By Princess Safiya Byers Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Published May 15, 2023 at 4:01 PM

Myanmar came to Milwaukee last month.

Actually, most of the world did.

It was all part of a program that allowed more than 2,000 Milwaukee Public Schools students to showcase what they’ve learned about the United Nations and its 193 member countries at MPS’s World Fair.

The fair, an annual event that is part of the United Nations Schools of International Learning, or UNSIL, program, occurred April 18 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

Students take on the world

In preparation for the fair, students from 16 schools did projects surrounding the strengths and challenges of different nations and the role each country plays in its region or continent.

Saw Lun, a fourth grader at Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language, completed a presentation on Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“I learned about the population, exports, holidays and the unique foods,” he said. “I enjoyed being able to tell everyone here about what I learned because I like sharing things, and I’ve tried some of the unique foods before.”

"A little can go a long way"

Eighth graders at Victory School decided to do a school cleanup as a part of their sustainability project.

“We noticed that our school and the surrounding area is always dirty because no one really takes responsibility for it,” Tuleen Abu-Fares said.  

“And were able to prove to ourselves that a little can go a long way. So, if we just do our part, it matters,” Emily Miranda added.

“I think it was all around fun to give back to our community and show others that they can too,” Noor Aishah Nabi Hussain said.

Cultural performances

The World Fair also included performances representing various cultures, including the Milwaukee School of Language band and choir, the Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language cultural fashion show, the dance team and drum line from Rufus King High School and African dance from Milwaukee French Immersion School.

The fair is a product of local philanthropists: the Annette J. Roberts & Joan R. Robertson Fund for World Peace, World Law and Peace Education. Through the MPS Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the fund established the United Nations Schools of International Learning curriculum in MPS.

It began in 2016 in nine schools and is now implemented in 16 MPS schools.

“This was the dream of my mother, Joan Robertson, and at 107 years old, she’s thrilled that it continues on,” said Annette Robertson. “It’s a wonderful experience for students, and not only that but we’re preparing them to become great leaders for the world workforce.”

For more information

The MPS Foundation collaborates with corporations, foundations and individuals to provide philanthropic support for students, schools and district programs.

You can learn more about the MPS Foundation by visiting its website.