Parents, Students, Alumni, and Community Supporters Host Candlelight Rally to Call On United Nations Secretary-General Guterres to Save School
QUEENS, N.Y., Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Supporters of the United Nations International School hosted a candlelight rally on Tuesday night to save the longtime Queens campus from an abrupt and unexplained closure on its 75th anniversary. Rally attendees included parents, students, alumni, teachers, and community leaders. Supporters spoke of the importance of the school to families, the community, and the United Nations. The school, nestled amid the most diverse neighborhoods in the nation, has been a beloved second home for tens of thousands of children from Queens and across the world since it opened in 1947. Children have walked the halls, sung at UN day, and made life-long friends at this school.
“As chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Cmte. and a former member of the UNIS Queens parents family, I understand how important it is to have Educational facilities that offer exemplary staff, tools for learning, a diverse student body, and an opportunity to positively impact people with an understanding of the global community. The UNIS Queens Campus has been such a place for a very long time. It would be disastrous for many if U.N.I.S. couldn’t help the much needed U.N.I.S. Queens campus continue to put smart, caring, and desperately needed global citizens in the world,” Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Assemblyman David I. Weprin participated in the Rally and said, “I hope that we can come together to find creative solutions, engage in constructive dialogue, and I especially hope the decision to close UNIS Queens will be reconsidered and REVERSED!”
“We’re calling on Secretary-General Guterres to step-in and save our school. The planned closure is particularly galling given the timing and the impact it will have on children. These children are just emerging from the pandemic, and in addition to COVID-19 related loss and suffering that was experienced by many in our community, the effects of closing the school is likely to be felt both in the short- and long-term. Earlier this year, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres wrote that ‘leaders must do everything in their power to cushion the impact of the pandemic’. We urge the Secretary-General to do what is in his power and reverse this decision,” said Shantanu Rana, UNIS Queen Parent, and UNIS Alumnus.
Save UNIS Queens was started in response to a November 1st, 2021 email from the United Nations International School (UNIS) administration and Board of Trustees that abruptly announced the closure of the UNIS Queens campus. UNIS Queens families, who put their trust in the UNIS administration, were shocked by the news and the lack of transparency or dialogue–central tenets of the United Nations–in how the decision was made. UNIS, a financially stable institution with a multi-million dollar endowment, has the resources to maintain the school as it has since 1947. Supporters are eager to work with the administration to increase enrollment and build the long-term sustainability of the school. An outreach and marketing proposal is in the works for UNIS Queens to boost enrollment–and the greater UNIS Queens community has stepped up and voiced their support for the school.
Mr. Rana stated, “Our ask is simple–we just want to be heard. We are asking that Secretary-General Guterres: 1) Pause the current plan of closing UNIS Queens; and 2) Allow the UNIS Queens community to collaborate with the Board of UNIS to forge a different path forward, one that is sustainable and keeps UNIS Queens open for generations to come.”
The Parents Association has appealed to the Secretary-General to help keep the Queens campus open and maintain the school’s exceptional education for this and future generations.
About Save UNIS Queens
Save UNIS Queens is made up of parents, students, faculty, alumni and community members who believe in the principles of the UN and it being the “one place on Earth where all the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity. Unfortunately, the decision to announce the closure of UNIS Queens did not align with the ideals of inclusivity and transparency. Save UNIS Queens is asking that the Board’s decision be suspended and a new process started that engages those whose lives are touched by UNIS Queens. For more information on the effort to save UNIS Queens visit: https://www.saveunisqueens.org
SOURCE People First RH