What is that brings more than a hundred young students from all over the world to gather in Rome and spend four days intensively working together? Surely the hope to gain professional skills and access to useful networks, but I think that there is something more that connects all the participants of the International Careers Festival: the idea that we can all learn something from each other, and that our diversity will bring us new ideas and perspectives. We are all human beings, different but so similar to each other, and we know that we all deserve mutual trust and respect. I could bet that all the participants of this extraordinary festival have this same belief, and that’s why so many activities and projects are focused on the topic of Human Rights. Indeed, many of the students have chosen to participate in the International Careers Course or in the Model United Nations to simulate the work of those figures who promote and protect Human Rights, like diplomats, NGOs, and major representative institutions.
Professionals from a wide range of institutions have come to the festival each day, and have been a source of great inspiration; for instance, Giulia Pirozzi, the Individual Activism Officer of Amnesty International Italia. Her experience and success in the field of international cooperation and Human Rights have allowed her to give precious advice both to the International Careers Course participants and to the MUN members. During our interview she has indeed called for more dialogue between various international institutions, and has encouraged the MUN members to develop this aspect in their simulation, to produce a concrete change in the future.
Human Rights are frequently endangered in conflict situations, and for this reason the institutions responsible of handling crisis and conducting military operations must commit to the protection of civil population in these scenarios. Doctor Guillaume Lasconjarias, researcher at the NATO Defense College, has explained that not only NATO is committed to the avoidance of any civilian victim, but is also actively promoting the well being of communities endangered by the war: the Cultural Protection Programs focuses exactly on the preservation of civil heritage and cultural properties, to guarantee that, after the end of conflicts, civilians still have places where to reconnect to their historical and social background.
All the students that participate to the Rome Model United Nations consider the protection and promotion of human rights as an essential feature of the UN, but the ones who are part of the UNHCR committee are especially aware of their importance, since refugees are too often stripped of their liberties, and may suffer terrible abuses. The Italian student Flavia Minelli has chosen to take part in the UNHCR simulation since, as she told us, refugees and displaced people don’t have any kind of representation, and they rely entirely on international organizations. The only way to address the issue is therefore a joint effort between NGOs, governments, and supranational organization like the UN.
In a world where diversity is frequently linked with prejudice and discrimination, the awareness and commitment of these young people are more important than ever. That’s why projects as the International Careers Festival are so significant: they reunite all these young adults, so that they can be inspired by each other, exchange ideas and approaches, and continue their lives even more prepared and motivated. As Malala Yousafzai used to say: “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world”.
Team 5 - Press Game