Monday, November 12, 2012

Geneva, Switzerland

It has been a wild few weeks so I apologize for the delay but I am finally getting my life back in order and I am here with a new round of blog posts! 

I recently returned from 2 weeks of academic travel. For those of you who are still confused about this term "Academic Travel" is the Franklin College equivalent of a Fall/Spring break. We have two weeks off of school but during those two weeks we complete a 1 credit travel course with about 25 other students and 1 professor. This is a course that I must register for same as my other classes, we meet every other week during the semester and have to complete a 10page research paper after travel. This semester I selected a travel with an International Relations theme. Over two weeks we visited 14 international organizations in 5 different countries.  
I am going to try and break that down into 5 blog posts Geneva, Paris, Belgium, Luxembourg/Strasbourg, and Heidelberg. So without further adieu, post #1: 

GenĂ©ve, Switzerland. I am still pinching myself. I had so many incredible experiences the few days I was in Geneva that never would have happened if I had just been traveling on my own. Over the three days we were there we met with four different international organizations + had a tour of UN HQ and Geneva. These meetings weren't just guided tours of official buildings, we went through security, had our own badges, and actually sat down in conference rooms next to diplomats, then were updated on current situations. For instance, at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees we were shown a presentation that was shown to the UN Assembly 10 days prior updating them on the refugee situation in South Sudan and Syria right now. At the World Trade Organization we got to meet with the secretariat and discuss the Euro Crisis along with complications in ongoing Doha trade talks. Not only did I learn an incredible amount but I loved every second of it! 

our hotel in Geneva 

In front of the United Nations European Head Quarters. A dream come true. I have always wanted to work as a diplomat but I never imagined myself visiting Geneva so soon! I just couldn't stop thinking about all the important international treaties/conventions/protocols etc. that had been signed in the very room I was sitting in. 

Old Town Geneva. Fun Fact: the whole city was once surrounded by a series of complex man-made moats that diverted water from Lake Geneva to protect the city.  

A day at the World Trade Organization. Diplomats Security Clearance? Check!  

Lake Geneva+ the famous jet d'eau. I was obviously distracted by the swans trying to attack me. Oh Lake Geneva.. It was a beautiful October day but the prior day was gray and stormy and I could perfect envision Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein on the shores of Geneva. 

our first"tex-mex" experience in Europe! its been 3 months too long. 

The United Nations European Head Quarters. The actual name for the UN building is the Palais des Nations, which (in french) means the Palace of the Nations. too perfect. Everything about it was pristine. 

A day at the UN from top L to bottom R: UN council chambers, UN symbol (we heard the story behind the distorted world map on it), the UN HQ, the chambers where the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was signed, DISEC chambers. 

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