Westport celebrates United Nations Day

WESTPORT — It was all smiles as Westporters gathered in front of town hall on Thursday for the 74th anniversary of United Nations Day.

First Selectman Jim Marpe said the celebration also represented Westport’s focus beyond not only the town, but the country.

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“That really is something that makes us unique,” Marpe said, noting the number of residents who have lived abroad or are from outside the country. “That adds a flavor to Westport that makes us unique and another reason to celebrate.”

The day commemorates the United Nations officially coming into existence on Oct. 24 1945. As a part of the celebration Staples Director of Choral Music Luke Rosenberg led the Orphenians, the Staples’ a cappella group, in performance of several musical selections. In attendance for the event was a number of residents and town officials.

Alex Anvari, president of UNA-USA Southwestern Connecticut, read a message from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mark the day’s celebration.

“United Nations Day highlights the enduring ideals of the charter adopted on this date 74 years ago,” Anvari read. “Amidst stormy global seas the charter remains our shared moral anchor.”

“At this time of turbo-charged change the United Nations remains focused on the real problems of real people,” Anvari continued. “We are working for a fair globalization and bold climate action. We’re pushing for human rights and gender equality and saying no to any kind of hatred, and we’re striving to maintain peace while bringing life-saving aid to millions caught up in armed conflict.”

He noted next year’s 75th anniversary will mark a critical milestone to shape the organization’s community together alongside the world.

“I invite you to join the conversation,” Anvari said. “Together let’s advance the well-being of we the people.”

Scott Fullenbaum, president of Staples High School Model UN, noted how Model UN has provided life lessons for students. As a part of Model UN, Fullenbaum said he and fellow students research, discuss and debate issues as if they’re representatives of countries themselves.

“I think the importance of Model UN is that it allows us to understand the beliefs of other countries,” he said. “Not just on the issues themselves, but on how to understand different perspectives and consider issues from different angles.”

On a larger scale this also showed the importance of the United Nations, he added.

“It provides an opportunity for discourse among nations and allows ourselves and the world to hopefully gain a deeper understanding of one another,” Fullenbaum said.

Following his remarks, the United Nations flag was raised alongside the United States flag to commemorate the day.