Archive for the ‘Brussels Trip’ Category

20
Sep
 Image result for united nation organisation images

 

This week’s annual United Nations gathering of global leaders will bid farewell to the age of U.S. President Barack Obama, an era that began with high hopes for multilateralism but is ending in frustration over the world’s inability to solve some of the most intractable problems from Syria’s civil war to the most acute refugee crisis since World War II.In a poignant sign of the limits of international cooperation, U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday will jump-start the session with a summit to tackle a refugee and migration crisis that has displaced more than 65 million people — and to coax countries around the world into accepting more of them. The initial idea was modeled on the landmark Indochina refugee conferences of 1979 and 1989, which resulted in the resettlement of several hundred thousand Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian refugees. The same, some U.N. officials hoped, could be achieved for refugees in the Middle East and North Africa.

But governments have been unwilling to agree on any bold commitments for the Monday summit’s final document, the so-called New York Declaration. Early last month, a U.N. proposal to have governments pledge to annually resettle just 10 percent of the world’s 21 million refugees was dropped. Instead, the 25-page document’s high-minded, if somewhat vague, invocations to aid those most in need fall short of concrete targets and solutions, and governments will be asked to go back to the drawing board for another two years.

“My God, can’t we do anything more of significance as the international community?” said Joel Charny, founding director of the U.S. branch of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “We were promised something groundbreaking. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it amounts to very much.” Read more…

By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media., John HudsonJohn Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy covering diplomacy and national security.

  • September 18, 2016; foreignpolicy.com

By Colum Lynch. Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media., John Hudson. John Hudson is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy covering diplomacy and national security.

 

20
Jun

FGM

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)? Female genital mutilation or ablation involves the partial or total removal of the external sexual organs of women. FGM is a custom that is currently practiced in many countries in Africa and Asia. This brutal practice is to control female sexual desire and what is more, to get the total submission of women to the family and the husband (Fundacion Kirira).

FGM’s Prevalence: According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 200 million girls alive today have undergone FGM and there are 3 million girls at risk of undergoing the practice every year, with the majority of girls being cut before 15 years of age (2013).

On May 31, the International Relations Club had the honor of hosting a Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM) seminar at IE. The seminar featured Estrella Gimenez the President of Fundacion Kirira, which is an NGO in Spain that helps fight against FGM. In addition to Estrella’s presentation, we also had a MIR student Lula Tensaew tell her touching story about the daily struggles she faces having undergone this practice. Estrella started by sharing the story of how the foundation came about and in a sad tone Estrella said, “One summer in August, I went on a typical safari trip to Kenya and couldn’t help but realize that something was wrong”. The shocking reality was that August was the month of female mutilations in the Tharaka village and all the young girls were being mutilated. When someone in the village asked her why she had not been mutilated, with astonishment, Estrella realized that there was a deep underlying problem. Many girls were dropping out of school to undergo mutilation as early as 12 years of age to prepare them for marriage. Estrella started her NGO in 2002 and 14 years later, thanks to the Kirira Foundation, FGM has been reduced drastically from 90% to less than 5% of FGM cases in the village of Tharaka. Estrella and her team have truly been successful in saving many girls’ lives and they are true heroes.

MIR student Lula Tensaew, shared that when she was a young girl living in Eritrea she was mutilated at 2 years of age. She wanted to shed light on this horrible practice and also believes that by raising awareness, the lives of many girls could be saved. Throughout her life, she has dealt with many health issues due to FGM and emphasized that, “there are many women like me worldwide living with this pain in silence”. We thank Lula for sharing such a personal and deep story. She is truly worthy of our respect and admiration.

 

21
Apr

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#MIRinBrussels Fieldwork Experience

 

By Rimpal Kumbhani and Susan Guarda, MIR 2015/2016

After 5 months of vigorous coursework, it was finally time for the highlight of the MIR Program. From March 14th to March 18th, all 29 students, Executive Director Waya Quiviger, Academic Director Dan Kselman, and Program Assistant Angel Benito took a weeklong trip to Brussels, Belgium to experience and apply what was learned in the classroom. Each day started with an early wakeup call with the smell of brewing coffee, and warm complimentary continental breakfast, which was necessary to fuel the long agenda in the heart of the capital. The trip included a variety of visits and seminars given by both public and private organizations. The visits included the EU Institutions such as the Commission, Parliament and the Council. In addition to the EU institutions, MIR students visited the lobby firm Hill & Knowlton, newspaper Politico, the U.S. Commission to the EU and the global telecommunications company Telefonica, just to name a few. We had the opportunity to meet professionals from all over the world and sit through captivating seminars regarding the EU a global actor. The seminars motivated students to be interactive and ask questions about pressing issues.

