Destination Geneva

Destination Geneva

Day four of YP reporter Joyee Chan's trip to the country of clocks and chocolate

Geneva gives me the first impression of a busy modern European city frequented by businessmen as well as pleasure-seekers. The city has more to offer than the wonderful photos taken by the famed massive water fountain called for the Jet d’Eau that shoots up to 10km in the middle of Lake Geneva. It is a also perfect place to spend a hot summer holiday and get a perfect focal point for pictures. The city is world-famous for its collection of international organizations and institutions including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum keeps history and humanitarian operation buffs captivated. The solemn museum has scores of photographs, documentaries and artefacts from global conflicts and humanitarian aid efforts around the world since its humble start in 1863. The downside is that the exhibition is located in a dark gloomy basement and is more informative than interactive.

A stone’s throw away from the ICRC Museum is the United Nations Office at Geneva. Although it is now headquartered in New York, the organization still retains a large presence in Geneva at the Palais des Nations. Our Former Director of Health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun has been working since 2006 as Director-General in the World Health Organization, one of UN’s 26 station in Geneva.

A guided tour took us around where it is located in the Palais des Nations. The members contributed to every piece of marble, pillar or decoration. For example they have a carpet made of coconut fibre from Thailand and a world map etched onto the surface of a gigantic vase from Japan. My favourite is the massive dome ceiling of coloureful dripping paint in the Room of Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilisation. The abstract installation is the brainchild of done by Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo in 2008. The room feels like entering a limestone cave with stalactite hanging down.


Joyee Chan stands in front of the United Nations entrance in Geneva

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