jUNe Day Is Busting Out All Over

For a 45-year tradition, jUNe Day still manages to fly under the radar.

Each year on the last Saturday in jUNe June, up t0 350 United Nations people travel to Westport.  Officially, the event promotes “world peace and international understanding…reinforced through friendship, both for the visitors and their hosts.”

In reality it’s a chance for UN staffers, spouses and kids to escape New York City on a (usually sultry) Saturday, and enjoy a few hours of swimming, tennis, golf, soccer, shopping and whatnot.

This Saturday’s date has special significance — it’s the 60th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter — but that’s really immaterial.  jUNe Day is not about an institution; it’s about the people who work there, and a beachside town that happens to be on a train line an hour away.

For over 4 decades, a small cadre of volunteers has made jUNe Day an important date on the UN calendar.  They make sure flags fly proudly on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge (the name honors a woman who, for years, spearheaded jUNe Day).  They meet guests at the mercifully quick welcoming breakfast; provide hospitality at every venue, and do all the behind-the-scenes chores that make something like this run smoothly.

There are not a lot of them — most Westporters have as much connection with jUNe Day as they do with the UN generally, which is not much — but, quietly and effectively, they have cemented a tie between our town and the global organization that endures.

It’s an honor to welcome UN guests here.  Every Westporter should delight in the chance to show visitors from Mexico, Malta, Mali — and every other corner of earth — what life in a typical American small town is like.

What?  We’re not really typical?

Sssssshhhhh — they don’t need to know.

(To volunteer on jUNe Day, call Barbara Jay:  203-226-1710.  For more information, contact Michaela MacColl at 203-227-9461, or Bill Hass at 203-454-7685.)

41 responses to “jUNe Day Is Busting Out All Over

  1. But it is about people who work for an institution that has lost a lot of credibility and represent their countries, many of which are reviled for their oppressive governments.

    Am I the only person who thinks it may be time to end jUNe Day?

  2. This is an opinion that is fine to be shared, but can’t you just own up to your real name?

    • Innocent Bystander

      No, she can’t. Not in this age of Google and wackos. Why don’t you focus on contributing to the dialogue instead of trying the set the rules?

      • Carl A. Swanson

        Ms. Smith: I find it interesting that after 78 or so comments on “Endangered Streetscapes,” you decide to bless us with your commentary, which is no more an arrogant tidbit about using one’s own name coupled with a nasty correlation of cowardice. Why are you so concerned with WHO makes the comment as opposed to WHAT is being said?

  3. Innocent Bystander

    I agree with Curious in that the institution has reached a low level of ineffectiveness and possible corruption. It should be remembered,however, that it was the United States who walked into the chambers of the UN with false intelligence in order to facilitate an invasion of Iraq. That being said, it is even more the reason to have jUNE Day in order to continue communication and interaction. I am sure that we can learn far more from our visitors on this day than the other way around. In many ways, we are typical: conflicted between a deep compassion and self-indulgent materialistic frivolity.

    • I agree with Curious.

      And it’s not just about the U.N. and Iraq, what about all the corruption within the U.N. the sexual abuse in third world countries just for starters.

      The U. N. is a corrupt institution with many problems and not many successes in many years.

  4. Carl, I came upon the discussion after everything had been said, and looking at the overall tenor of the discussion, it did seem as if people started to throw brickbats at each other the more comments that were made. Didn’t feel like an open discussion where writers owned up to their opinions. Just my opinion, but when people use their real names they tend not to hit below the belt.

  5. You are not correct, i.e., the United States did not walk into the chambers of the UN with false intelligence in order to facilitate an invasion of Iraq. Correct: The US pressed other members of the Security Council to act on numerous Security Council resolutions that the majority of the SCouncil Members had themselves supported, passed and sourced information in order to pass over numerous years.

    • Arthur Champlin

      That is technical parlimentary jargon for the same result. The United States forced the issue when Colin Powell marched in with, by his own admission. faulty intelligence. And I might add, intelligence that had been carefully manipulated and selected by Cheney and this thugs.

  6. Carl A. Swanson

    Linda: I don’t want to get into a spitting match with you. I am sure your intentions are good. But the nature of the internet promulgates anonymity. Whether that is good or bad, I am not sure. It is certainly unconscionable if one is a predator but here, it is good lively discussion. And I do think that a mandate to use one’s true identity might be an inhibitor to careful and honest dialogue. Mr. Woog’s intention for his blog is to have people THINK and no matter the absudity of many of the comments, I think he has been very successful in this format. But to call people “cowards” for not using their true names is counterproductive to the freefall arena of ideas (whatever you may think of them) presented here.

  7. UN Security Council Resolutions are not ‘technical parlimentary jargon’. Those resolutions, the wording and only-sometimes passage of them, take a tremendous amount of effort on the part of all Council members (that is why membership and alliances with members by non-member states is so sought after), i.e., they are never passed lightly and i am sorry that your understanding of the process leaves you thinking so.

