By Amber Aitken (Yr 13)
October half term brought me an opportunity for which I had competed to gain a place on a week's United Nations experience in Geneva, investigating the roles of global peacekeeping organisations. Along with 33 other students from various countries and cities, all of whom I had never met before, I stayed in a youth hostel in the city, with a beautiful view right next to Lake Geneva. We spent the days attending insight lectures, tours and interactive seminars at numerous United Nations organisations (read more about these below) and in the evenings we were free to explore Geneva. The experience also counted as my 'residential' for the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
I found out that if I wish to work for one of these amazing organisations that truly make a difference around the world I would need all three of: a Masters Degree, two languages and two years’ work experience in an ONG! I would recommend to anyone interested in international business or affairs to take advantage of this opportunity.
I found that there were two organisations in particular that captured my interest significantly, these being the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Migration office (IoM). I was intrigued by the operation and structure of them and was fascinated by what they do for people around the world.
The WTO concentrated on ensuring fair and functional trading, and the IoM were focused on promoting migration, to dispel the negative opinion people have of migrants and their justifiable reasons for having to be one.
The other organisations that I had the privilege of gaining an insight into were:
- The United National Environment Programme (UNEP)
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (CITES)
- United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA)
- International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAids)
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNICEF).
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Our days were jam packed visiting all these phenomenal institutions in stunning buildings, modern and classic and although I was completely shattered after 5 days on this great trip, I am so glad I took up this opportunity and will never forget my experiences there.