LABCITOYEN – Debating on Human Rights in Paris: an unforgettable experience [fr]
The fourth edition of LabCitoyen, a programme on human rights created by the Institut Français, will gather together young citizens from all over the planet from the 5th to the 15th of July 2015.
In conjunction with a local expert committee, the French Embassy in New Zealand will soon select a young New Zealander to represent his/her country in Paris. The 2015 edition will relate to the COP21 which will be held in Paris, and is entitled “human rights confronted with environment challenges”. It will tackle the consequences of climate change on societies and the associated threats on human rights in the world.
The call for applications will be launched later in February 2015. Meanwhile, you can read the summary of the 2014 edition by the Kiwi laureate Julia Reynolds:
"This July I had the privilege of being selected by the Embassy of France to represent New Zealand at the LabCitoyen Human Rights Programme in Paris, France. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity brought together 82 youths from 60 countries as diverse as Nigeria, the Philippines, Israel, Ukraine, Mexico, Haiti, Pakistan, China, the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh. The programme included debates, speaker panels, lectures and visits to relevant human-rights related institutions.
LabCitoyen was an invaluable experience as my overall career aspiration is to help disadvantaged women, children and ethnic minorities to exercise their basic human rights and access the justice system both in New Zealand and overseas. It allowed various opportunities for participation where I was able to present New Zealand’s perspective and our human rights record on a global platform. I was also able to better engage with human rights issues on an international scale and foster a deeper understanding of the subject, which introduced me to specialist knowledge and alternative perspectives and approaches to topics (such as violence, intolerance and discrimination) that I could bring back to implement in our own community.
The opportunity to network with other motivated, like-minded youths was incredible. It is important for New Zealand to form and maintain these international relationships, and to this end I set up a social media group where my group regularly keeps in touch. Even after the programme has finished, we continue to strengthen our global connections.
The programme brought together youth from a wide variety of backgrounds: ethnically, culturally, politically and socially, which exposed me to a variety of perspectives from all around the world. This allowed me to gain greater insight into the ideas and customs of other countries, which will be particularly beneficial for when I am working on the international stage.
Altogether the programme was an incredible opportunity for my human rights knowledge, global awareness and international relationship-building. I would strongly urge all young French-speakers to apply, as it is a once-in-lifetime experience that you will never forget.
LabCitoyen 2014 - "inoubliable".
In 2013, Helen Griffith represented New Zealand.
You can read her testimony HERE.