Griffith Business School Honours student Jessica McDonald has visited Geneva and addressed the United Nations thanks to a grant from Griffith University.
During her two-week trip, she had the opportunity to speak on several important issues in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“It was an incredible experience,” Jessica says. “I ended up going over to Geneva for two weeks with the organisation and presented four speeches.
“Having ambassadors from all over the world really listening to you, and taking in your words and your input was an amazing experience.”
The Government and International Relations graduate had been completing a global internship with a non-government organisation in London, when her managers expressed they were impressed with her work and asked her to accompany them on an upcoming UN trip.
It’s an experience that she says has fuelled her ambitions to work for the United Nations once she graduates from her Honours year.
When she arrived in Geneva, Jessica was invited to observe proceedings before presenting her speeches on various topics, including women’s rights, the environment and climate change.
“The first week I watched all the debates; each day there were two sessions on two different topics. For example, they talked about the Myanmar crisis in one session, then the Gaza Strip.
“On other days the topics weren’t as specific. In the second week the NGOs were allowed to give their input on the topics discussed from the previous week.
“The NGO I was representing allowed me to give the speeches on what they wanted to present; I was so nervous but it was amazing,” Jessica says.
She says the experience, which was funded by the Business School, allowed her to network and make important career connections.
“I now have work and life experience that other students won’t have,” she explains. “It’s put me in really good stead for future job applications and given me an edge.”
“I also got to talk to people like the Australian Ambassador’s assistant, which was really helpful, especially since I haven’t taken a traditional path towards actually working for the UN and neither did he.
“It was interesting to hear how he worked in the public service and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before the UN.”
She says she’s extremely grateful to Griffith Business School for sponsoring her trip even though it wasn’t directly connected to her study requirements.
“I was at my internship in London and between degrees when I applied for the assistance; without the financial help of the Business School and the School of Government and International Relations I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go.”