A high school junior spent his summer writing letters to leaders of 186 countries, curious what they wanted young Americans to know about their respective homelands.
"The Prime Minister of Iceland," he said. "This was the only one that was handwritten to me. But it wasn’t just that. It was very kind, it was very personal, he wrote a P.S. at the bottom and talked about South Windsor, my town. ..with a little smiley face. He said that the Icelandic parliament was founded in 1845, which was the same year as the South Windsor town was founded."
Schwartzman is the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. He said he wrote the letters because he eventually wants to land a job as a diplomat. He thought making connections early couldn’t hurt.
"I’ve always been fascinated by international politics, which a weird thing for someone my age to say. You know, everyone else is watching TikTok dances," he said.
Schwartzman received letters from Lithuania, Barbados, Monaco, France, Switzerland, Portugal, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and more.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron wrote about freedom of expression and embracing diversity, while Switzerland boasted its neutrality and Portugal mentioned its educational and employment opportunities.
The Prince of Monaco even invited Schwartzman for a visit.
"I’ve learned that despite how different some of these places are seen and shown on the news and social media. They’re actually pretty similar. A lot of the people are pretty similar to you and me," Schwartzman said.
Schwartzman said he plans to write about each letter in the school paper, The Bobcat Prowl.