Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres Visits the Hudson River Museum, Speaks with Junior Docents
Hudson River Museum was honored to welcome António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Catarina Vaz Pinto, Councillor of Culture for the City of Lisbon, Portugal, over the weekend. Known as strong proponents of the arts, education, and human rights, the pair made a visit to the HRM to explore African American Art in the 20th Century and Jamel Robinson: Beauty from Ashes, two current exhibitions recently featured in The New York Times that speak directly to the Museum’s mission and address diversity, equity, and the human experience.
During the visit, HRM Junior Docent Emmanuella Maameyaaba Essein Addai, a member of the program’s Advisory Board, had the opportunity to give a special highlight tour within the exhibition, which she had been preparing for the public. When her big moment came, the young leader was ready. Emmanuella stated, “Being a Junior Docent has motivated me to always aim higher and has given me the training and confidence to speak in public, including to important visitors. Meeting the Secretary-General of the United Nations was an honor. Many have dreamt of it, but I was able to live it!”
Born in Ghana, Emmanuella initially found her transition as a young person to the United States overwhelming. Today, she is a dynamic 11th grader at Palisade Preparatory School in Yonkers. She is one of approximately 70 Yonkers Public School students from across the city who train throughout their high school years in the Museum’s nationally recognized teen leadership program, which includes extensive career mentorship, college readiness, and the opportunity for paid work hours. Access to notable experts, peer support, and creative expression are hallmarks of the experience.
Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools, Dr. Edwin Quezada praised Emmanuella and her fellow Junior Docents. “I have seen that passion and confidence exuberantly expressed by Emmanuella in so many of our students in the Junior Docent Program over the past two decades as a Yonkers high school principal as well as in my current position. The District is appreciative of our strong partnership with the Hudson River Museum and their relentless commitment to the Junior Docents. The Museum regularly offers momentous opportunities like meeting the Secretary-General to our students, and it’s clear the impact can be life motivating.”
HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky said “The Hudson River Museum is grateful to the Secretary-General and the Councillor of Culture for making it a priority to experience these powerful artworks in person, and to speak with our Junior Docents about their thoughts and future interests. On our next field trip to the UN, these teens will share the confidence of knowing they already have their first meeting with a global leader under their belts.”
Asked what’s next on the agenda for Emmanuella, she said, “Meeting the President of the United States has always been my dream.”
Learn more about the Museum’s Junior Docent Program and its game-changing societal impact here.
Left: Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, and Catarina Vaz Pinto, Councillor of Culture for the City of Lisbon, Portugal, stand with Hudson River Museum Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky and members of the HRM Staff and Junior Docents. Pictured behind them is Fighting for Change: Fist Full of Tears and other works by artist Jamel Robinson.
Right: HRM Junior Docent Emmanuella Maameyaaba Essein Addai giving a tour of African American Art in the 20th Century to António Guterres and Catarina Vaz Pinto.