Sophia Macadam

I would like to thank Serene Communications for facilitating my visit to the 38th session of the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva. The week was truly eye-opening, engaging and educational week.

As soon as we arrived in Geneva on the Friday morning, we headed straight to Palais des Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva. We attended a private meeting with members of the UK permanent mission where they discussed their role in international diplomacy and the UK’s position on many current human rights issues.

Over the weekend we were able to spend a lot of time sightseeing in Geneva. This included visiting the botanic gardens, walking along the shoreline of Lake Geneva and visiting the cathedral. We also visited CERN on Wednesday.

On sunday we held an event at the Impact Hub with Ethical Business Building the Future and I was given the amazing opportunity to share a speech I had researched on ‘The importance of education for women and girls in sustainable development’

We spent Monday to Friday at Palais des Nations. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to witness the human rights council in progress from inside the chamber. I liked seeing states sharing their positions on the many current issues that were discussed during the week I was there. I learnt a lot about the process of the council and how resolutions were debated and reformed.

I was also able to attend many side events run by NGOs. Events I found particularly interesting included those on human rights issues in Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. As accredited NGO youth delegates, we were able to be a part of our own NGO side events where some of us spoke. I thought our events on Child Widows and FGM were very successful and discussed some very important issues.

Participating in this week allowed me to deepen my understanding of international diplomacy and the UN. As well as this, I heard so many people’s stories from across the world and it really opened my eyes to the issues being faced in the world today and what is being done about them. It was great seeing so much international collaboration to combat these issues. I also felt I was able to development my public speaking and confidence when speaking to and networking with new people.