Saturday, March 19, 2016
It is so hard to comprehend that today was our last day at CSW60. This morning we started off bright and early with our presentation, and nerves were at an all time high! However, I believe the event went very well, and I was so proud of the other fellows and myself as well. It was so evident how deeply we were connected to these issues that we had all researched and committed to for the past six months. Watching each of us present to the room with such an in-depth understand and comfortability, I believe was such a testament to how much time we have dedicated to our projects.
Reflecting upon my own presentation, while I believe that nerves may have gotten to me in a small way, I do feel confident that I successfully demonstrated the crippling barriers present to undocumented women survivors of sexual assault. As I was going through my presentation, not only did I find that presenting this information came naturally to me, I really found that I was able to include my passion for this issue to be recognized. I feel as though my familiarity with the subject allowed me to really convey to my audience the critical nature of alleviating the barriers these women face.
It will certainly take some time to really internalize all of the lessons, perspectives, and concepts that I have gained at CSW60. I feel as thought I struck the right balance between side and parallel events, and attending a variety of session topics that were related to both my own research and topics I was previously unfamiliar with. However, I believe that the most important experience of the CSW conference for me was the inherent solidarity I felt being among such a large community of feminist leaders from around the world. I not only felt safe and supported, I felt inspired, empowered, and more motivated than ever before to incorporate the fight for gender equality in all of my life’s endeavors.
There would be only a few things I would change if I could go back and do it all over again. Advice I would give to other fellows would be the following:
1.) Don’t be shy when approaching speakers and panelists after events! This was something that I really struggled with during my conference. I often became nervous before approaching leaders, but often when I did, I did not regret it. It can be difficult, especially when there is a quick turnaround time between sessions. However, often panelists are willing to step outside and chat with you, especially if you approach them with a question related to their talk!
2.) Take time to bounce ideas/thoughts off of your other fellows. There is so much information to process, and you may have a difficult time forming your own thoughts and opinions regarding the information you take it. Your other fellows are wonderful resources to talk through these things with, particularly because they have such rich and diverse experiences of their own to better inform your understanding.