25 August 2017

“Dream big, but be well grounded, be kind.”- Sri Sri

A few years ago, I came to the United States with my life packed in two suitcases, no cell phone, no money and no familial support. Recently, I was privileged and honored to be selected as a Peer Mentor for the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York, representing the World Experiences Foundation and the United Nations Association of Oklahoma City. On arrival at the United Nations, when I first entered the historic General Assembly Hall, I took a few minutes to sit down, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths—to stop and smell the roses, as it were.

My Youth Assembly experience enhanced my individual perspective on life as well as my dreams and goals. For the first half of the session, I was assigned a total of 13 mentees from all over the world to help them develop a sustainable venture and present it at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Our field work started in the month of July with weekly calls, strategic planning sessions and the development of various blue prints. My team presented a stellar product on the final day centering on “Society for All: Equity and Inclusion for a Sustainable Future”. For many of these young delegates, this was their first time presenting in front of a large audience; and I was a proud to cheer them on.

I also had the chance to meet high-level United Nations officials. What struck me most about these encounters was their humility. It didn’t matter what their titles were, but I felt how encouraging and welcoming they were towards us.

The energy at the United Nations was palpable, and the multiculturalism, multilingualism and pluralism was a feast for the senses. It is so encouraging to see so many young people—no matter their age—deeply involved in making a difference for their communities and saving the world. The hope and positivity reflected in every encounter I had with the delegates is something that I will carry with me forever as a mentor. I, for one, have forged unbreakable bonds with friends, mentees and co-mentors, and am grateful for my own journey from being a clueless young immigrant to serving as a Peer Mentor at the United Nations.


About the author

Bansari Mehta is a Medical Practice Administrator who received the Outstanding Multicultural Student Leader award from the University of Oklahoma.