 

 

Quotes from students:

 

“The highlight of the trip was when we visited NATO. We had Q&A sessions with 4 different personnel and I was able to get further information on a topic I had been studying in term 2, NATO’s role in the Ukraine conflict. For me this was an experience that I couldn’t have had elsewhere”. –Rimpal Kumbhani

 

“I was thrilled to go to the lobbying firm, Hill & Knowlton, and get a first hand experience on how the company operates. In general, the different visits gave us insight on how the public and private sectors are connected”. –Nina Volaric

 

“It was rewarding to get an insider’s view of the workings of the EU. It was truly a unique experience to get to interact with officials and experts in the field while exploring job opportunities”. – Susan Guarda

 

 

Looking back at the trip, it was a privilege to have visited the different organizations but even bigger privilege to be there under safe conditions. Our condolences go out to the families and loved ones affected by the Brussels attacks.

 

30
Mar

That morning on the 5th day was probably one of the hardest to wake up from after a very fun late night dinner with the MIR program at an amazing restaurant. We woke up bright and early for our final seminar of the week at Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company. After a brief walk, we arrived at the Brussels branch of the company. The seminar took a different path than I thought it would have. Rather than being just broad overview of the company, it was focused mainly on role, need, and process of lobbying for companies like Telefonica in Brussels. Our speaker had lived and worked in Washington DC and made some really good and insightful comparisons about how things would work in DC in the USA and in Brussels for EU institutions. He opened up the floor for questions which many of us took advantage of to ask the questions that were gnawing at us.

Brussels Day 5_telefonicaAfter the seminar, we went back to the hotel and it was time to pack up and check out. Most of the MIR students decided to fly back to Madrid on Monday instead of immediately leaving after the seminar on Friday. I, on the other hand had a flight to Morocco for 8 days of solo travel around the country.

After packing up, I entrusted my laptop and my formal clothing that I had brought for the week to a fellow MIR student to take back to Spain for me, and as a result have been unable to update for the past week and a half.

My Morocco adventure was truly unforgettable and I’ve come back now with many new experiences, new friends from different parts of the world, and also a small bout of stomach troubles typical of traveling to other countries. It’s all a part of the experience!

Today was the first day of classes of the spring quarter of the program. I can’t believe that we only have 3 months left of studies before graduation. The studies and schoolwork here are intensive which also distorts the sense of time. When you’re busy as a bee, time flies without you noticing at all. I have to savor it while it lasts!

Calvin

 

This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the Master in International Relations yearly trip to Brussels. 

You can read more blogposts on the Brussels trip here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4

27
Mar

Day 4 in Brussels:

It is 1 am and I am absolutely exhausted from the day! Today was the long awaited NATO trip. We had some logistical issues with NATO since they sent their transport bus to the wrong hotel, but after a few phone calls, the problem was resolved and we were on our way. The compound is quite guarded with barbed wire surrounding the perimeter. To enter the compound, we had to surrender any recording devices, including our cellphones, and pass through security. After entering, we had a series of speakers come in to talk to us about the organization. The room that we were placed in had a unique character about it. It was painted in a light blue pastel color with a long rectangular table that stretched throughout the length of the room. The table was covered with microphones and headsets that were neatly placed in front of each seat. One particular speaker was a retired military officer in the British army especially captivated us with his chummy and witty humor and his willingness to answer questions without dancing around the issue. We also were able to have lunch in the NATO facility which was quite delicious! I had a French inspired duck dish with croquets and vegetables.

After the NATO visit, we had free time until 9 pm that night which was when we would have our program dinner with everyone. A few of the students and I decided to use this time to explore downtown Brussels and to get some tourist traveling done. Despite the cold and rainy weather, we had a blast navigating the city. Once we returned to the hotel, we headed to our dinner. The menu was absolutely delicious! The venue was very nicely decorated and had a very unique character about it. Everyone was having a great time with the delicious food, wine, and good conversation. Tomorrow we have one more seminar before having the official field work portion of the trip be over. Time to sleep! Good night!

Calvin

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This is part of a series where current Master in International Relations (MIR) student Calvin Nguyen will share with us updates about the MIR program´s yearly trip to Brussels.

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