A Swiss vacation could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The mesmerizing beauty of Jungfraujoch, an unforgettable hike on Mount Pilatus, the hanging walkway on Mount Titlis, Rhine falls, Schaffhausen, Fondue and chocolates are just some of the things that come to mind for most people who plan a Swiss vacation. In addition to these amazing attractions, Switzerland has two gems to offer tourists - CERN and United Nations Geneva. CERN is a particularly attractive destination for anyone working in a scientific field or interested in scientific research as it is home to the large Hadron collider. United Nations Geneva is an important tourist destination for anyone remotely interested in World Politics. A visit to the United Nations could be a life-changing experience if you choose to sit in one of their “open-to-public” meetings as an observer. Even if you are not interested in World Politics, you should consider visiting United Nations Geneva as it is a place where world leaders and representatives from various countries meet to discuss the major problems facing their nations, and important decisions get made that change the course of world events.
Planning your tour of the United Nations
Tickets to the guided tour of the United Nations in Geneva cannot be purchased online for groups containing less than 15 people. Individuals and smaller groups of people are considered walk-ins. It is highly recommended that you check their tours website to make sure that you do not walk in during a time slot when walk-ins are not allowed. As per the website, it takes about 40 minutes to go through the security check and get the tickets to the guided tour. University students, school children, senior citizens and disabled persons do get a discounted price for the tickets. They also sell photo frames with good pictures of the United Nations buildings.
Guided tour of the United Nations Geneva
The guided tour covers the major attractions in the United Nations buildings. One of the major attractions covered is the Human Rights and Alliance Civilization Room. This is the room where UN representatives gather around to represent the problems of their countries. This room is also well known for artwork by Miquel Barcelo, a famous artist from Spain. The tour will also cover Salles des Par Perdus. The tour also covers a visit to the Assembly Hall. The hall is known to be the largest room in the United Nations in Geneva. The tour includes a visit to the Council Chamber. The chamber is of historical significance not only due to its artwork but also due to the many negotiations that had significant impact on the world. The tour guide is likely to talk about some of the negotiations. The guided tour typically lasts about an hour. Guests are requested to check with the guide on taking pictures as guests are not allowed to take pictures in certain restricted areas.
Art work in United Nations Geneva
A tour of the United Nations in Geneva is well known for going through an amazing collection of artwork donated by various nations. The artworks are a collection of sculptures, paintings in ceilings, wall paintings and handicrafts. Almost every major conference room along the tour path in United Nations in Geneva has an interesting piece of artwork. There are a few very important noteworthy pieces to be observed - 1. “The Dream of Peace” by Henrik Sorensen, was donated by the Norwegian Government, 2. “In Women’s Hands” by Clara Garesio, created for the high level panel “The Power of Empowered Women” was donated by the delegation of the European Union, and 3. The most controversial painted ceiling in Room XX by Miquel Barcelo for its hefty $23M price. There are other interesting pieces of artwork along the path like “The arts and desires” and “The construction of UN Geneva” that are worth observing on the way. A visit to these noteworthy pieces of artwork are typically part of guided tours in United Nations in Geneva. You can request your tour guide for directions if any of these are not included in the tour.
Attending Meetings in the United Nations Geneva
Guests are welcome to sign up to attend any of the meetings that are open to the public. Guests are requested to sign up at least two weeks before the visit with necessary documents to attend these meetings. It is highly recommended that you sign up for one of these sessions they could be informative. These meetings are also a life-changing experience as you get to hear the scale of problems that the UN representatives deal with every day. There are various council meetings happening day at UN. UN Security Council, UN Economic and Social Council, UN Human Rights Council are some of the councils which schedule meetings. In any given month, there could be more meetings from a particular council. You can check the calendar of events in the United Nations calendar page and reach out to the tour reservations team to learn about signing up for one of the open-to-public meetings. The team requests certain documents for security clearance. After receiving the security clearance, you will be required to check-in on the day of the event with the security team to receive a special “Observer” badge to attend the event.
UN Human Rights Council Meetings
One of the public meetings that is worth attending is the UN Human Rights Council meeting for the depth of its content. UN Human Rights Council meeting throws light on some of the large scale problems facing different parts of the world. When I attended this meeting as an observer, some of the topics discussed were - Women and children being treated poorly in one of the war zone areas of a country, about 500M people in the world without access to a proper lavatory, about 1.1B people without access to clean water for drinking and more. These problems require world leaders to work together in finding solutions and is rightfully being taken by the United Nations to find a solution. Some of the meeting observers noted that listening to the type and scale of the problems discussed in the meeting somehow made their personal problems look smaller and relatively insignificant, providing them a fresh perspective on their life. Attending these meetings is highly recommended as it provides a new perspective on global issues being addressed by UN and thereby enriches your Switzerland vacation
The visit to United Nations turned out to be an amazing experience for me. I hope you benefited from reading this post. If you liked this post, please share with your friends on social media so that they could benefit from it.