Published: September 8th 2008August 28th 2008
The German word of the day is: Fußball (soccer).
We were scheduled to take a tour of the UN headquarters today, and speak with a representative of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). My preparation questions are attached below! We had been instructed to bring our passports, so I put mine in my bag the night before. As I was getting dressed, I decided to try and dress a little bit on the nicer side, seeing as the last time our class visited the ambassador, only one of us dressed up at all. I had a business-casual top, and that was about as dressy as I managed. Kelsey and I got on the u-bahn at 9, hoping that 40 minutes would be sufficient to get there on time. We arrived at our stop and started heading up to to building we were meeting up at, when Kelsey panicked because she had forgotten her passport. I asked a guy in the building if a passport was necessary for the UN tour, and he said any valid photo ID would be fine. Kelsey still didn't calm down, but when our tour guide told her that her valid driver's license would be
model of complex
just fine, she was able to relax. Our professor was not present when we were getting our nametags, and we were informed by Duane that she was sick and would not be joining us. We went through security and first got to see the huge fountain outside the complex. The UN member flags were in alphapetical order, all 192 of them. Our guide explained that the United Nations was formed after WWII to prevent any further world wars. The United States pays 22% of the budget, with Japan following at 20%. Some member nations are so poor that they pay a fraction of a cent, for symbolic purposes only. Our guide explained why a country like Kosovo, which is not internationally recognized as being independent, cannot be a UN member. He also mentioned that the Vatican is not a member of the UN, but still involved in UN committees. We went into the building to see a model of the complex, and the guide explained that the triangular shape of the buildings was to ensure that every office had a window, which would maximize efficiency. We were walked by a few Nobel Peace Prizes proudly displayed on the wall, and
lead into a diplomatic room. Each chair had a desk and microphone, and the guide explained to us that most of the UN business is conducted in the six main languages of the world: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. Rarely does the UN need to use another language for their meetings. Each diplomatic room had translation offices on site, so I can't imagine how slowly business must proceed when everyone's statements must be translated. I wonder if there is ever any problems with nuances of statements lost in translation? We then went to a smaller conference room to meet our IAEA representative. He had a powerpoint presentation talking about many different aspects of nuclear power. He did talk for awhile about nuclear power in healthcare, but I was most interested when he began to discuss irradiated agriculture and how it is generally more accepted in countries than GMOs. I loved that part of the discussion, and was proud of myself for understanding what he was talking about when my poli-sci classmates were confused about genetics. I don't frequently run into situations in my normal life where knowing anything about genetics comes in handy, so this was a treat.
When our chat was over, we were excused from the building and my classmates began to decide what they were going to do for the rest of the day. Kelsey and I decided to go get lunch at the Danube Island, and Marcus and Ross tagged along with us. Walking along the Danube Island, we all commented on how we felt far from Vienna, more like we were in Hawaii or Southern California. Not only was it really warm that day, but the Danube Island has a very boardwalk-like setup, with restaurants and clubs advertising Corona and pictures of pineapples. We picked a restaurant, and we all picked the food off the lunch special menu. I got the fungus pizza (with mushrooms... how appetizing). We finished our lunch and walked around the area, getting really excited to come back at night time. Kelsey and I had not yet seen the cemetery down the street from our dorms, so we headed back to Simmering so we could go check that out. The cemetery was absolutely humongous, and we were instructed to check out the Jewish section, which has been incredibly overgrown since the Nazi invasion drove all the Jews out of
part of the Jewish section of the cemetary
Vienna. Kelsey and I were confused why its still overgrown today, but it indeed looked very ignored. At this point in the trip, Kelsey and I were trying to polish off the food we had, so we cooked dinner together using the ingredients we had. We had decided to go out tonight, so we both got ready and headed over to our classmates' room to gather before we head out. The group ended up being 5 of us, and we returned to the Bermuda Triangle for our night out. The bars still had outside seating because it was early enough, so we sat outside to order drinks. When the outside seating was closing down, we were ushered into the restaurant. One of our classmates decided to go try his luck at another club, and left without telling anyone where he was going. He eventually came back into the restaurant to ask me how to get home. I was quiet for a minute, baffled that he didn't already know this information. I explained to him how to get home on the Night Line, and he took off. We went to a few more clubs and before we knew it, the same
the Parliament building, in Neo-Romanesque, which we walk past to get to the Rathaus
classmate came back, having not been able to get himself home. I spent the rest of the evening wondering why someone would go to Europe if they were not competent enough to get themselves home?
IAEA Talking Points:
• What do you think of the IAEA’s role in providing cancer treatment to developing nations?
• What are your feelings towards the IAEA’s progress with India?
• I saw that France participated in the diplomatic offer to Iran for their nuclear program, and France uses a lot of nuclear power. Where does the IAEA draw the line between threatening and non-threatening nuclear power?
• Europeans have not yet gotten comfortable with GMOs. How and why do they feel comfortable with irradiated food?
• Diplomacy plays such a large role in dealing with rogue nuclear use. What tactics to IAEA representatives use to assure countries that complying with the IAEA will be best for them?
• When investigating nuclear use (for example, in Iran) what do IAEA specialists look for?
This morning we were scheduled to have a Dr. O tour of the Leopold, one of Vienna's many art museums. I was too lazy to make coffee this
the Rathaus, hard to get a good picture of!
morning, and since Kelsey and I arrived early, we grabbed coffee at the cafe across from the musuem. This cafe proudly boasted that their products were 'take-away', which really is a rare find in Vienna. Eventually the rest of the classmates turned up, and we all headed to the front door of the musuem. Our program coordinator, Duane, was there to tell us that our class scheduled for Friday was cancelled, on account of our professor being too sick. I was bummed to hear this, because the class was going to be a wrap-up of what we had learned. We milled around for awhile longer waiting for our guide, before Duane decided to give her a call. Turns out she had planned our tour for another day, and wanted to know if we could meet at 4pm instead. Since we had been out late last night and I could barely get myself out of bed, it was sad to know I could have slept in. Now faced with 6 hours to ourselves before our tour, my classmates grouped up into various activities. I joined the group that wanted to grab lunch and go take a nap. We made a pit stop at the MUMOK musuem next door to check out their gift shop. I bought a fuzzy pencil for Kareem's pencil collection, and laughed at the Magic 8-Ball they sold called the "Freud Ball". We left MusuemsQuartier and walked up Mariahilferstrasse to our u-bahn. I was also hoping to clean my room and write a blog or two. I made it home and took an hour long nap, worried that when I woke up I would be even more tired and then fall asleep during the tour. I woke up a little drowsy, but jumped back on the u-bahn heading to the Leopold anyway. We ran into our tour guide on the u-bahn, and she was extremely apologetic. We all assured her that it was not a big deal, and walked up to our tour group. The museum features the extensive art collection owned by the Leopold family. The museum itself was built for the collection, featuring many works by Schiele, a protege of Klimt and an obviously very disturbed man. The musuem lobby had a glass floor which looked directly down several floors below. Some lady on the bottom floor waved to me, and I waved back to her. We headed to the top floor to begin our tour. I got to see another Klimt, this one his Death and Life, which is my favorite so far. We walked into another room, which had an exhibit by Richard Gerstl. His self-portrait looked creepily like one of the boys on our program. We saw tons of paintings by Schiele, most of them of himself naked. The Leopold has more naked paintings than I have ever seen before. I stayed awake the whole tour, and enjoyed it a lot. That evening, we went with the group down to the Rathaus. I ordered a caipirinha, which was a billion times better than the one I had at Bistro on Picnic Day. We watched the movie for awhile, and then I headed home with two other girls.