So, I’m in Hiroshima right now and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world! I have been given this enormous opportunity to represent Flinders University at the International Network of Universities Seminar on Global Peace and Citizenship, the topic being Refugees in Global Society. I have the chance to engage in vital discussions, meet inspirational individuals and increase my knowledge on the issue of Refugees and Internally Displaced People. What an opportunity!!
I was so excited to arrive in Japan. I am not only incredibly passionate about human rights and refugee issues, but I adore the Japanese culture and am obsessed with Sushi (hehe!), so the fact that I could combine these interests was just perfect.
The last few days have involved really getting to know the conference attendees and the particular students who are in my country group (Myanmar) for the final United Nations role play in a couple of days. Everyone is so excited and grateful to be here, which results in such an incredible, positive energy flowing throughout the conference. One challenge (a GOOD challenge) has been working in a professional context, as well as interacting socially, with people who do not speak english as their first language. The work so far has required patience, cooperation and understanding- what fantastic skills to develop! There have also been absolutely hilarious misunderstandings, which have worked as perfect ice-breakers!
Apart from the informative workshops and lectures, we have also been quite privileged to experience the cultural and historic aspects of Japan. We were lucky enough to attend the 69th Anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima (6 Aug, 1945, 8:15am). Over 40,000 people took part in the memorial. The sheer numbers were mind-blowing and the experience was hugely emotional and thought-provoking. The memorial was complemented with a personal account from a survivor of the tragedy. I hung on to every single word that came from the lips of this wise woman; her descriptions and memories were haunting, and I am sure will stay with me forever.
I really look forward to expanding on these experiences and concepts in another blog post. I know that the United Nations role play on the final day of the conference is going to be quite an experience. I really cannot wait!
Over and out… time for some sushi!!