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It has been over three weeks since I posted in this blog but there has been a good reason for that as I’ve been on holiday and visited New York and DC.  What I post about in this blog generally relates to current affairs or my journey in understanding various political and social situations and so I thought it wasn’t appropriate to schedule posts while I was away. 

My journey though, my passion to understand, has grown exponentially while I have been away.  A lot of what I did on my holiday had to do with that journey.

United Nations, New York

One of the questions I have asked in the past weeks was ‘Is the United Nations relevant?’  While I was in New York, I took a tour around the United Nations and took copious notes about what they do and how they work.  Most importantly, I learned about what is within their remit and what are their limitations.  I’ll consolidate my notes shortly and post about everything I learned.

New York Public Library

I visited the New York Public Library to try and answer another burning question I have had lately as to why the situations in Darfur and Sri Lanka have not been labelled as genocide.  I spent some time reading up on the matter and took notes from the Encyclopedia of Genocide.  The next post I do will probably be an introduction into what I learned here and an insight into why the term has not been used in Darfur and other regions.

Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

I also visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC.  This is a fantastic museum and although I wasn’t able to tour the main exhibit, I did visit the section on genocide.  I learned about the war in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide that occurred there.  This was very rewarding and I am pleased as I have been wanting to learn more about that situation for some time.

My activities might seem like strange things for a person to do on their vacation but this trip was very much a voyage of discovery for me.  I travelled alone and had a lot of time to think about where I want to go with my life.  Well, I know where I want to go.  I want to work for the UN or one of the aid organisations and go into these places and help communities and individuals recover.  I want to make the statement “Never Again” become a reality.  This might not be realistic though and so I learned more about what I can do in the meantime and I have decided on three areas to focus on in the short term:
- I’ll continue keeping an eye on current affairs and maintaining this blog
- I've identified a couple of areas in which to do some independent self-study (i.e. those discussed above)
- there are a couple of short-courses and free courses that I can enrol on to expand on my knowledge

I haven’t made a decision yet but I thought I’d draw attention to two free courses from Open University called Who counts as a refugee? and The Holocaust.  These are free courses at an advanced level and take about 10 and 12 hours of study respectively.

About Mandy Southgate

Mandy Southgate is an accountant living and working in London. She is passionate about world events such as genocide and apartheid and has a desire to understand how these events continue to occur in the modern world. With a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries, A Passion to Understand reflects her continuing research and reading on these topics.
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