Recently, in the February half term, I had the amazing opportunity to partake in a study visit to the UN. Previously, I had a vague idea of the work and function of the UN, however this experience really gave me a thorough understanding of the UN.
Each day I – and 36 other aspiring students – attended three or four talks given by members working for the numerous different organisations within the UN. The organisations we visited varied from the UN Refugee Agency to the World Trade Organisation to the International Environmental House.
It was quite surprising to see the sheer scope and multitude of varying tasks that the UN actually carries out. However, it was quite new to hear of how sometimes the UN can be limited in its responses due to having to be politically neutral as well as needing to be invited by countries in certain situations (for example when setting up refugee camps).
What was equally as surprising was that climate change and its impacts is a pressing matter for the near future. Climate change was featured in nearly every talk. The impacts of climate change include natural disasters that will result in an overwhelming amount of refugees. This really impacted my understanding that climate change is something that we can’t afford to neglect because we think it won’t impact us much here in England (with our already miserable weather). This helped me understand that its consequences will impact every corner of the world on a large scale, both socially and economically.
Overall, this experience gave me the opportunity to meet many passionate people with different opinions and ideas on current issues. Additionally, this experience helped me gain a deeper insight into the UN – how it has a role and responsibility in so many different things; helping the environment, trading, research on weather and natural disasters, refugees, etc. that I hadn’t previously known or even thought about.