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29 gennaio 2005, sabato

Brown at the UN (Brown alle Nazioni Unite)

Tuesday I went to an event at the UN, a gathering of Brown University. The president was speaking. I had never been to the UN before.  It was a different social context. It sounded different, and so I went.
A few impressions.  Entering the UN is like getting to an airport, just in a less nice setting. The place is crying for money. Everything looks old, stuck in the sixties. And gray. The building is stuck in the middle of nowhere on the East River side of NY. Three impressive smoke stakes greet it on the southern side. A huge "pepsi cola" permanent ad greets it from across the river.
The people were the usual types that you find at these gathering, just a little bit more serious and older than average, due to the fact that the president was talking (and asking for money...). She is a good talker, without being impressive. She knows when to slip a lighter touch in the speech. And she is the the first black woman to become president of an Ivy League (if not the first woman, period). As my room-mate says: "only at Brown". Some of the people there simply loved her, expecially among the ones that work at Brown.
During the reception before the speech, the Brunonians (and the intruders like me ....) were mostly standing and scanning the crowd, trying to find somebody with a name tag with their same year of graduation (mine only had the name) The impression was that it was not that effective. Even though there were many people (a hundred something?), the ages were so scattered that you couldn't find more than a few people from your years at college. But the atmosphere was cheerful, the wine and the finger-food were good (the sushi, in particular), it was just for a couple of hours, and so nobody looked displeased. And there were good news. It sounds like Brown is actually doing well, and expanding. Maybe it's the coming of age of the little of the seven sisters.
One final note, about the men's room. You entered, and there was a first room with a couple of couches. Inside the room another door and, beyond that, the usual depressing American toilet.  Toilet diplomacy? A time capsule from the sixties? It could be the only place in the US where people don't talk to you during those private moments...

gennaio 29, 2005 in NY | Permalink

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