Tag Archives: Tardis

Greetings from Geneva!

12 Oct

Hello everyone,

I am spending this year working at the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, (QUNO) on their well established and respected Human Rights & Refugees programme. QUNO represents the concerns of Quakers worldwide at the international level, which for the Human Rights and Refugees programme means engaging with UN human rights processes. QUNO is known and respected for its lunches whereby diplomats and country representatives are invited to meet at Quaker House over lunch in an informal setting and I was privileged to witness such an event in my first week. It was refreshing to observe the relaxed atmosphere and see how a safe space is created for questions to be asked openly.

Quaker House is a lovely place to work. As the name implies it is house, converted into an office but retaining its dining room, kitchen, balconies, garden and ‘fumoir’ –smoking room (see below and I should add that it is no longer used for smoking!).


The UN Human Rights Council was in session for three weeks in September, which meant that as well as following the events in the spaceship-like chamber (see below) there were also many different meetings, side events, and receptions all clamouring for my attention.


I spent a lot of time getting lost in the Palais des Nations (the main UN building in Geneva) through the labyrinth of corridors and rooms, passing a few peacocks on the way…


I like the way that the government representatives are referred to by their country’s name, how people say “Germany is in the room” as though the room were of Tardis-like proportions. My highlight of the month was undoubtedly reading an oral statement in the Human Rights Council on behalf of the Quakers, regarding children of parents sentenced to death. You can view the video here.

Outside of work, Ellie and I have been making the most of life in Geneva, including swimming in the lake, renting bikes to explore the city, popping to France and a local market to do our weekly shop and the ritual baulking at the cost of a pint compared to the UK.

Thank you for reading, feel free to ask any questions or make comments and do share our blog.


Haifa Rashed, Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva.

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