Corinne Kenwood / Sun Staff Photographer

Students cut cake and discuss the refugee crisis in Willard Straight Hall Monday, celebrating the 71st birthday of the United Nations.

October 25, 2016

Students Celebrate United Nations’ 71st Birthday, Talk Refugee Rights

Print More

Cornell students enjoyed cake, candy corn and conversation about global democracy at Willard Straight Hall Monday to celebrate the United Nations’ 71st birthday.

The event — hosted by Cornell’s chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, which promotes refugee rights in an era of global instability — featured a three-tiered cardboard birthday cake, decorated with the number 71, as well as a real birthday cake which was distributed to attendees.

In addition to commemorating UN Day, the event also aimed to “discuss the refugee crisis with members of the Cornell community,” especially given the frequent “misconceptions about [the refugee] situation,” said Jennifer Kim ’17, president of UNA USA Cornell.

“We wanted to focus on the humanitarian aspect of the crisis and bring some more of that awareness and some of that discourse to Cornell,” she said.

There is a “big disconnect” between what is considered “first world” and “third world,” according to Lissie Elorza ’20, a member of UNA USA Cornell.

“Just because there is this gap doesn’t mean that we can’t be understanding and compassionate about the issues that plague those on the other side,” she said.

Elorza called supporting refugee rights “basic common sense.”

“Everyone is entitled to happiness and safety,” she said. “It shouldn’t depend on which country you’re from or what color your skin is.”

Over 100 students wrote their own personal reasons for supporting refugee rights on a white dry erase board and posed for a photo at the event. These photos will be made into a collage to show the community’s collective reasoning for supporting refugee rights.

“We are giving people a chance to say, ‘Hey, we care,’” said Hnin Ei Wai Lwin ’20, a member of UNA USA Cornell, said of the event.