Geneva Field Trip 2024

After arriving in Geneva on the 27th, three days of diplomatic insights expected our delegation. The visit to the World Health Organization on the next morning was a great start to the field trip. We were introduced to some general information around the institution and its work and thereby learned more about the achievements of the WHO like the eradication of smallpox and how the institution operated during health crisis such as Covid. It was also especially interesting to hear more about the possibilities and programs the UN offers for young people who would like to become future delegates and UN-staff. Afterward, further possible career options were presented to us at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.

The last stop of the day was at the UNHCR. An interactive presentation offered information on the works of the High Commissioner for Refugees. This includes securing the rights and protection of refugees, displaced and stateless people. Furthermore, we discussed questions around possible limits to UNHCR’s work or concerning the return processes of refugees once their refugee status has been lifted. We concluded the successful day with a communal pasta and pesto dinner at the hostel.

The next morning started early at the UNESCO office in Geneva. The visit offered interesting impressions on the practical work of a UN-institution, which’s main principle is peace, with a special focus on the African region and women. Despite including only a small number of staff at its location in Geneva, the office does important educational work. Its special focus lies on the design of school curriculums, and that states can ask the office for support and advice in this regard. After a presentation and time for questions, we were able to take a closer look at the educational archive the office contains by inspecting old text books from all around the world.

Before being welcomed at the World Trade Organization, there was time for us to have a look around Geneva. It is one of the world’s diplomatic capitals with many UN institutions but also other independent organizations spread around the city. The WTO is one of them, while working closely with the UN. It was interesting to find out more about the forum for cooperation the WTO offers for the practice of fair and compatible trade rules around the world. At the same time, the visit of the WTO headquarter was a nice opportunity to take nice photos of the impressive building located directly at lake Geneva.

For our last evening in Geneva, we gathered for a final group dinner in a typical Swiss restaurant. Over cheese fondue and the sounds of live alpine music, we discussed our impressions of the last few days and came to the conclusion that the field trip had offered various new perspectives on the UN and its work.

Before taking back the train to Tübingen, the Palais des Nations was the final highlight on Friday. We were impressed by the massive building and its many conference rooms, which together form the UN-headquarter in Geneva. However, we weren’t just given a typical tour of the place. As the Human Rights Council was fortunately coming together simultaneously, we were able to watch and listen in on its meeting. This was a very special occasion to actually witness the work of the UN first hand and we will surely remember it for a long time to come. 

While unfortunatly not all of us were able to attain, the days in Geneva still brought our delegation even closer together. The next stop will now be New York in a few weeks and we’re very excited to put all that we have learned finally into practice.

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