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Westport hosts needed for international guests on Thanksgiving

Published 6:49 am, Thursday, November 21, 2013
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As it has for many years, the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut is organizing area residents to host international guests for Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 28.

Each year, the organization asks local families to open their homes during the Thanksgiving holiday to United Nations staff and diplomats, State Department-sponsored visitors, Fulbright Scholars and other international students from the New York City area.

In 2002, a couple in Westport agreed to host a South Korean couple from the United Nations for a Sunday dinner. The meal was a success, and the visitors came back several times and enjoyed a golf outing with their American hosts. Later, that visitor, Ambassador Ban Ki-Moon, was named the secretary general of the United Nations.

The committee matches the interests of the hosts with those of the guests, and guests and hosts usually connect through e-mail. Hosts are advised of any dietary constraints or allergies of their guests.

The guests usually arrive at the Westport train station by the 11:17 a.m. train from New York, but other arrangements at different times can be made. The rest of the day is determined by the host family. Some visitors walk on the beach. Others learn touch football or watch NFL football on television with the host family. Some hosts have taken their guests to help out in soup kitchens. The guests return home at a mutually convenient time.

To host an international family this Thanksgiving, or for more information about the United Nations Association, contact the committee at mmaccoll@optonline.net, bj@jpus.org, or call Bill Hass at 203-454-7685.