Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tracing the Steps of Giants

My mum arrived a couple of weeks ago for her annual 3-month visit with us. My Auntie Harriet followed her last week to spend 2 weeks, including a planned 5-days in Venice with us next week. We've spent the first part of the week trying to occupy rainy-filled days with memorable outings. Last weekend, and still on an Olympic high, we had a great visit to the official Olympics Museum in Olympic capital Lausanne, about a 45 minute journey up the lake from Geneva.

The Olympics Museum in Lausanne, home of the International Olympic Committee

This week, we "profitez'ed" and devoted our efforts towards three things for which Geneva is most suitably proud. We took a guided tour of the United Nations and we spent a day at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum. It was interesting to realize that my new home continues to keep as a high priority the offering of succour to others less fortunate, and support to those most in need.

First World War Prisoners of War documentation archived in the Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum (Auntie Harriet)

Perhaps the ideals of modern Switzerland can cause one to raise a doubtful eyebrow but I was undeniably moved at the story of the founding of the Red Cross/Red Crescent and its' mission. The efforts of one man, Henry Dunant, have evolved into the modern images of an organization assisting in national disasters, and inserting itself into conflict zones; the red cross on white background emblem (the reverse of the Swiss flag) its' only defence.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt under whose chair(wo)manship, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights drafted the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights'

I was equally moved to realize that the United Nations in Geneva focuses its' efforts on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR). It was from the hard work of dedicated individuals working together for the promotion of others that such landmark conventions as the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' and 'The Convention on the Rights of the Child' were drafted and adopted here.

We followed up these serious endeavours with a trip to the Caillier-Nestle chocolate factory in Broc at the south end of Lac de la Gruyère in the green Alpen valleys of Switzerland's Fribourg region. If you can quantify a good time based upon amount of free all-you-can-eat chocolate at the end of a historical tour plus making your own chocolate Easter bunny in the Atelier de chocolat, then a good time was had by all of us!


DL NELSON said...

The Red Cross Museum is a must see.

Would love to see your mom when I get back to Geneva at the end of the month. I so enjoyed talking with her at Sher's do a while back.

Jen said...

Glad you're having a fun time with your Mom. The making your own Easter bunny part sounds pretty good to me!!