In spring 2008, while taking part in a guided tour at the Palais des Nations, I was struck by the international environment and the vibrant atmosphere, and I could not help daydreaming what it would be like to be part of such a complex world that strives to defend human rights on a global scale. And yet, exactly 10 years later, I found myself working inside those walls, following meetings, conferences and events for the promotion of equality, peace and tolerance. This was definitely one of the highlights of my internship at OIDEL, which gave me the chance to have first hand experience of international human rights implementation.
Not only the time spent at the Palais, but also life at the office was a valuable experience. Working in the domain of the right to and freedom of education complemented my philosophical background. It also gave me the opportunity to put into practice what I have been studying during my MA in applied ethics, which has a focus on law and global challenges.
At Oidel there is always a lot of work to do and interns are given the most disparate tasks, requiring flexibility and adaptability while gaining a wider range of experiences. What surprised me the most was the familiar and friendly atmosphere that welcomed me at the office everyday, which made the past three months even more enjoyable. I also appreciated the opportunity of practicing Spanish and English as well as the chance of getting a bit more familiar with French.
These three months were not easy for Oidel: when the General Director, Mr Fernandez, passed away at the end of October, it was a hard moment for all, both personally and professionally. Yet everyone’s reaction showed me how inspirational Mr Fernandez had been, devoting not only his work but his entire life to the defence of the right to education, in the firm conviction that the latter is the key to the integral development of personal identity.
In conclusion, I can say that my experience in Geneva definitely lived up to my expectations, so I am saying au revoir to this beautiful city taking with me new skills, new interests and many good memories.
Cecilia Litta Modignani