By MIKE CHAIKEN
While most Americans are reading about the recently negotiated treaty with Iran in their local newspapers, 17-year-old Krystiana Bouchard was at the United Nations briefing international officials about the deal.
Krystiana’s presence at the UN building in New York was a result of her participation in a summer program at Princeton University. The Southington teen took classes in debating and—more importantly—international relations.
Krystiana, who finished her high school career as a home-schooled student, spent nearly four weeks in Princeton in July and August taking the classes, which will count toward college credits.
As part of her international relations class, Krystiana said she had applied for and was accepted to an opportunity to go to the United Nations.
At the United Nations, Krystiana said she was asked to brief an official from the United Nations Security Council about the Iran deal.
She said it was her job to speak to UN officials and her classmates about the Iran deal. The official from the UN handled the detailed questions. But since the official didn’t have time to enter into a dialogue with those in attendance, Krystiana was responsible for handling any questions not viewed as “high priority.”
Although the Iran treaty was discussed in class, Krystiana said she didn’t learn the topic would be the subject of her briefing until the night before. So she said she had not learned enough for a briefing.
“A lot of the information I did get on my own, so I was up late that night, learning a lot,” said Krystiana, adding she didn’t mind the work because the topic intrigued her. “I just looked at it as an opportunity that I’m probably not going to get again.”
“There so much we don’t know,” said Krystiana about the Iran deal brokered by President Obama’s administration. “We’re only seeing… the skeleton of it… The nuances of the Iran deal are constantly getting shifted… There’s so much the media doesn’t cover… There’s so much in that the general public is never going to know.”
Krystiana said visiting the UN alone was an exciting experience in and of itself. “You get there, and you’re all dressed up. So you fit right in,” said Krystiana. She was able to experience dimensions of the building that are typically reserved for staff members and VIPs.
“I also got to sit down in one of the rooms where all the diplomats across the world come to,” said Krystiana. “That was just as exciting as being asked to speak.” In that setting, Krystiana said, she—and others—had the opportunity to question the chief of the UN’s peace keeping forces and ask the official about how well the peace-keepers are doing their job.
“This was a hefty topic,” said Krystiana. “As a 17 year old, (I had to figure out) how do I present myself in a way that’s respectable enough not to get an answer that’s a fluff answer and (one) that’s important.”
Krystiana’s experience at the UN whetted her appetite for a career in international relations in the field of human rights. “There’s always going to be room for growth. People are always going to have human rights, taken away from them. They’re always going to need somebody to help. I can make a good career out of that.”
As for the more immediate future, Krystiana, who graduated high school, will be applying for college in the spring (her dream school is Harvard). In the meantime, she also is thinking of participating in a mission trip to South Africa to help combat human trafficking.