This summer I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva is the European headquarters of the United Nations and home to countless international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Thanks to the generous donation from the Isaac Harvey Fund I was able to attend the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) Geneva Summer School (GSS) in the famed city. The QUNO office in Geneva describes itself as a Quaker presence at the United Nations, representing Friends concerns at the international level. QUNO’s manner of work is unique in the UN community. Their advocacy is carried out by facilitating informal, open negotiating processes around specific issues and on the linkages between issues.
The GSS program consisted of talks from ambassadors, UN officials, and other professionals from the realm of international politics, along with trips to the World Trade Organization, Red Cross, World Health Organization, and much more. The 23 GSS participants came from Rwanda, Zambia, Afghanistan, Iran, UK, USA, Brazil, Uzbekistan, and Nepal. Our backgrounds ranged from college students to international entrepreneurs; everyone brought their own unique perspective of international politics to share with the group. I fell right in the middle, a recent graduate of Wilmington College excited to get a detailed look at all the international organizations I had studied while obtaining my degree in Political Science.
Not only did I get a first-hand view of the inner workings of the international organizations located in Geneva, I got personal perspectives, honest and unique, on much more than just politics from the exceptional and wonderfully diverse group of participants. Wilmington College provided me with a very wide range of knowledge about the international community, and for that I am very grateful. But nothing in the classroom can compare to the knowledge one obtains from living, learning and sharing with such a diverse and sincere group of people, even just for two weeks. Again, thank you to the Isaac Harvey Fund for providing me with another life changing experience.