Throughout the years, I had done a couple of activities that give me more perspective in global issues.
Firstly, in the 9th grade, we went to Phuket, Thailand, and one of my most memorable moments of that trip was being able to help clean up and build a school in a Burmese refugee camp. This moment was quite important to me as I had not really realised that how lucky I was to be studying in YIS and in Japan. It made me understand and realise that not everyone is lucky as I am, and while I had known this before, it gave me a reality check about the whole situation in the world about those who are not as fortunate.
In the school, we helped clean up, and repaint it. I helped mainly with the repainting of the walls. While other students helped paint a design for the one wall, I helped with just the simple painting of one colour. Firstly, I helped by painting the outside of the school, by repainting the doors and the walls. And after the outside was done, we moved into the classrooms and painted the inside. The entire experience is something I had never been through, and really opened my mind up especially when we got to see the children come to school and work with them.
This experience reminded me of how lucky am I to be in a lifestyle that allows me for an good education, where everything I need is available. Along with this, this trip showed me that Thailand is not only beaches and resorts – there is the other side of it, that is so often ignored by tourists. It’s a reminder for me that because some countries have a luxury side to them, it’s too easy to forget that there are so many that are less fortunate, and don’t get the support that they deserve.
Another more recent trip I’ve been on that opened my global perspectives was the MUN trip to IASAS in Bangkok, from November 12 to the 14th. I was the delegate of Sierra Leone in the Human Rights Council, so from the beginning I had to keep my mind open as Sierra Leone had different opinions of the topics then I did. The three topics were: the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, the question of increasing the economic, social and political inclusion of women and the question of treatment of protesters by security forces. Through research and multiple drafts of my speeches, I realised that my personal views had to be discarded for the next couple of days, to accurately represent Sierra Leone. After giving the opening speech to the council, the delegates separated into groups for one of the topics, and prepared to create resolutions for the topic chosen.
I had chosen to focus on the question of freedom of the press and the fostering of extremist views, and worked with countries such as Qatar, Sudan, and Cuba. Through creating the resolution, I understood how certain types of governments might work through saying one thing but saying the other. I felt this because this was the Human Rights Council, and humans deserve the right of freedom of speech. But, not all countries, such as Sierra Leone, want to achieve this due to the want of controlling the population. Because of this clauses had to be written in a way that the submitters’ countries would agree with, with the other delegates (not a part of the resolution) would not find suspicious and not morally right.
Later on in the conference when we debated all the resolutions, there had been situations in which my personal views had to be placed aside in order to accurately represent the situation in Sierra Leone – such as with women empowerment, where a strong argument was that by banning certain practices, such as female genital mutilation, insults the country’s cultural practices. Arguments such as this occurred throughout the conference and it allowed me to really understand the different situations that occurs in less economically developed countries.
Through seeing situations first hand in Phuket, or representing an LEDC that is so different to my own country, I’m able to have a broader view of the different types of lives that occur in different countries.
An elabroated audio file is found here.