Friday, July 23, 2010

A peep into another world

When you study International Relations, the United Nations and its role in global politics becomes a big focus. It was beyond exciting when I was accepted into its Study Programme  and an opportunity that was a peep into another world.

The past few weeks have seen speakers from many UN agencies and associated organizations such as the UN Environment Programme, World Food Programme, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the World Trade Organisation as well as many more. While they took a general approach, many briefly touched on this year’s topic which was “United to combat climate change to safeguard international peace and security”

There were memorable statement and ideas, such as Brigitte Leoni (Media Relations Officer of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) who commented that “Education makes the difference between life and death”. Another was when Ban Ki-Moon, in a speech to the 3rd World Conferences of Parliamentary Speakers, quoted Strobe Talbott who said “no famines have happened in thriving democracies”. These gave us food for thought and how the UN is important in promoting the values of peace, democracy and working towards a common good.

While it was fairly intense during the day, by night and on weekends were spent exploring Geneva and more of Switzerland. Trips to the maternal ancestral home of Le Paquier and the town-with-the-amazing-views of Interlaken were great opportunities to refresh and clear the mind after a week of grappling with the great issues of our time.

There were also outings to World Cup, drinks on the lake and the most memorable would have to be wandering around Geneva in the middle of the night trying to find somewhere open because, like Perth, have early closing times.

Apart from the location, the people also made a great impression, with their ability to switch languages in the middle of conversation and their knowledge of global issues.

While it is sad to finish the programme and say good-bye to new friends, there is a new chapter that begins and a backpacking trip that will cover 5 countries.

Thanks must go to the City of South Perth and Ms Lisa Baker MLA for their financial support.
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