At the heart of the United Nations

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Brendan Canavan of Ramsey outside the UN's Palais des Nations, in Geneva

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Brendan Canavan of Ramsey outside the UN's Palais des Nations, in Geneva

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A RAMSEY PHD student has spent three weeks at the heart of the United Nations in Geneva.

Brendan Canavan, aged 24, of Walpole Road, was chosen by the Isle of Man United Nations Association to represent the island at a summer school learning about the international organisation.

Brendan, who is studying a PHD in small island tourism at the University of Nottingham, was one of 70 people from 42 countries who took part.

He said: ‘It was really good. I would recommend it to anyone to do.

‘I learned loads about the UN and made lots of new friends.’

He added: ‘No one had heard of the Isle of Man so hopefully we will get a few more tourists.’

During his visit, Brendan enjoyed the chance to visit UN agencies such as UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

As part of celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day, he helped make posters to go on the UN’s website.

And he took part in debates on how the UN can achieve its Millennium Development Goals – which focus on ending poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, environmental sustainability and global partnership.

He said he was split into a group that looked at environmental sustainability through initiatives to cut carbon emissions, keeping sea level rises below one metre and developing renewable energy technologies.

Brendan said: ‘I was very impressed with the UN. Its commitment to democracy is really quite admirable.’

And he said one of the highlights of his trip was learning about the UN’s work on sanitation, which he said was one area of the UN that was sometimes overlooked in favour of areas such as peace-keeping.

‘I learned that £1 spent on sanitation is £64 in public health saving,’ he said.

‘Things like that I found quite amazing.’

The UN summer school programme runs every year and is open to post-graduates who have studied relevant subjects.

One of the requirements of participation is joining the Isle of Man branch of the UN and attending local events.

The Manx UN Association was formed in the 1970s by former Geneva-based diplomat and then chairman Charles Colvington.

To mark UN Day on October 24, the association is holding a talk at the Manx Museum, Douglas at 7pm.

The address will be made by Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood.

Tickets cost £10 – with all proceeds going to UNICEF.

To find out more about the association, and to book tickets, contact committee member Phil Craine on 672224 or email

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