Katrina Dickins: A Week in Geneva

Wow, we’ve only been here a week, but it’s been a week jam-packed full of meetings and tours! Just thought I’d share a bit about what we’ve been doing and some tips for any of you who might be travelling to Geneva. (Apologies in advance - it’s a bit long, but hopefully the pictures make up for it!)

Monday:

After a pretty hassle-free flight, we landed at around 6:30am, grabbed a free transport card from the airport and headed out to our Airbnb. We had a little trouble opening the door to our apartment at first, until the lady across the hallway heard us and came out to rescue us!

 View from our apartment - spot the water jet!

View from our apartment - spot the water jet!

We then had a couple hours to grab lunch and have a look around a supermarket before heading to our walking tour. I would definitely recommend buying a week-long transport card if you’re planning on staying this long, as it works out to be cheaper and means you don’t have to walk outside when it’s barely 5 degrees! The walking tour itself was super fun and a great way to learn insights into the city that we would have never known before.

 St Pierre Cathedral

St Pierre Cathedral

We then had to rush off to the CERN for the TED talk on Trust and Rights in the Digital Age – where, on the bus ride, it started snowing! (very exciting to someone who’s never seen snow before). We arrived a little late, and at this point were so exhausted that I don’t think we learnt a hell of a lot, but made for an interesting experience.

Tuesday:

This morning, we had plenty of time to sleep in – although all of us were awake and up by 6:30! We had a chance to explore the city a bit before meeting the New Zealand Permanent Mission, which was incredibly interesting as the women all had very different perspectives. I would recommend coming prepared with a few questions, as they have a lot of knowledge they can give you if you ask the right things! Following this, we had two more events (and some pasta in the middle for dinner!). The first was on Job Market Competition - Robots, Software, and Immigrants, which isn’t a huge interest area for me personally but was interesting nevertheless. The 2nd was on Africa in a 2030 Perspective, which was more exciting, but I was too exhausted to get the most out of it – not ideal, but it was still an amazing opportunity to go!

Wednesday:

This morning, we were up early again, and had the chance to go on a tour of the ILO, and this was super fascinating as it provided us insights into the way the organisation is run. We then grabbed lunch at their cafeteria – definitely would recommend this if you’re looking for decent food on a budget!

 The lunch I had - vege pancake with a choc banana crumble for dessert

The lunch I had - vege pancake with a choc banana crumble for dessert

We then meet Rebecca from Plan International, who showed us her work on girls’ rights. This was extremely captivating to me, as someone who’d only really focused on women’s rights, so I loved getting to chat to her. We then wandered around the Red Cross Museum, which I found to be very thought-provoking and would recommend to anyone visiting Geneva, especially with their current temporary exhibition providing some incredible photography.

 One of the main exhibitions at the museum

One of the main exhibitions at the museum

Thursday:

Today we got to tour the UN, which was fun, and the UN gift shop sells some great, more-affordable chocolate if you’re looking for some gifts to take home!

 The room donated by Spain

The room donated by Spain

We then had most of the day to do some shopping (getting in on all the black-Friday sales!), which was ideal as most shops close pretty early – similar to NZ – and nothing is open at all on a Sunday (not even the supermarkets!) and time to pop in to see some of the knowledgeable ladies working on the UPR review to learn about the work they’re doing. We then took a boat (gotta love Geneva’s public transport system) to meet Pauline from the UNHCR for some wine and fondue. The fondue was amazing, and Pauline has had some enthralling experiences and I loved getting to chat to her.

Friday:

We had a bit of a late start again, as our initial talk at the World Bank was cancelled, so we started our (very expensive) chocolate shopping at some of the local chocolatiers. We then headed back to the UN for a talk on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Woman’s Take. This was probably my favourite talk, sparking some interesting ideas I have for my research project when I get back to NZ. We then met former NZ Human Rights Commission staffer and current UN intern Anneliese Boston, who was also at the talk, for a quick chat on her work in the UN and previously in NZ. We then finished our shopping – knowing everything would be closed on Sunday – and grabbed dinner at Chez ma Cousine, which is a great place for a cheap meal (15 chf, about 23 nzd, for half a chicken, salad and potato!)

 Two half chickens and a Thai Chicken salad

Two half chickens and a Thai Chicken salad

Saturday:

We had a free day, so headed out to Annecy in France. I would definitely recommend coming here, as it’s less than an hour by bus, the bus ride provides some amazing views of French countryside and Annecy itself is known as the “Venice of the Alps” - it definitely lives up to its’ name!

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The old town was beautiful, with a cute little market place going on, and is a lot more reasonably priced than Geneva. We spent the day wandering around and eating some amazing crepes (because you can’t go to France and not eat crepes!).

 The specialty of the very popular creperia we visited

The specialty of the very popular creperia we visited

Now, I’m excited to actually get to start the forum we’re here for, especially now that I have some basic insights into what I’m interested in and how I can use this to guide my research project. Until next time!

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All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences.