Vasily Nebenzya: “Artek is basically a model of the UN”

On July 26, the Children’s UN Assembly opened at Artek. The participants, children from 63 countries, were welcomed by Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak and Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN and the UN Security Council, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Vasily Nebenzya. Symbolically, the opening ceremony was marked by the launching of the International School for Young Diplomats, a new cooperation project involving Artek, the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, the Diplomatic Club and the Artek Support Fund.

The initiative for an International Children’s Assembly modeled on the UN came from foreign journalists, who visited Artek in August 2017. Last year’s 11th shift saw the First School Model of the UN at Artek and a Russia-Portugal themed program to promote intercultural communications. Based on this experience and with consideration for Artek’s traditions and educational technologies, it was decided to hold UN Children’s Assembly International School Model at Artek in 2018.

“Artek is basically a UN model. I’ve just fallen in love with this place – your sea, the mountains, Bear Mount… I think, the young people here will learn what is known as the art of multilateral diplomacy,” Vasily Nebenzya noted. “This will come in handy. After all, you have to come to terms with people not only at the UN but also in your everyday life. I hope that the assembly will become a regular part of Artek’s educational program.”

“We’ll hold these events every year,” Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak confirmed, turning to the young people: “I hope that you will be able to evaluate the actions of the adults around you, and that they will listen to you. There is precedent: An American girl, Samantha Smith, who came to Artek once, later managed to improve relations between many adults or at least helped to do that.”

Vasily Nebenzya assured the children that topics related to youth were continuously discussed at the UN. He also mentioned the topicality of the Volunteer and Humanitarian Assistance subject chosen by children for the assembly meeting in Artek. On the same day, Moscow hosted the signing of a memorandum on Russian volunteer involvement in UN operations.

The meetings held in Russian and English during these two days focused on the protection of children’s rights, education, culture, environment protection, children’s initiatives, etc. The children have thoroughly prepared themselves for the UN Children’s Assembly. Tutored by professors from the Diplomatic Academy, they studied the history of international relations and familiarized themselves with the United Nations’ structure and activities. They also practiced oratory and drafted proposals for the Children for Peace Declaration.

The draft resolution approved by the Assembly will be sent for expert analysis and streamlining to the Russian UN Mission in New York and the Department of International Organizations of the Foreign Ministry of Russia. The participants in the assembly will choose the best social initiatives on volunteering, humanitarian aid, and developing youth potential for peace and friendship between nations.

The assembly is sponsored by ICC Artek, the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry of Russia and the Artek Support Fund, with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, the Diplomatic Club, the Fund for Social and Cultural Initiatives, and the VGTRK Broadcasting Company.