Geneva Day One
Geneva – Day One (Wednesday 10 January 2018)
We landed safely in Geneva on Tuesday 9 January and the students were met by their host families. They all had a brilliant evening getting to know their hosts and preparing for the conference!
We all met this morning outside the United Nations General Assembly building. The queues to get inside the UN Headquarters were, thankfully, much more fluid than last year! Inside the building the students were wowed by the General Assembly meeting room, used for all official UN debate. It is an amazing space and really lends a grand sense of occasion to the event.
The opening ceremony began with speeches from the student organisers, the Head teacher from the host school in Ferney-Voltaire and also from some invited dignitaries. We also had a moving address from a delegate from Damascus, who entered the USA as a refugee two years ago and shared his experiences of the conflict in Syria, and how he started a new life.
We were also treated to one breathtaking musical performance from two young flute players, and had the pleasure of listening to 3 primary school students discuss (in French, Spanish and English!) the importance of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
After the ceremony, we all moved down the road to the World Intellectual Property Organisation where we were welcomed by the WIPO General Director, Mr Gurry, who addressed the students on issues such as ownership of music and the right to access information. Following this, the students got down to business as they all went off to their designated committee rooms to start lobbying!
Emily Godon and Izzie Carter gave a fantastic speech about France’s position on reforming the Security Council, while Megan Pankhurst and Katie-Louise Mason delivered a brilliant speech to the Urban Development Committee. Tomi Banwo has also been selected this year to present Akha’s position on the threat of assimilation for Indigenous People, and Bernie Ford and Honor Bolton will similarly be delivering France’s views on overfishing to the Environment Committee. We are very proud that our delegates have received this honour!