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Children of the World Teaching Adults

Photo by Erica Simone


During this voyage to the U.S., I’ve been reminded of the blessings of having children. I sat Tuesday among thousands of proud parents (friends and family) in the beautiful Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan as we watched our “babies” matriculate from students at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) to young adults about to set the world on fire. The message from all of the speakers was unanimous encouraging them to follow their passion to DO and do it well, rather than follow their passion to BE…famous or rich. Fame and fortune would come if they followed their hearts, their passions.

On the bus ride to Radio City early in the morning, two gentleman sitting together each had a child on his lap, each one clearly ethnically different than the father, perhaps adopted or of mothers of another race. In international and ethnically diverse cities like New York, London, Paris and many others, a scene of this kind is commonplace.

Then, on the bus ride back to my East Side accommodations after the ceremony and an American-style hamburger lunch, there were three beautiful red-headed four-year-olds behind me battling over who was going to sit in the middle seat while their babysitter was trying to “guilt” them into better behavior. I chuckled to myself as I experienced a sort of “déja vu” — and reminisced mentally about past similar situations when I might have done the same.

Photo by Erica Simone


It struck me how the babysitter’s, the parent’s and the teacher’s words would be so instrumental on molding our youth into the kind of adults we can be proud of, the kind we want to inherit our earth and make it a much better place than we have made it.

Then I received a notice in my email that 33,000 children from 27 different countries will receive their prize for their class project on progress and sustainable development at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in about two weeks time. They will also blow out the candles on a giant cake to commemorate UNESCO’s 60th birthday! All this takes place on Friday June 9th at 2 p.m.

For me, in particular, it was a special announcement because kids from New Orleans have prepared a project on building man-made erosion barrier to save the wetlands using old Christmas trees(!). Since I’m on route to New Orleans as you are receiving this, it touches my heart. Perhaps you read the CBS News May 22nd article — “N.O. Levees Swamped With Criticism, Study: City’s Levee System Is Inadequate; Overhaul Of Agencies Needed.” (

Other groups they commend include children from Togo who proposed a fly-free canteen, and a French class that designed a concept for a litter-free campaign.

The Sketches around the World exhibition will be open to the public at the UNESCO Headquarters from June 5th-9th, then it will travel around the world, with the 3rd World Urban Forum as its first stop!

Children, in their honest and open spirit, manage to bring us fantastic messages of hope. We should listen to them more often.

For more information, visit and be sure to visit UNESCO in Paris that weekend to share in our bright future, thanks to our children.

A la prochaine…(from New Orleans!)


Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. The attendance to the Living and Working in France Round Table is blossoming and growing! Be one of us. Register NOW! See /frenchproperty/conference/LIF_NOLA_2006/LIF_NOLA_home.html for more information and how to book your place.


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