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Kupakwashe Matangira - Young Diplomats Tour across Europe

Posted in News on Mar 06, 2018

Throughout the month of January, I had the wonderful opportunity of travelling across Europe as part of the 2018 Young Diplomats Tour. I chose to apply for the tour because of my passion for international relations, which stems from a deep-rooted belief in equality of opportunity and development amongst all people.

The tour saw us (the delegates) visit everything from the European Union to the United Nations and meet with Diplomats, think tanks, politicians and organisations, as we studied the history that has shaped contemporary European and International policies thus far. The highlight of the tour for me was visiting the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands where we met with Professor Helen Brady (the Senior Appeals Counsel and Head Of Appeals Section at the Office Of the Prosecutor of the ICC). Here, we learnt about international law, how alleged criminals are prosecuted, the founding of the court and the fundamental role it plays in bringing those accused of the most heinous of crimes to justice. We also had the opportunity to watch the court in action whilst sitting-in on the Dominic Onguwen trial.

The most challenging aspect of the tour was visiting Auschwitz -Birkenau in Poland. Though it was emotionally difficult, the visit provided us with a unique insight on where the world has come from and made us draw very important parallels between good and evil. Auschwitz made me see the extent of human evil and legitimised the existence of organisations dedicated to ensuring that the horrors that took place at Auschwitz will never happen again. The most interesting part of the tour was meeting with the current ruling party in Hungary- Fidesz. Hungary’s Government has been described by many Western countries as autocratic and lacking in press freedom. During this visit, we met with the Spokesperson to the Prime Minister to discuss the political situation in Hungary, the Government’s stance on the European Union, and what democracy meant to him. We also met with an official from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss Hungary’s perception in the West. Whilst Hungary is an incredibly politically-polarised country, in many ways, Hungary was our window into Eastern Europe, because the political situation in Hungary is replicated in many Eastern European states such as Poland and Serbia.

Apart from providing me with a unique insight on the fundamental underpinnings that have shaped the world thus far, the tour also deepened my passion for human rights and inspired me to stand against injustice. When I visited the International Press Institute headquarters in Austria, I was in awe of the journalists who work tirelessly to ensure free and independent media all around the world. It was here where I learnt to speak up for what I believe in and stand for what I know is right. In the space of a month, the tour broadened my worldview and allowed me to see the world in a whole new light. Now, I look forward to the day where I join one of the institutions that we visited, so that I can do my bit to serve the citizens of the world.
Kupakwashe Matangira

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At the International Court of Justice (left) The Australian Embassy in Berlin, Germany (right)

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At Hungarian Parliament (left) and The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (right)

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