Two students at LDS Business College who are affiliated with the Young Refugees of Utah for World Peace will speak at a U.N. gathering in New York on Thursday.
Zury Marin and Orlando Luna, both natives of Colombia, will speak on the topic of unity. More than 600 people are expected to attend.
"We will speak of what we have been through and give a message of peace," said Luna.
Both experienced personal struggles in Colombia. Marin's father was almost killed in an uprising when he came to the aid of an old woman in danger. "It is sad to see these things happen, and we want to offset what is happening in our countries," she said. "We want to help people in countries with violence and terrorism find ways to stop it, or at least get through their problems."
Luna also came close to losing his father when highwaymen tried to kidnap the older man. "I never was sure he was coming back home each night. Some groups terrify people by stopping them on the road and kidnapping some of them. My dad didn't stop. He drove away. They shot four times into his car, but he was not hurt."
The two students said the violence in Colombia robbed them of their childhood and youth and their purpose is to help others survive in such circumstances. Marin has been in the United States for five years. She is a senior earning a degree as an executive assistant. Luna came to Utah two years ago to gain an education. He is working toward a degree in business.