Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas

June 29, 2018 | Raha,Specialization - International Studies and Modern Languages and Additional Minor - Spanish, Columbia, Minces Action Canada, Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, Program Support Officer

Working from Colombia’s metropolis capital, Bogotá, you could say I seem to have a pretty standard office job: a modern office, one of the top floors of a taller (than normal) building, a beautiful view, and a reliable source of power. The work itself, however, is anything but standard. The section I have been assigned to here at la Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas is that of Victim Assistance, a vital pillar of mine action that I had very much been looking forward to working on.

Although few here in this office, those of us working in victim assistance work very diligently to enter as many victims of antipersonnel landmines and/or cluster munitions into the government system so that they and their official documents are all noted and taken care of, the last step, once their file is confirmed, is for them to get the assistance that they need. Although the theme of our work is relatively heavy, our work environment is a positive one. Everyone is incredibly friendly and we are surrounded by optimistic and hard-working people. This must have to do with the fact that, as easy as it can be for some to feel down working in mine action, a cause where so many people’s lives have already been lost or deeply affected, we constantly keep our mission in mind with hope that people will not need to perform the tasks that we are, to the same extent, far into the future. We are helping those who have been affected and are doing our utmost to assure a landmine/ cluster munition free for everyone!

I feel incredibly inspired when I think about the fact that this is simply the first of many international causes I will be dedicated to throughout my years in this field. Being in my last year of international studies and modern languages (an undergraduate political studies program that specializes in international affairs and promotes multilingualism), I have grown familiar with many global humanitarian causes and international treaties. So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the International Campaign to Abolish Landmines, a subject I have covered in my international relations and global politics studies and, like the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, it is one of those humanitarian issues I feel quite passionate about. However, unlike the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, mine action has been making clear and significant progress so far, and will absolutely continue to do so, should we all continue to work together, we may even hope to fulfill our mission by the end of our generation! It is also worth mentioning that I was looking for a position in which I can put my fluency in Spanish to good use in a professional setting, something I consider one of the final steps of assuring fluency in a language. After having studied international relations in Madrid, Spain, for one year, I was feeling confident enough in my Spanish-speaking abilities to apply for a position where this fluency was a requirement.

Having dabbled in international law, it is also extremely exciting for me to be currently helping perform the groundwork that is so vital to to the fulfillment of these international treaties. Normatively speaking, in recent decades, NGOs are finally being recognized for their impact on the world stage, so I am very glad to be a part of that as well.

It has been an amazing couple months thus far, and I cannot wait to see the other ways in which I shall grow and learn until the end of my time here. In the meantime, I shall continue doing my best to make a difference and dedicating myself to an international cause that is so dear to my heart.

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