Bonjour. I hope all is well in the USA. Europe is warming up ever so slightly. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday at the United Nations. Monday, Mr. Greg Balke discussed with us the United Nations High Committee for Refugees. I would like to inform you all that according to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is, ‘an individual who has a well founded fear of persecution for reasons of religion, nationality, membership of a particular group, political opinion, and race, that is now outside their country of origin and do not wish to go back.’ I give you this definition to clarify the fact that no one displaced from his or her home due to a natural disaster is a refugee (Hurricane Katrina, or Haiti). A refugee is a person with a ‘well founded’ fear of home, not just someone who is displaced. Sooo . . . let’s keep that in mind when we are labeling people . . . Ok thanks.
Tuesday we went back to the United Nations and met with an official from Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This organization lost thirteen people to the earthquake in Haiti while simultaneously heading the relief on the ground; they left Geneva two hours after the world was alerted about the natural disaster. This organization works only in the midst of a disaster, once the area is stabilized their job is done and other organizations move in to assist.
Ok . . . I could elaborate more on the organizations of the United Nations that we have been meeting with but I have to level with you all. The United Nations has more sub organizations than the Lord should allow. I wonder to myself if the Secretary General (the head of the UN) even knows what all the acronyms stand for. It’s kind of ridiculous, a consolidation of these organizations could save all the 192 nation states that contribute annually to the UN a lot of money, just saying.
Wednesday, for me was a pretty productive day. I had a meeting with Dr. Murphy (as you faithful readers know he is a rather famous man in the UN system and has been very active in the peacekeeping arena) it went very well. There are some people you meet that leave you feeling full, he gave me more information and examples than I knew what to do with. But before the meeting the academic advisors held review sessions at the S.I.T. office on all of the concepts we have discussed so far such as international security, migration, the UN System, human rights/human rights law, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Non-State Actors (NSAs), and so much more. The review was very beneficial because our papers on International Security in the 21st Century were due early in the evening. I finished mine a while ago, so I was maxin’ and relaxin’ until I went to the Geneva School of Diplomacy to meet with Dr. Murphy in the afternoon.
To read more of my interview with Dr. Colum Murphy click here.