Welcome back to the latest instalment of the UniCrew Visits, where we tell the stories of cool people going to cool places.
This week I sat down with Briar from the UniCrew Exec to chat about her experience at the Harvard National Model United Nations 2016 and discuss the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and how they relate to UniCrew!
Jessie: Hello, hello, this is a bit weird eh.
Briar: Just a bit (laughs).
J: We pretty much just had this conversation and now we are going through it all again cause I didn’t record it (fail).
Anyways, tell me a little bit about the trip.
B: Basically, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Harvard Model UN in late January, early February. This is a conference with loads of students from all around the world coming together to learn more about the United Nations, and represent a given country as part of the model UN. The NZ delegates represented Norway, so we got to attend model committee meetings for the committees which Norway is actually on.
J: You mentioned that you got to meet Helen Clark?
B: We got to ask her heaps about her role as head of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), and she is just an amazing person to talk to in terms of the breadth of her knowledge.
J: She has an amazing background at this point eh?
B: Definitely, and it shows in the way she can approach situations, she is so pragmatic and neutral with her response to different issues. Its very inspiring.
J: So are you Team Helen all the way then? (Helen Clark is currently in the running to become the United Nations Secretary General)
B: Oh yeah, #helenforUNSG!
J: #helen4life (laughs).
So that was one of the highlights, you also mentioned that you got to do a lot of travelling around the United States during this trip, can you tell us a bit about that?
B: We started in San Francisco, and we biked to the Golden Gate Bridge, went to China Town. We walked the United Nations walkway, which is to signify where the United Nations Charter was signed. On the ground as you walk along is the pre-amble to the first Charter of the United Nations, so our group all walked along in the pouring rain, reading the ground like the political nerds that we are.
We then went to Washington DC, which is essentially the political capital of the United States. We went to Capitol Hill, got to see the Supreme Court, which as a law student was pretty cool. I wished we could have seen the notorious RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the few female Supreme Court Justices).
J: It all sounds amazing, so jelly.
B: OH, we went to the White House as well-
J: I can’t believe you forgot a trip to the White House, just casually
B: Actually, while we were there, the Secret Service kind of came out of nowhere and ushered us all back.
B: We figured out that the Columbian Ambassador was leaving, so they were letting him leave. But I loved how there was a Secret Service guy on a bicycle.
J: That’s great HA,
B: He would kind of just pull up, oh and there was also a squirrel.
J: (Laughing) So the key part of the White House, Secret Service guy on a bike, and SQUIRRELS.
B: (Also laughing) Pretty much yep. Anyways from Washington we were onto Boston, where the actual conference was being held. Representing Norway, we had prepared to speak at our committee on two different topics, but only one would be selected, which was the rights of female prisoners.
The next four days were just more committee meetings, following that was another two days where we needed to go out to another area, and it was a -18 degree snow day. I was in open toed heels –
J: NO, oh dear,
B: Yeah, oops. We did also visit Harvard whilst there, which was awesome, and ate in the law school cafeteria, which again was awesome for me as a law student.
J: Setting your sights, love it!
B: From Boston, we went to New York –
J: (fake cries) so jealous!
B: So cool, jamming to Empire State of Mind, New York New York on the train there. Highlights were of course visiting the UN Headquarters, going to see 2 Broadway Shows, went to an NBA game. We spent the longest in New York, and it wasn’t nearly long enough.
J: Urgh, I am DYING to go there –
B: Everyone should go there, I can’t wait to go back eventually.
So then we went onto Hawaii, and just relaxed for the end of our trip!
J: Nice, urgh take me with you.
But anyways, so the main reason we are talking about this trip, is because at UniCrew we are trying to incorporate the United Nations Global Goals into a lot of what we do. So can you tell us a little bit about those?
B: So the Global Goals for Sustainable Development replace the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015.
The Global Goals expand and build on the work of those original goals. The way they are laid out (as 17 goals relating to different areas of sustainable development) makes it easy for people to identify goals and work towards them.
So at UniCrew, we are trying to identify what different goals relate to different volunteering opportunities, so like for example if someone is trying to end poverty, we can say hey-
J: Like here’s this organisation which is also passionate about ending poverty, and they have this role that would be great for you.
B: Exactly. One of the goals that I really like –
J: That was my next question, you are one step ahead of me haha,
B: Ha, I like them all, but one in particular is goal #11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.
J: Why do you identify with that goal then?
B: I really like the idea that the international community has recognised the importance of the community unit. And it feeds off a lot of the other goals as well –
J: Right, cause some are quite specific, and others are more broad.
B: Exactly, you’ve got things like zero hunger for example,
J: Which encompasses a lot of things,
B: And I like the idea of working with smaller units like a community, to achieve some of the bigger goals like that.
The Global Goals are becoming a big part of our work at UniCrew. We are excited to keep using the #globalgoals to make volunteering opportunities meaningful and accessible for everyone!
Right now you can apply for funding as part of Operation Global Goals, to get your community project funded! If you are a student club or group what are you waiting for? Apply here!