Study trip to Rome in 2017

Read now about the Sustainable food themed study trip that took place in Rome, Italy, last November! HYKY sent 11 of its members abroad for four days, and we asked one of the participants to share how the study trip evolved and what kind of new insights it gave.

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”My name is Guilherme Varro, I am a Master’s Student of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. On the 23rd of November, 2017, I’ve joined the UN Youth of Helsinki on their study trip to Rome, Italy. Along with ten other students from Finland, I explored Rome learning about sustainable food production and consumption, while paying visits to several international organizations and both governmental and non-governmental organizations based in Rome. The amazing weather, the food and the people I’ve met made the study trip to Rome an unforgettable academic experience.

During our busy schedule, visiting several organizations that act on the field of field of sustainable food production and consumption, I’ve learned and became aware of issues that are beyond my field of study, while enhancing my knowledge in areas that I am more familiar with. During our group’s visit to the Finnish Embassy in Italy, for example, we learned about Finland’s work at the food-related international organizations based in Rome, such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development). Finland’s actions within these organizations, as I came to know, are usually aligned with the other Nordic countries, enhancing and unifying the voices of all five countries before the international community and humanitarian aid recipients on issues of agricultural development, forestry, sustainability and emergency food aid.

Our visit to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations was without a doubt the most rewarding and valid experience of the study trip. We were personally guided through the historical FAO building, just by the ancient Roman ruins of Circus Massimo, where we learned about the organization’s efforts to support and ensure the achievement of those Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to agricultural development, and sustainable food production and consumption. We had the opportunity to listen to FAO’s executives on issues related to the systemic sustainability of agricultural development, including the role played by small producers, and corporate social responsibility. We also visited a special exhibition at the FAO library, which had historical agriculture-related books donated by Member States.

Besides these two visits, we also went to the World Farmers Organization (WFO); Banco Alimentare; Farmers and Gustolab International Institute of Food Studies, where we learned and discussed aspects of consumption, production and research of food. In addition to the visits, we had a lot of fun exploring Rome with the local UN Youth, with whom we enjoyed a traditional (and delicious) Italian pasta and an amazing gelato.

The UN Youth of Helsinki trip to Rome was an unforgettable academic experience, and I would definitely recommend to other students to apply to similar study trips. The different background of the participants, along with our mutual interest for the United Nations, created an environment of collaboration and friendship that enabled this trip to become productive, fun and extremely instructive.”

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