JDI members and selected FIR students went to Geneva!

From 8 to 11 April 2018, seven members of the Junior Diplomat Initiative and five other students of the Faculty of International Relations had the opportunity to visit one of the world diplomacy centres – Geneva.

The main objective of this trip was to participate in the JDI Youth Dialogue, a conference organised by the Swiss branch of the JDI whose members are studying at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. In addition to attending the conference, students also visited the United Nations Office at Geneva, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva, and last but not least, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The study trip started at the UN Office at Geneva. Students took a tour of the Palace of Nations which initially served as the seat of the League of Nations. They visited conference rooms where human rights issues or the humanitarian agenda are being addressed. Throughout the excursion, interesting questions about the work of the United Nations in Geneva, the role of the organisation in the 21st century or its history were asked.

Another stop was CERN. An excursion to this scientific organisation that explores the basic structure of the universe was beneficial to everyone; it was interesting to look into a different field than diplomacy. Moreover, participants also got Inside CERN’s ATLAS particle detector, one of the main multi-purpose detectors at the Large Hadron Collider.

On Tuesday, participants visited the WTO in the immediate proximity of Lake Geneva. Students were welcomed by Mr Fernando Puchol, a spokesman for the WTO, who presented history and structure of the organisation. He also emphasised that the WTO does not want to achieve trade liberalisation by all means. They sometimes promote trade barriers to protect consumers or the environment.

Furthermore, the trip included a visit of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organisations in Geneva. The FIR delegation was warmly welcomed by HE Mr Jan Kara and Mr Michal Kaplan from the department of political affairs, and Lenka Šustrová with Martin Točíček from the WTO department. During an almost two-hour-long debate, students and members of the mission discussed current international crises, the importance of permanent missions to international organisations, or the everyday life of Czech diplomats abroad.

The highlight of the study trip was participation in the JDI Youth Dialogue conference, the first of which was organised by students of the JDI home branch in 2013. The first panel of the conference was on “The Power of Women in Diplomacy”. Another topic of the conference was “Development of Diplomacy: The Case for Inclusion” which focused on the greater involvement of different actors in diplomacy. The third part of the conference consisted of workshops on different topics: one of the workshops dealt with the diplomatic protocol in the digital era, another tackled negotiation and civil society in the case of Syria, and the last was on “​What’s at Stake in a National Dialogue?”. To find out more about the conference, click here.

We would like to thank the Faculty of International Relations for the support that has made our study trip possible. We would also like to thank diplomats of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN Office at Geneva for their time and hospitality, and finally, we would like to thank JDI Geneva for the excellent programme they prepared for us.