Rotary Summer Academy Attendee Documents his Experience

Jul 16, 2015

On the third day of the Rotary Summer Academy, attendee Kristin Watkins shadowed the UNDP Communications Associate as he had an interest in the field. Below is the article he wrote, with accompanying photos.

Interesting, exhilarating, informative and very educational were just some of the words used by the attendants of the Rotary Club of Barbados Summer Academy at the United Nations House Marine Gardens from Monday, July 13th to Thursday 16th to describe their experience of the academy. The half-day academy aims to improve understanding for career options in national, sub-regional, regional and international development and the work of the UN agencies based in Barbados. The sessions underscored the match between development agencies and the work of philanthropic organizations such as Rotary International in their work to improve the quality of life in communities across the globe. Some agencies represented, included: FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, CDEMA: Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management, UNDP: United Nations Development Program, UN women: United Nations Women and PAHO: Pan American Health Organization. Representatives of these different organizations gave lectures on what their organizations did, the problems and challenges facing the region and ways in which not just us who were attending, but what others could do to help improve conditions for sustainable development and aid those disenfranchised, at risk, and marginalized peoples.

I interviewed some of the other attendants, asking what they took away from the experience. They all agreed that it they had been an excellent program. What was the most salient thing you learnt? Shane Clarke responded: “Seeing how the different topics and areas connected and their relevance to the world.” “Learning about the UN Women” asserted Tyanna King, she would quickly add, very enthusiastically “I’m a feminist, a strong feminist!” When asked if she felt more informed of or aware of salient issues affecting the world, she responded “yes” citing the information relating to female abuse around the globe “one in three women are sexually abused. That was really informative.” Tyanna quickly added that she challenged whether or not the statistic was true suggesting that she thinks it’s higher, but that she is emboldened regardless to lessen these numbers.  
        
Krystal Hoyte and Romario Griffith, who were particularly interested in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) responded “yes” to the latter question, and were pleased in learning how they could apply their knowledge and skills to address international issues of law and justice. I asked what was one downside to the experience, Romario asserted “lack of time to learn more.” Another attendant, Jonathan Agard responded “no downsides.” I asked finally if my interviewees were now considering a career at the UN and got an answer range between “yes” and “definitely”.
                 
My own experience can pretty much be summed up by everything my interviewees said. To say that I wouldn’t want to be a part of a global initiative, that brings people from across the four corners of the earth of different cultures and beliefs, who all believe in and work tirelessly for universal justice, peace, equity, equality and sustainability, would be tantamount to me saying that I wouldn’t wish to be alive.

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Academy attendees engage in dialogue
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Guidelines for participants to create an objective tree
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Participants engage in discussion
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UN Resident Representative, Stephen O'Malley address the students
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Students celebrate at the end of the Academy
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Students celebrate at the end of the Academy
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UN Intern, Wendy Dyemma
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UN Intern, Wendy Dyemma
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UNDP Finance Associate, Kareem Howard
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UNDP Finance Associate, Kareem Howard
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Rotary Summer Academy participants shadow UN Human Rights Officer, Michelle Brathwaite
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Rotary Summer Academy participants shadow UN Human Rights Officer, Michelle Brathwaite
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UN staff member
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UNDP Project Coordinator, Janine Chase
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Rotary Summer Academy participant shadows UNDP Communications Associate

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