4-day-experience in the 36th General Conference of UNESCO…

Now that I’m back home sitting on my desk and far from the UNESCO world,I can just tell you that the last days in the “big house” were an amazing experience!

For one day and a hafl(26th and 27th),Discussions at the forum were focused on “How does UNESCO contribute to building a culture of peace and to sustainable development”. It provided an opportunity to explore bold and innovative ideas and ways of promoting peace and prosperity in a globalized world, through UNESCO’s fields of competence. Keynote addresses were made day by  Pal Schmitt, President of the Republic of Hungary,  Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon,  Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada,  Pascal Irenée Koupaki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia and other special and important participants.

On the 28th morning and just before heading to the airport,I assisted to the presentation of the Youth Forum draft by the 2 youth delegates.A special thank was made by the representative of Indonesia followed by a big applause from the member states.

During evening social events,me and Roopa were socializing with the delegates and gathering the contacts of the National Commissions.We even talked about the March Meeting2012 to the representatives of Ghana who promised to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Education on Monday.

Most of the UNESCO offices in the countries belong to the Ministry of Education and they seem open to youth participation.For instance,encouranging the youth particpation in the National Commissions was one of the most recurrent recommendations of the Youth Forum and the General Conference.

I also had the chance to meet many interesting UNESCO staff: Mme Sonia Bahri,the chief of Science Policy & Capacity Building division,Mme Monthy,training officer at the Training & Career  Development Section who enlighted me about the internship in UNESCO and others that helped me a lot in my work.And what’s better than a dinner in a chic French restaurant with my predecessor Maxime Moulin (LO to UNESCO 2009-2010)!!!

I feel really sad that I had to leave before the end of the General Conference.Every day spent in UNESCO headquarter offers new opportunities for IFMSA.

This is the end of my first and not last adventure in Paris.I can proudly say that IFMSA participation was a real success and that we met all our expectations .

This is just the beginning of a long partnership story between IFMSA and UNESCO…

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Day 4 in the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris:A happy ending!

Welcome to the 4th and last day of the 7th Youth Forum live from UNESCO headquarter in Paris.
IFMSA  was missing one powerful member: Our LO to SCORP Nassima as she had to leave the previous day  but the delegation was still as effective as before.
In the morning session, every region had a meeting to discuss the final report written by the drafting committee. After 2 hours of suggestions and amendments, the delegates gathered all together to agree on the final draft.
As I said before” EFFECTIVENESS ” but also “SATISFACTION” were the key words of the day.
I was extremely happy to see that my recommendation for the National Commissions to advertise the participation program in their countries and prioritize youth initiatives was adopted in the report.
We even succeeded to include the recommendations about sexual education and HIV/AIDS to which Joško, our SCORA-D contributed  during the ‘cafe discussion’ on HIV-related issues and AIDS activism. For instance, IFMSA was part of the interview and the article published in UNAIDS website http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2011/october/20111021unescoyouthforum/
In the afternoon ,me and Josko had a meeting with the HIV/AIDS UNESCO section that were very helpful and open to our questions and suggestions. We discussed new opportunities that lie ahead such as externals for the Regional Meetings and General Assemblies, collaboration on sexuality education programmes, creating a publication of good practices on sexuality education programmes driven and led by youth organizations (hint – SCORA and IFMSA!). They were very interested in that idea that definitely must be followed upon!
Later, I met the people from the Climate Change section and gathered UNESCO interesting publications about both topics.I also tried to get UNESCO send us some hard copies for our next meetings.
Last night and of course last adventures of the forum: Lamia loosing her hat and gloves that she finds back  while waiting for the metro in the possession of a youth delegate from Uganda. Joško experiencing the Magheb culture in a nice Algerian restaurant with Tunisian and Algerian delegates. And last but not least Josko forgetting the IFMSA posters twice in the way to our way back home.  This time we did take the right metro direction 🙂
Dear IFMSA friends, this is the end of the IFMSA participation to the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum. Being both an IFMSA observer and a Tunisian young delegate was a rewarding learning experience: Exchanging of leadership experiences, identifying youth problems and advocating for change, contributing to the recommendations, observing the intercultural interaction…
The youth forum is organized every 2 years and the delegates are selected by the National Commissions. Therefore,I’d invite all of you to be in contact with your national commissions so that you may get the chance to be part of the next big adventure.
And as s LO to UNESCO,I would like to emphisize on the importance of UNESCO as one of the main partner of our Federation.I encourage all of you to seek for more information about what this UN agency is doing and how you can benefit from it.
Hope you were pleased to read this report and thank you very much for you trust. Also big thank you to my fellow IFMSA delegates Joško Miše (SCORA Director) and Nassima Dzair (SCORP LO) in being part of this amazing adventure and for giving input for the blog.
Your devoted LO to UNESCO Lamia Jouini.

