SEPTEMBER 28, 1953
NEW YORK, Sunday—A regional conference being held by the American Association for the United Nations for the states in this immediate area began with a recent evening session by some of the members in a conference room at the Carnegie Endowment Building. There we explained the purpose of our regional meetings and the hope we had of getting into closer connection with the people by working to increase the flow of information about the U.N. From the different people attending these conferences, we hope to get different suggestions and to hear of local problems. Then we will keep in touch through a newsletter throughout the year.
I always find organization work extremely interesting. When you begin, it looks completely hopeless: you think nobody will ever do any work, you will never get plans made, you cannot hope really to achieve a smoothly running organization. Then, little by little, things begin to happen, and if you have patience and work hard, your organization eventually evolves. Since you are working with human beings, there will always be difficulties and ups and downs in the running of different organizations. But if the work is well done, there will be a constant increase in efficiency and a greater enthusiasm among the workers as they see the results from the work they are doing.
This conference drew in other organizations with which the chapters of the AAUN should cooperate. It is an initial meeting which should help us to improve our other meetings. I am glad to find that we have a very active group in New York City.
Rochester, N.Y., which has always been a model, told with pride about their teen-age ambassadors. These are young high school students whom they bring over for a year's residence in families, frequently where there is already a youngster of high school age. Last year they had 14; this year they have 17. It is evidently a very rewarding experience, and I noticed great interest in representatives present from other cities.
Rochester, of course, has worked its plan out through the State Department. They feel that giving youngsters at the high school level a chance to live in an American home is perhaps even more productive of real understanding of democracy than it can be at a later period. I believe a year of this type of experience is valuable at any period, but older people—such as workers, professors and engineers—gain a great deal by the experience even though they come over for shorter periods. In the case of teenagers, however, a year is essential to bring about real understanding.