    It sounds to me like you weigh security council resolutions according to your personal preferences on the relative issue.

  8. Princeton '82

    President Bush, ’43, basically told the United Nations that he was going to war regardless of any resolutions. Therefore, it would seem that while “those resolutions . . . take a tremendous amount of effort . . . and are never passed lightly,” they have little meaning and effect.

  9. Addison Fletcher

    While I applaud Westport for opening up their arms to the United Nations delegates as a gracious host, I can not tolerate the comments that defend the institution. Where were these grandiose and “tremendous amount of effort” resolutions when the United Nations basically ignored Darfur in 2004 while playing politics with the Sudan????? As a result, millions died. It is a partlimentary dinosaur worth disbanding.

  10. you are right that the UN has effectively ignored Darfur and that is reprehensible but the Institution’s errors there does not mean that the same institution should not take action elsewhere (it means that the same institution should also take action there). Also1, there needs to be an appreciation for the politics within the relative continents, i.e., the UN does not act unilaterally and neither does the US. Also2, what you see in the media is tremendously edited to be more palatable to advertisers and the general public.

  11. Addison Fletcher

    It appears that you have a special interest with the United Nations. That is super but let’s start evaluating the institution on its actions rather than it rhetoric. Unfortunately, they have been conflicted recently. I don’t think the founders of the United Nations thought it should become politicized and that is exactly what has happened.

  12. everything is politicized, that’s human nature.
    and, there is nothing in my answers that comes out of special interest. you are right however that the UN needs to be evaluated on its actions and in keeping with that same train of thought, it is the resolutions finally being acted on that brought us to afghanistan, iraq…

    • Innocent Bystander

      I do not believe it is human nature that everything must become political. There are
      some wonderful charitable organizations that have avoided such pollution.

  13. Why celebrate the UN or any aspect of it? It is manned by overpaid corrupt bureaucrats who wallow in hypocrisy while riding in limos and dining in high priced restaurants while their fellow countrymen starve. BTW We are at war still. New President same wars. If it was an illegal war when W ran it, it is still an illegal war.

  14. Innocent Bystander

    Amen Jeffxs. Bring the troops home. NOW!

  15. IBystander: name even 1 charitable organization the funding of which &/or the actions of which are not to some significant degree politicized.

    and, (while making use of your term ‘charitable’ which is derogatory), in terms of significant i mean have quality of life impact for the investor (or as you put it charity giver) &/or the invested in (or as you put it charity recipient)

    • Habitat for the Humanity. United Way. ABC House. Are you serious anonymous?? You are making excuses for the United Nations become political and failing at even that? One word is sufficient and that is Darfur.

  16. Innocent Bystander

    I did pro bono legal work for the Urban League for five years. Clean as a baby’s bottom. Doctors Beyond Borders is another. Amnesty International. Many many more Why is “charitable” in any way shape or form: “derogatory?” I think “investor” may be the wrong word. Try contributor. Certainly our investment with the United Nations has not paid off and actually backfired.

  17. i can tell you with absolute certainty that 2/3 of those are highly politicized, and one i have never worked for and don’t have anyone i know on the board…oh, actually, i do know a board member of one who organizes donations for that 3rd i thought i didn’t know enough about…sorry, all 3 you mentioned are politicized and not just slightly. And that isn’t a bad thing because more people are better off because of their efforts than if they did not exist. i don’t understand why politicization is considered a negative when it’s only natural.

    • Addison Fletcher

      The term “politicization” infers conflict and self-interest. I don’t think it is natural at all. Under my definition, it is an acquired environmental characteristic i.e. it is not innate in one’s genes by nature.

    • Innocent Bystander

      I don’t know any Board members. Excuse me, I do. He can’t make up his mind about anything. Even a tee time.

  18. Innocent: You must be kidding. The Urban League is about as political an organization as there is, as is Amnesty International. The Urban League defines itself is an advocacy group. That is about as political as it gets. Its purpose is to drive public policy.

    • Innocent Bystander

      Not the work I did. Grass roots. Bare bones.
      Assistance. Help. Frustrating as hell.

  19. Innocent: Each of the organizations you mentioned is hip deep in politics

    • Innocent Bystander

      More like ankle deep but not as deep as the United Nations. Eye balls are brown.

  20. Jeffxs is right.

    And, i don’t know where IBystander derived that definition of ‘politicization’ from but while it’s the current popular understanding of the term it is not the dominant one.

  21. Innocent Bystander

    I made it up. You are arguing for argument sake and agreeing with Jeffxs who banished the United Nations in his 6/25 comment. You are as wishey-washey as the institution itself.

  22. For what it’s worth, jUNe day went well!

  23. Jo Ann Miller

    C: Are you related to CC Sabastian?

  24. Well, I started this “dialog,” so maybe I can end it by asking, “Are they gone yet?”


  25. Not the fences. We have moved on to booze on the beach. Keep up Curious