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UN Field Trip Reflection

Part of the Ozanam Program is fashioned after the ideas of Frederick Ozanam, who focused solely on social injustices that were present in society and ways on how to deal with them. Although the main goal of the program is to tackle these issues, it is also grounded within some sense of reality as we acknowledge that problems such as these can’t be solved overnight, rather taking some years but the main hope still is that we can inspire hope and use it as a mechanism for change. On Thursday the first of November, as Freshmen Ozanam Scholars we took a trip into Manhattan for our UN trip. The day started with us attending a panel discussion at the Baha’i International Community Building with various NGOs that work within the UN and are registered as ECOSUBS such as Amnesty International and Good Shephard’s, a religious group. I got the chance to meet another Zimbabwean who was part of the panel, Sister Veronica Brand who talked about advocacy for human rights and how to be a proper advocate for a good cause. After the panel discussion, we went to have lunch where we were then split into groups of 5 to visit various consulates that were close to us, with myself being placed in the group that was to go and visit the German Consulate in New York.

It was a short walk and when we got there, we went through a simple but necessary security screening process, after which, we were guided to the 22nd floor to meet the representative who would be talking to us. I failed to catch his name because he said it so fast and it was undoubtedly a long German name and I was hesitant to ask him to repeat as he started his presentation seconds after his name had ushered its way out of his mouth. He touched on a number of topics with the most important being how Germany would be entering the Security Council in the UN as a non-permanent member for the next two years starting January 2019. This by itself is a huge feat for the country as the UN was formed after WW2, a war which the Germans lost and because France was a victor and permanent member, Germany was excluded from the UN altogether due to the bitter memories. The relationship between Germany and France right now though is a good strong one, with their partnership within Europe being one of the Strongest. Germany’s main aim within the security council for the next two year will be conflict prevention and stabilization, trying to see why the crisis is developing whilst also seeing past the horizon to see whether resolves in conflict can be reached.

​Afterwards, for the final leg of the UN Field trip, we went to the UN building itself, took a walking tour of the building and its surrounding facilities, were able to take seats in the room that hosts both the Security Council and the General Assembly, plus getting to know about their Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 such as clean water, education and eradication of poverty. We were also shown some weapons, and examples of weapons of mass destruction and also shown visual aids of some of the UN intervention forces that are spread all over the world. All in all, the day itself was enjoyable, with so many areas I had never previously taken consideration being touched on and just emphasizing how we as the Youth in such a volatile time can really have such an impact on the goals that have been set in place by the UN, with the idea that the role of the youths now is to develop a political voice, becoming aware and identifying our own characteristics within the political scene.


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