Today we spent four hours in an intensive training session to prepare for the week of lobbying at the UN. Many speakers came to share their own experiences and to give us their advice. After seeing the training schedule a few days ago, I had been looking forward to hearing the two diplomats who were to come share some of their experiences of working at the UN. I was able to understand first-hand how difficult diplomatic work really is, but that it is so important to have dedicated individuals representing our values. One of the diplomats also gave a piece of practical advice that I was sure to write down. The diplomat said to “Put up your hand. Look them in the eye. Tell them it violates your conscience.” As simple as it may sound, this three-step tool may come in handy when I hear something that I disagree with since I am not yet sure how to firmly but respectfully defend my position. Other speakers were lobbyists themselves.
They taught us effective ways to share information with delegates. I learned about some euphemisms and misleading terms that unfortunately are used in official documents to promote a specific agenda. These are used to create the appearance of consensus on certain interpretations of language. The lobbyists also provided further evidence that will be useful in informing delegates. I had never read the San Jose Articles which were put together by lawyers, doctors, and others. The articles clarify that there is in fact no right to abortion under international law. All those who interpret “sexual and reproductive rights” as the right to abortion have been misled, for this definition is not upheld in international law.
With this advice and information fresh in my mind, I am looking forward to the morning when we will begin lobbying at the UN. The International Youth Coalition is ready to represent!