Friday, April 17, 2009

On My Way to the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva

I am sitting at DIA waiting for my flight to take off for a new adventure. (Blogging is also a new adventure, I might add.) This new adventure is traveling to Geneva, Switzerland as one of 21 national delegates from my generation and the only Coloradoan selected by American Jewish Committee (AJC) to attend the UN Durban Review Conference, April 20-24. We are all representatives from ACCESS, the 20- and 30-somethings arm of AJC, created to engage the next generation in domestic and international public affairs, and issues of concern to the global Jewish community.  

It is an honor for me to be a part of this delegation. We will have a unique opportunity to follow official proceedings, meet with diplomatic delegations, report on the street environment, discuss issues with the media and witness the impact of non-governmental organizations on international affairs.

The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, was supposed to be the most significant global effort to tackle the complexities of racism and all forms of bigotry and prejudice; instead it perpetuated a forum of anti-Semitic discourse, a tone far from the purpose of the conference.

The hope is that this year’s conference refocuses its purpose to re-evaluate, implement and confirm the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, renewing confidence in all international stakeholders that the mission of the Durban Review is truly to create a more tolerant and understanding world. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, can be found at

They just announced my flight is boarding, so I must go. Please check back often as I hope to post frequent blogs about my experiences at the conference. Thank you for taking the time to read. 

Looking forward to sunnier skies in Geneva...


  1. This is so amazing Melissa! Loved your editorial in the Denver Post this morning, can't wait to hear more!!!

  2. Elizabeth tuned me into what you are up to these days. I had no idea! And I am so in awe! It's Amazing! I look forward to reading your future fantastic blogs. -Kelsey Gryniewicz