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La Jolla student shares vision for peace at United Nations event

La Jolla High School senior shares vision for peace at United Nations event

La Jolla High School senior Nicolas Nave prepares to read his essay at the United Nations headquarters in New York City Aug. 11.
La Jolla High School senior Nicolas Nave prepares to read his essay at the United Nations headquarters in New York City Aug. 11.
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Nicolas Nave, who is entering his senior year at La Jolla High School, got the opportunity to read his essay on peace before a crowd of about 150 people at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City Aug. 11. Other student presenters performed art, music and mental math feats, like his 7-year-old brother, Blake.

Nicolas was offered the opportunity after enrolling in an after-school program in Rancho Peñasquitos earlier this year at Help You Achieve language school (where his younger brother studies mental math). There, Nicolas dedicated many hours to cleaning up less-than-perfect english in business documents and college entrance essays — largely submitted by Chinese businesspeople and students.

Nicolas, 17, read his essay, “The practicality of peace,” during the Sino-American Cultural Council’s 10th annual student event there (hosted in connection with the company that owns the language school where he volunteers). His essay is about what he views as the inevitability of peace and its correlation to the evolution of civilization.

“At first when I read the essay I was a little bit in shock because I said, ‘How could you say it’s the most peaceful time when there are so (many atrocities taking place),” said his mother, Tania Nave, though adding, “the more I read the essay the more I understood how every statement he makes in his writing is supported by the following paragraphs. ... In the end I was left with a sense of hopefulness. ... I was so proud and trying to capture every moment that I could.” Nicolas, who says his favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut, Albert Camus and Haruki Murakami, had heard the idea discussed that — despite random, senseless acts of violence portrayed in the media — humanity is actually in the midst of its most peaceful period. “I’ve heard that a lot, just as a fact that people throw around,” he said. “I looked it up and it seemed that it was true.”

However, Nicolas cautions, in concluding his essay, “We live in the real world, not a utopia. In the real world, we have to deal with the unfortunate existence of things like disease, war and scarcity. ... What we should be discussing are worlds where we have as little suffering as possible. And these worlds are coming, and in some sense they are already here. We we must continue to do is continue the trend of liberalization, modernization and education that has ushered in this era of peacefulness.”