WFUNA's Advanced Training at the UN: China with RCUNIO, January 2016

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.
Friday, January 29, 2016

Monday - The UN and Multilateralism

On our first day of Advanced Training Program at the UN, Naïs Mouret, our Training and Education Fellow, introduced WFUNA and its work to our group of 16 Chinese students. This introductory session was followed by a briefing on the UN system presented by Jana Bauerova, Perception Change Project Officer, from the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). After lunch, the group enjoyed a UN guided tour which was an excellent opportunity to familiarize themselves with the UN and its work in Geneva.

In the afternoon, the students had the pleasure to meet with Meg Riggs, Information Officer at the U.S. Mission and discussed three key aspects to understand a country's position in the negotiation process: interests, values and leverage.

Tuesday - Humanitarian Affairs

The group started its second training day with a briefing from Luc Brandt, Senior Advisor at the UNHCR. He provided us with a passionate recite on projects for refugees he has been working on. Mr. Brandt illustrated the complexity of the current migration crisis and general problems international organizations face such as UNHCR. He also explained the functionning of refugee camps in Burundi and Tanzania.

The day continued with a presentation of the work and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Naïs gave our students an in-depth insight into the missions of the ICRC, underlining key values of independence, neutrality, impartiality and humanity. The students were then invited to visit the ICRC Museum.

Wednesday - Environment

Time to act for the students on the third day of the training! They started the Greening the Globe Role Play, which is a simulation on climate change including different stages of negotiations. First thing in the morning, Naïs explained the rules of procedure and the Role Play objectives. Seven countries were entitled to reach a consensus and adopt a binding resolution on climate change within the following three days. Two journalists followed the conference closely and reported daily to the countries' representatives. In order to make the students familiar with current climate change issues, Blandine Jochem, our Educational Events Consultant, gave them an overview on the interrelation between international cooperation and climate change impacts.

In the afternoon, Aziel Goulandris, our Education Officer, briefed the students on diplomacy and multilateralism. Did you know that the word “diplomate” comes from the Greek word ”δίπλωμα” , meaning "folded paper"? In Ancient Greece the diplomatic communication passed only through folded cards.

The day ended with an interactive quiz on the topics of the week and a sunny visit around the beautiful park of the United Nations.

Thursday - Technology and Development

The fourth day kicked off with a visit at the ICT museum where our students immersed into the fascinating world of telecommunications. In a more in-depth presentation, Ji Young Cho, ITU Officer, presented the history of the ITU and the evolution of telecommunication technology from the first inventions until now. Then, they had the possibility to try out a telegraphic machine, old phones and a brand-new game of criminal investigation on hacking.

Tania Dhakhwa, UNICEF Communication Specialist, inspired the students with a talk about the different areas of UNICEF actions worldwide. She took the example of assistance for children in need after the devastating earthquake in Nepal 2015.

The group headed back to the office for the next Greening the Globe session: negotiation and debate. In the afternoon, the students tried to convince other states to support their interests and drafted the final pre-ambulatory and operative clauses.

Friday – Career Development

On the last day, participants had to discuss and adopt the final draft resolution. It all started with a formal negotiation session where the students learnt how to argue and convice the Assembly in order to ensure that their clause would pass. After a couple of hours of intensive work to amend the final text, the resolution was successfully adopted.

In the afternoon, the students had the opportunity to meet with two interns, who happily shared their experiences at the UN and in NGOs. During this informal meeting, the students could get answers to all of their questions with regards to their career development. The day ended with group presentations on what the students had learnt throughout the week.

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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