of the company members from the Vanaver Caravan dance institute, performing at the YA gala night)

(this was on our final cruise ship on the hudson during our last night of the YA)

(& this was the view from the cruise!) 

Friday
Aug152014

NYC Photo Journal #3 - By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

Living in the city this summer has been an unbeliveable experience in so many ways.

I've learned how to live on my own in one of the most intense cities in the world.

Both socially, financially, and emotionally supporting myself- I've made the city my own.

I've befriended so many people and reconnected with friends and family who had sepparated from my life due to location and the busy paths we all take.

Ultimately- living on the upper west side and Columbia's University has completely changed my life. Such a cool experience.