The EU:s Cultural Network-Iranians

The EU's Cultural Network - Iranians

The EU:s Multicultural Network - Iranians           شبکه فرهنگی ايرانيان اروپا   


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دفاع از حقوق بشر ، آزادی  و  دمکراسی از اهداف «شبکه فرهنگی ايرانيان اروپا» است.


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 ششمين  پروژه ويژه جوانان

Ungdomsprojekt 6,


سفر آموزشی جوانان به آمريکا

Ungdoms studieresa till USA


US studytrip

By: Natalia Shafie Desta, November 9, 2009

On Thursday the 22nd of October, 2009, sixteen Iranian youths and eight elders travelled to the US, more precisely to the city of New York. I was one of the sixteen youths who had been privileged and offered a once in a life time opportunity to be a part of this journey, which was made possible by the hard work of dedicated teachers, such as  Mr. Davoud Navaian. The main purpose of our trip was to learn about democracy and therefore we were destined to visit important historical locations, in the cities of New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia, which were related to the foundations for democracy. We were also able to visit the UN building and we even had a meeting with the Swedish ambassador within the UN.

Friday the 23rd of October was our first day in New York. We began our day by walking down the street called Broadway, which was an amazing experience, it was during this time that the fact that we actually had arrived to New York, the city that never sleeps, finally hit me.  After walking down Broadway we reached the harbor and from there, we went by ferry to see the Statue of Liberty at Liberty Island. The statue of Liberty was a gift given to the US from the French, as they had signed the United States Declaration of Independence. At the island we, the youths, got acquainted with each other and we had a lot of fun even though the weather was freezing cold. After spending some time on the island and enjoying our first American lunch, during this trip, we left the island and returned to New York City.

Our stay at the Liberty Island was followed by a visit at the Indian Museum, where the history of Native Americans was displayed. At the museum we were able to witness traditional Native American items such as clothing etc. When we had seen everything at the museum we walked toward Ground Zero, but before reaching our destination we got to see an old, serene and beautiful church in the midst of the city commotion. After seeing Ground Zero, we headed toward a mall called Peer 17 and we spent a lot of time at the mall investigating the shops and after doing so, me Pedram Aras and Sahar went to an American coffee shop. Something that we all had been looking forward to was an event that was took place later on during the evening. We, the Iranian youths from Sweden, were going to meet with young Iranians in New York. We were escorted, by our teachers and other elders in charge, to a student accommodation location where we met with the other Iranians. This meeting was very interesting and unlike what we had imagined it to be.

We were introduced to a group of people whose main interest of the meeting was to discuss politics within the subject of democracy and even though our opinions may have differed from time to time, the overall experience of gathering with this group was very educational and interesting.

On Saturday the 24th of October, we were picked up by our rented bus and our short road trip from New York to Philadelphia began, on our way we made a stop to see the Washington Headquarters and Valley Forge. In Philadelphia, we visited important historical monuments such as the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall. A day before coming to Philadelphia we had been told a lot of great things about the famous “Philly Cheese Steak” and we went to the notorious restaurant, called Pat’s, in order to try these special steaks. Eating these legendary steaks was yet another new experience that took place on our extraordinary trip to the US. After visiting the monuments and having lunch at Pat’s, we were brought to see an American football game, and even though the weather was horrible, as the rain was pouring down as never before, we were all very excited to see the game because we had been informed  about how important this game is to American culture. As a final event of Saturday, we were divided into groups and introduced to Iranian families, who had invited us to be their guests until the next day. Aras, Pedram and myself, were all acquainted to the lovely and hospitable Safabash family. The evening turned out to be really nice, as we enjoyed some Persian food in the great company of our hosts and their friends and family.

On Sunday the 25th of October, we had a pleasant breakfast with our wonderful hosts before we were taken to our bus in order to meet up with the rest of the group and make our way toward Washington DC. The bus ride to Washington was filled with laughter and before we knew it we had arrived to the capital of the US. Our purpose for going to Washington was to visit important historical places, which have made memorable marks in the history of democracy. The locations that we witnessed were the Capitol building, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the Washington Monument. Seeing these magnificent buildings was astonishing and I will never forget the feeling of standing at the exact same spot as Martin Luther King stood during his “I have a dream” speech.                                                        After having lunch and visiting a museum, we all gathered and began our trip toward New York. Before reaching New York, we travelled through Delaware, Maryland, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

Monday the 26th of October was the day I had been waiting for and the main reason for why I had applied to be chosen for this trip. It was the day when we had a meeting with, Mr. Per Örneus, the Swedish ambassador within the UN. The meeting consisted of an introduction of the UN and a brief explanation of various areas of responsibility within the UN organizations. After the introduction, we were able to ask the Swedish ambassador questions regarding the UN. Most of the questions that we asked were regarding UN’s relationship to the Middle Eastern countries and even though the answers we received were not as concrete as we had wished, the meeting with Mr. Örneus was very rewarding and it was an exceptional opportunity that we had been given.

