In 2005, EUJS obtained a special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) - giving EUJS the opportunity to be the voice of Jewish students in Europe on an international platform. For the past 13 years, once a year, EUJS has brought delegations of the most promising young Jewish student leaders to the UNHRC, representing EUJS and acting as 'Ambassadors' on behalf of their local communities and EUJS' international community as a whole.
Once again this year, from July 1st to 5th, 20 exceptional student leaders from all over Europe, but also Israel, South Africa and even Guatemala were given the unique opportunity to experience the UN first hand and to get acquainted with the workings of the UNHRC. We met with diplomats, human rights activists, experts and NGO leadership. We strived to provide young activists with the tools to engage with the international community, the understanding that international politics are accessible for young people and the inspiration to work together for an improved world.
We sat down with the Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, with the EU Mission to the UN in Geneva; with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; with Human Rights and Jewish organizations such as UN Watch, ALMA - IHL, the International Red Cross and the World Jewish Congress respectively; we interacted with the local Jewish community, we spoke with Tzur Goldin, the Israeli soldier and activist whose brother's body is being held hostage in Gaza since 2014.
As the seminar's highlight relies in the opportunity to address the UN Human Rights Council on agenda items relevant to EUJS' vision and mission, three select participants and the EUJS President delivered powerful speeches during the General Debate of the 38th Session of the UNHRC, inspiring their peers and reinforcing EUJS' belief in the importance of this seminar.
Naomi Bennett addressed the Council on the notorious Item 7 - "The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories"; Gina Feldner-Busztin addressed the Council on Item 8 - Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. Gina stood up against antigypsism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance; David Pinchasov addressed the Council on Item 9 – Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. David called for the much-needed adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism; whereas EUJS President, Alina Bricman also addressed the Council under Item 9 on the special report on Nazism and Neo-nazism.
Today it is more important than ever that young Jews stay motivated and are given the opportunity to formulate their arguments and advocate on behalf of their communities. In these times of great intensity, EUJS is committed to serve as a facilitator for the thriving young Jewish generation willing to play its role for a better future.
A big shout out to ARIEL - The Geneva Union of Jewish Students for their wholehearted support and friendship. As hosts, you never fail to make every detail special!
Thank you NOÉ pour la jeunesse, UN Watch, RSB Stiftung Foundation, SIG - The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and B'nai B'rith Geneva for your contribution in forming the next generation of European Jewish activists and for your continuous efforts to make this seminar happen!