Reading MA Student at 56th United Nations Graduate Study Programme

The 56th United Nations Graduate Study Programme, at UN Headquarters in Geneva. From more than 1000 applications from several universities in 193 countries, 52 participants from 45 countries were selected to attend the Programme in July 2018. One of these was University of Reading MA International Security Studies student Mustafa Aryan.

For two weeks, Mustafa studied with amazing people from organisations around the world and he has shared his report with us.

Week One – United Nations Graduate Study Programme, Geneva- Switzerland (GSP)

On 2nd July, the Programme was officially opened by Ms. Alessandra Velluci, Director of the UN Information Service (UNIS), followed by the keynote speech of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

Senior officials and experts of the United Nations and of the Geneva-based specialized agencies: Mr. Rheal LeBlanc Chief of the Press and External Relations of the UNIS, Mr. Cedric Sapey, Public Information Officer of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Ms. Viviane Brunne, Political Affairs Officer Office of the Director General of the UN Office in Geneva; Mr. Jonathan Fowler, Chief of Communications, Information and Outreach of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Ms. Elena Ippoliti Human Rights Officer; Mr. James Rodehaver, Coordinator Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic of the OHCHR; Mr. Rupert Colville, Spokesperson and Head of Media Office of the OHCHR; Ms. Laura Dolci, Manager of the Humanitarian Funds at OHCHR; Mr. Marcus Stahlhofer Technical Officer at World Health Organization (WHO); and Mr. Vencent Cochetel, Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, UNHCR gave lectures on their principles, purposes and activities.

During the first week, we visited the UN Library and League of Nations Museum, and took a guided tour of the Palais des Nations (UN Headquarters in Geneva). We also attended the final day of the 38th session of the Human Rights Council.

The programme also includes group working projects. 56 selected participants from 45 countries are assigned to three main groups to work on specific projects related to Human Rights and Right to Development.

Week Two:

Following the first week, several other senior officials and experts of the United Nations and of the Geneva-based specialized agencies such as Mr. Josep Gari, Senior Policy Advisor, Sustainable Development Cluster, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Ms. Vanessa Huguenin, Public Information Officer, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); Mr. Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Member of the UN Human Rights Committee; Ms. Marta Hurtado, International Correspondent, Spanish News Agency (EFE); Ms. Elena Cristina Nitoi, Human Resources Officer Human Resources Management Service; Mr. John Fisher, Geneva Director, Human Rights Watch; and Mr. Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, gave lectures on their principles, purposes and activities.

The second week also included an information session at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In the final day, the working groups presented their research projects related to Human Rights, Victims of Terrorism and Right to Development. The participants were given certificates signed by Director General of the UN in Geneva.

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