Viviamo Summer School: Day 8 – UN Conferences of 1990s


Monday 24th July


8am: Emilia and Fr Flavius go for a half hour interview on the local television breakfast show. Emilia does not speak Romanian: a lot of what she says gets lost in the translation, but she managed to transmit the energy and enthusiasm of the participants, and their love of Romania. Fr Flavius does a great job of explaining the main themes and ideas underpinning Viviamo.  It is great to have this partnership between Caritas and World Youth Alliance!  The local people are very open and impressed by the practical work undertaken on the previous Friday.


9.30am: Morning session starts. Mary Halpine, future President of the World Youth Alliance, leads the morning session on the UN.  Participants hear more background on the UN conferences of the 1990s – including the story of the Cairo+5 conference during which the World Youth Alliance was born.


11am: Participants split into groups to negotiate a paragraph of language for the UN.  Each group represents a different country or group of countries. The EU delegation decide to write a song to sum up their position… We will continue to work on the song and hope one day to record a CD. For more details, contact the office.


1pm: We go for a fantastic lunch at a local hotel.  We eat our three course meal in small groups, building up solidarity and strong friendships, picking up new arrivals from the airport, in between courses. We also sing Happy Birthday to Magdalena and enjoy the scorching sun on the walk back.


3pm: We start the afternoon discussions in groups: after a more detailed analysis of the documents contained in the Track A training packs, each group prepares a presentation on Cairo+5 or Beijing+5. The Cairo+5 groups gets a detailed overview on the background of UN conferences dealing with population and development. This includes a historical overview starting with Margaret Sanger and detailing some of the individuals, agencies, financial institutions and documents which explain the international focus on international population programmes.


5pm: Each group presents their thoughts, in the meantime answering the set questions of the second section of Track A.  Participants then continue to work on summarizing the themes of Viviamo and studying the set texts, with a view to compiling together a comprehensive overview in the form of a presentation.


8pm: We make plans to go out to ‘Weekend’ again, for a couple of celebratory Birthday drinks, and a quick swim in the outdoor pool.  Some people return early, a little depressed by the result of the voting at the European Union Council of Ministers, which opened up the option of EU funding for embryonic stem cell research, without any deadline on the cells created. This decision represents an incentive for Member States to continue to produce embryos and kill them in order to obtain stem cells which can then be used in EU funded research. Why can’t everyone see the need to shape policy in accordance with human dignity?  To the participants of Viviamo, it all seems so obvious…