KEEP UNIS-QUEENS OPEN!!
KEEP UNIS-QUEENS OPEN!!
Dear Secretary-General António Guterres,
We write to you as parents, UN Staff Members, current and former UN International School (UNIS) students, teachers and staff representing the UNIS Queens community and concerned global citizens. As parents, we have entrusted the education of our children to UNIS in the belief that it reflects the United Nations values: integrity, transparency, accountability, professionalism, and respect for diversity. Indeed we have been entirely satisfied with the high quality of education, breadth of curriculum, family environment and diversity in the campus that has yielded caring, well rounded students. We have been proud that our children attend the school that was set up in 1947, soon after the creation of the United Nations itself, aptly situated in Queens, also known as the “World’s Borough”.
However the abrupt notification received on Monday, November 1, 2021 from the UNIS Executive Board calling for the closing of the UNIS Queens campus after the 2021-2022 school year has absolutely shattered these very values and principles which we expect from an institution so closely entwined with the UN. The drastic decision has been taken without any formal consultation, process, due diligence or transparency with the very families and children, teachers, staff and administrators who are most affected. This decision does not reflect the binding principles of the United Nations, where decisions are made collectively, and with the input of every stakeholder. At this time, still in the midst of a pandemic, where UN staff and global citizens are striving to leave no one behind, it appears very much like UNIS Queens students and their families are deemed expendable. This very much contradicts what the UN and global citizens are trying to achieve in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We believe that closing UNIS Queens is a rash decision and we request the UNIS Executive Board to reverse it and to engage United Nations parents, UNIS Queens parents, teachers, staff and students to collectively address the issues of the Queens campus to ensure the common goal of a sustainable UNIS Queens campus. Reviewing the basic reasons shared with us for the Board’s decision, we feel strongly that the attempts to increase enrollment by UNIS management were fundamentally weak, a few episodic events and not based on a cohesive recruiting and marketing plan and not conducted by professionals in their fields. We are convinced that, similar to other successful private education institutions, we can absolutely attract, retain and grow the student population in UNIS Queens, and we are collectively fully prepared to work with UNIS management to do so.
We further request the Board to immediately reverse its decision as the closure of this school, especially in the setting of a pandemic, is a preventable traumatic event for UNIS students and community, that can be averted with measured steps and a thoughtful approach.
Concerned Global Citizens