 After our meeting, we went to see the UN building and we participated in a guided tour around the area.

When we returned to the hostel, where we were staying, the teachers and the rest of the elders suggested that we had an evaluation talk, where we could share the thoughts we had about the trip so far. This talk was very fruitful as ideas were exchanged to make our journey as good as possible. After the evaluation talk we all went to Times Square. Times Square was unlike anything I had ever seen before, spectaculars, animated and digital advertisements were to be spotted as far as one could see and needless to say, we had tons of fun in the middle of it all.

On Tuesday the 27th of October we attended a guided tour around NYU, which is New York University. During our tour we got to see the University library, the restaurants and the dormitories, it was very interesting to actually see what the University life looks like, at NYU, in reality as I am used to seeing it on television. We also learned that the school system of the US differ from the Swedish one and that there are various ways of achieving a profession in the US, depending on whether one studies at a college or at a University.

Later on, on Tuesday, we explored more of the city as we walked from one location to another. We went to the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park and Upper East Side. Even though I, Sahar, Arvin, Pedram, Payam and Aras were very tired we decided to make it to our final destination which was China Town. In order get to China Town, we took the metro and relied on the help of strangers in order to reach our goal. After spending some time in China Town, the adventure continued as we made our way, by metro, toward our hostel.  When we got home, the preparations for our get-together began. We all met in the hostels conference room where we enjoyed dinner and desert and spent some time together as we were leaving for Sweden the following night.

Wednesday the 28th of October was our final day in New York and we spent most of it by shopping. I, Sahar and Payam grouped up and together we took on the city of New York in order to make sure that every item on our shopping list got purchased. This day was, like any other day from this trip, filled with joy and laughter. We had so much fun even though we felt as if time was running out and we wanted to maximize and use the little time we had left in the city of lights. After hours spent around the shopping places near our hostel we, three content but tired tourists, returned to our small hotel. Our final moments in New York were spent making sure that everyone had packed everything and before we knew it, we were heading toward the airport and on our way home, to Sweden.

Looking back at this study trip, I can honestly say that it has been one of the best journeys I have ever made, and I feel that I have learned a lot about, not only democracy, but also about lessons of life. Travelling to New York with this group of amazing people, both youths and elders, has been a wonderful experience and I am certain that I will remember this trip and the people I have encountered during this time, for the rest of my life. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to be one of the privileged students who were chosen to be a part of this trip, and I would like to thank everyone who made this dream, of having a school trip to the US, a reality. I would also like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Emam, who guided us in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, as well as the Safabash family for their genuine hospitality in Philadelphia.

I wish that, in the future, others will have the opportunity to partake in a similar study trip.

By: Natalia Shafie Desta, November 9, 2009


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شبکه فرهنگي ايرانيان اتحاديه اروپا، ( EUCN نهادی است غير انتفاعی و متشكل  از انجمن ها و كانونهای باورمند به دمکراسی، آزادی و منشور جهانی حقوق بشر ؛  كه در زمينه های فرهنگی، اجتماعی و حقوق بشر در كشورهای اتحاديه اروپا فعاليت دارند.  اولين نشست EUCN در تابستان 2001 برگزار شد. و  اساسنامه و اهداف آن پس از يک سال گفتگو و تبادل نظر ؛  در نشست عمومی  تاريخ 29 تا 31 ژوئيه 2002 در يون شوپينگ - سوئد؛با شرکت نمايندگان تعداد زيادی از انجمن های ايرانی از کشورهای:  آلمان؛ اطريش؛ ايتاليا؛ انگلستان؛ دانمارک؛ سوئد؛ نروژ ؛ هلند و ... ؛ بررسی و تصويب شده است.  از جمله اهداف   EUCN - شناخت و دستيابی به علايق و نقطه نظرهای مشترک ؛ تبادل تجربه، اطلاعات و دانش  و گسترش همکاری بين انجمن های فعال در کشورهای  اتحادیه اروپا و دفاع از حقوق بشر، آزادی و دمکراسی  می باشد

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