GENEVA - WFUNA had the pleasure of welcoming 23 outstanding students selected by our university partner, the Research Centre of United Nations and International Organizations (RCUNIO) in Geneva from the 18 to the 22 February. The participants engaged in a busy five day-program focusing on the UN at Geneva, Human Rights, Humanitarian Affairs, Communication Technology, Intellectual Property and Career Development.
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 18 - 22 February, 2013
The first day kicked off with welcome remarks by WFUNA staff Irene Martinetti, Director of Programs and Wiebke Harms, Human Rights Education Program Officer followed by an introduction to the ATP.
Nicole Dawe, Visitors' Service of the United Nations, briefed the students on the UN Office in Geneva. The day ended with participants being received by the Permanent Mission of the People`s Republic of China, including an overview by H.E. Ambassador Lui Zhenmin and briefings about the thematic work of the mission.
On Tuesday morning, the group attended the 10th Session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee listening to discussions on women’s rights. Jung Rin Kim, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), conducted a comprehensive session with the group on the mandate and challenges linked to the work of the Human Rights Council. After lunch, students continued working on the UN human rights system including a case study on the Advisory Committee’s thematic rights work.
Wednesday was devoted to humanitarian affairs and the students visited the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Ms. Jill MacKechnie, Chief of Global Appeals and Reports Section, welcomed the group introducing the mandate of the organization. At the end of the session, participants engaged in group discussions on the challenges and opportunities facing UNHCR. Celine Schmitt, Senior Donor Relations Officer shared her experiences from implementing UNHCR activities in the field.
The highlight of the afternoon was the visit by James Elrington, Communication Section, and Joanne Dunn, Human Rights and Gender Liaison Office, from UNICEF. During two educational sessions students were briefed on the history and mandate of UNICEF. The adverse effects of child labor were also addressed with the facilitators stressing the need for children’s right to education.
Josh Choi, from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), welcomed the group and gave an inspirational presentation on the mandate of ITU. The students enjoyed the interactive exhibition of ICT Discovery learning about the historical, present and future endeavors of the organization.
Francesca Fusco, from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), introduced the concept of intellectual property to the students. During the final session of the day participants were guided through the UN Library and Museum including a visit to the famous UN archives.
The last day of the training was dedicated to Career Development and 21st Century Skills. Students interacted with a panel consisting of interns from UNHCR, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and WFUNA. After comprehensive presentations by the interns the students appreciated the opportunity to ask questions and received many concrete tips on entry points to the UN system.
As a final interactive session of the program, the students were divided into four groups for a SWOT Analysis of the United Nations, elaborating on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as well as mitigation measures.
The WFUNA staff would like to thank the students and the accompanying staff for their participation and commitment to the ATP.
We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!
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