Day 3 of the 7th Youth Forum in Paris:That’s just the begining!!!

Proceeding with the tremendous Youth Forum in Paris !!!
Today, our small but very efficient delegation was more and more active.
From IFMSA observer,I moved to the double status of IFMSA observer/Tunisian delegate.Now I feel unique and powerful:)
To become so,I met with the UNESCO ambassador of UNESCO here in an other UNESCO building for member states representatives.He was very happy and enthusiastic to meet me and assign me as Tunisian delegate and very proud when I told him about my position in IFMSA and what we are doing.He was very eager to help and put me in contact with the UNESCO chiefs of sectors and invited me to visit him again after the Youth Forum.
And here I found my self sitting with another Tunisian, Lebanese and Iraquian delegates making the final draft of the recommendations of the Arabic countries (Just forgot to mention that the night before we had a meeting with all the Arabic delegates to discuss our recommendations to this draft and that I was using my IFMSA skills as facilitator to moderate discussion:).
So I explain you what I meant by POWERFUL. As Tunisian delegate I could provide my inputs to the Arabic countries draft which will be taken in consideration in the final draft and I advocated for NGOs to be more heard and have our own session during the next forums with our own recommendations.Yes I’m kind of a double agent :p
So let’s hope this will work somehow!!!
After a meeting with the President of IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Students Associations) where she clearly expressed her wish to renew our Memorandum Of Understanding that expired last August, I spent some part of the afternoon with an another Tunisian UNESCO assistant working in the Youth section trying to understand how UNESCO works and how it’s structured.
   They call it ‘the big house’ here!!!
The last but not least part of the afternoon, Joško and me participated in the HIV/AIDS parallel session organized by UNAIDS and UNESCO about youth involvement in HIV/AIDS issues.
Our SCORA-D was one of the main contributor to the session and he promoted everything what IFMSA is doing in this field. He even lead the small working group that drafted the recommendations from the sessions and he presented them to the drafting commitee of the Youth Forum who decided to take into account five out of seven recommendations made!
Our LO to SCORP attended again the ongoing “conflict resolutions “workshop with Forest Whitakers and she introduced him IFMSA.He was definitely interested and impressed!
I’m so proud of the IFMSA delegation!
“Pour le rapport:
Today was the second day of the Conflict resolution workshop of Forest Whitaker and his team: Rashjree Patel and Aldo Civico.
It was on two parts that took the whole day, and it was very intensive.
Intensive in amount of information, intensive in quality, intensive in the rising of awareness it brought.
I think I experienced a paradigm shift today.
We touched upon everything from Leadership, Perception, Communication, Conflict Management, Problem-Solving to Awareness, Power of the mind, and breathing&meditation.
This has brought me a new model of a workshop that could be brought to the IFMSA.
I have been talking to Rashjree, Aldo and Forest, and will stay in touch with them to see how they could help implement this in SCORP, or in IFMSA in general.This workshop was so so inspiring and empowering, and the paradigm shift lies in this. You start perceiving things differently and you are aware of how much your personal leadership when founded on the right values can bring to the collective leadership.

This has truly been a defining experience that brings even more positivity and inspiration into IFMSA work” NASSIMA sharing her experience.

We are really lucky to be here and meet such an inspiring people,people that are changing the world, young leaders that are striving for a better future, activists that are fighting every single day to promote a culture of peace and equality…and I can see in this heroes all of you: IFMSA members and medical students all over the world.
In the end of the day, Joško and me again sitting in the metro talking about the meeting we are having tomorrow with a HIV/AIDS sector in UNESCO when suddenly Joško asks: Are you thinking what I am thinking? – Yes, we realized that we again took the wrong metro direction…”Jamais 2 sans 3 “as we say in French!! Hopefully , Josko’s computer is for sure in his bag this time!!!
Hope you are enjoying sharing this exciting adventure with us!
Keep checking out our blog!!
We’ll tell you absolutely everyhting you need to know!!
Your faithful but sleepy report from Paris
 Lamia,the UNESCO girl