Students Spend Spring Break at UN Conference in Geneva

During the week of spring break, a group of WCC students with the honors International Law class went on a trip to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the 329th session of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Governing Body.

The yearly trip to Geneva was organized by Anne D’Orazio, Co-Director of the Honors Program. During the trip students got to visit the second largest United Nations headquarters in the world.

During the session the governing body discussed a number of major global employment and social problems.

“It was really cool to see the Tripartite system […] in the middle you have the government and countries [with] workers on the left, employees on the right and then NGO’s, non governmental organizations are in the back,” said Jonathan Kimiadi, Student Trustee and Vice President of College Project for the Alpha Iota Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

The students also attended an information session by the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) where they got to represent SUNY. During the information session, students learned what a refugee is and what it is like to be a displaced person.

“It was very cool to see everyone from different countries,” said Johnnie A. A. Asibuo, a business administration major and the Vice President of Marketing for Alpha Beta Gama.

During the trip, WCC students had dinner Loretta Hieber-Girardet, a former student of professor D’Orazio who works at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) a UN agency that creates strategic plans for humanitarian crises.

“All of the UN organizations seem to be focussing on climate change this year,” Asibuo said.

Asibuo stated that it is very rare for all the agencies to be focussing on one topic.

In addition, WCC students visited the World Meteorological Organization which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that handles everything related to weather, climate and water. The students described the building as “very beautiful,” and once inside the WMO students sat in on an hour long executive chief board meeting.

“The WMO does not do research themselves, they take all information from different countries and averages the information to create one document,” Kimiadi said. “They put a UN stamp on it to make it official.”

Both Asibuo and Kimiadi expressed that, although the trip was most definitely not a vacation, they would choose the experience over spring break anyday.

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