Well, here we are, the beginning of March and less than a week until the start of the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). The last few months have gone by in a flash; I’m feeling equally prepared and unprepared for the next few weeks, though I don’t think I truly understood the extent of my organisational skills until I started gearing up for this trip. Our delegation has met every two weeks for the past several months and I’m excited to get to know these amazing women better. I have printed, highlighted, and color-coded every policy document and briefing statement I can think of – arranging them in a variety of binders and notebooks that I will undoubtedly curse at when having to carry them around the airport. One thing that astounds me is the incredible number of parallel events occurring in UN Headquarters and around New York City. There are dozens of events that peak my interest; I spent a whole day trying to plan out my itinerary and I still have a few slots that are double (and even triple) booked. I have varying program guides with titles like, “can’t miss!”, “hopefully?”, and “maybe if I get time”. With that in mind, there are a few themes and events that I’d really like to focus on:
Disaster and emergency management/humanitarianism
I’ve been involved in emergency care for the better part of the last decade, and in recent years have developed a passion for humanitarianism in emergencies – partly due to my involvement with the Canadian Red Cross. This morning, I secured a reservation for an event entitled, “Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies: Social Protection for Women and Girls in Emergencies”. This event is a collaboration by several hosts, including Canada, Nigeria, the International Organisation for Migration, and the Women’s Refugee Commission (among others). It will be an intimate event (with seating capacity of only fifty-three people) and will not occur until the middle of the second week, so I have ‘lots’ of time to decide how I will interact with this group.
I’ve been nursing for almost eleven years now; nursing is at the core of who I am. I take such pride in seeing fellow nurses excel in their specialties, especially when those specialties align with mine. The International Council of Nurses will be hosting an event called, “Innovative Exemplars in Global Nursing Practice, Education, Consultation and Partnership”, while Nurses Across the Borders Humanitarian Initiative will host, “Health as a Factor to Empowerment for Women”. Potentially related to the second event is an intriguing session hosted by Partners in Health, “Perspectives from Haiti and Rwanda: Health Interventions Supporting Adolescent Girls”. I don’t have much knowledge about health services in either of these countries, but sometimes that can make learning so much richer.
Adolescent/teen youth empowerment
“You don’t need to be a voice for the voiceless. Just pass the mic.” – Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer
I volunteer with a Vancouver-based non-profit named ShEvalesco, which aims to empower self-identified young women by accelerating the development of their confidence, assertiveness and resilience. I believe that greater gender equity can only be achieved with the help of our younger generations, and I am so pleased to see so many events that give space to adolescents and teen youth to speak for themselves. Organizations such as the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will encourage us to “Listen to Girls’ Voices” and Global GLOW will teach us about “The HerStory Campaign: Championing Girl-Driven Community Change”. Of particular interest to many in our delegation is a high-level intergenerational dialogue called “Take the Hot Seat”, where senior UN and government officials will engage with young leaders in a Q&A format (a must-see for sure!)
I am so humbled and thankful to BCCIC for encouraging my participation in CSW63. March is sure to be a busy month, but a month that I will never forget. Stay tuned for updates as our BCCIC delegation navigates CSW63 in The Big Apple!