The UNLESA Geneva Launch was an important moment for the spouses and partners as the number of persons who were present for the Launch and the questions raised during the panel discussion demonstrated how critical employment is for many spouses and partners of UN staff members in Geneva. Here are just a few comments from spouses and partners who attended the Launch:
“In June 2007 when my wife was appointed to Geneva I was looking at the UN Staff Mobility website and sadly found out that there is no LESA in Geneva... I thought that I’d have to find my own way to manage my career transition and try to get support from the very few people I know in Geneva... It was extremely difficult... especially during the first six or ten months... But in the afternoon and evening of 2nd December the big surprise came: a lot of people showed up at the Launch event... the number of people present was almost double the expectations. Very lively, very interactive, a lot of people shared their stories during the informal part and for the first time in two years and a half in Geneva I felt like I was in a “community”... of likeminded people, of peers with similar concerns, similar hopes and somehow already supporting each other even before we had the chance to know each other...”
MARKETA VON HAGEN
“The number of male and female participants at the UNLESA launch in Geneva on 2nd December 2009 was overwhelming and showed how important this step is. I only got off a plane at 9 a.m. that same morning arriving from a mission but I could not miss the launch. It was so good to see that organizations and Human Resources Departments seem to finally have understood the importance of a work-life balance and the vital role that partners play in terms of mobility of staff. The UNLESA will definitely be of great importance to UN spouses in Geneva!”
ELIECER RAMOS PRIETO
“Nice seeing so much diversity and talented people together for a main goal! How can we live in Geneva a multicultural city without having LESA to represent the interest of all of us. Thank you very much to LESA team for all the hard work and dedication to this great project. Looking forward to the next steps.”
KAY XUEREB, GENEVA LESA
“We have a highly skilled pool of professional spouses and partners who want to use their international qualifications, skills and experience to make a meaningful difference through their own careers while they are stationed here in Geneva. We have much to offer! Building on the positive start of the UNLESA Geneva Launch we will hold our Constituent General Assembly at UNHCR on 17th December. With the elected members of our Executive Board and active participation in thematic working groups we can then begin to develop links inside and outside the UN to promote the employment of spouses and partners”.
ELKA PARVERA-KERN, GENEVA LESA
“We will be proposing to develop a database of our members’ bio sketches and actively engage with colleagues in the human resources departments so they are aware of the expertise that could be available to meet their possible needs. At the same time, we would start sourcing job opportunities in the private sector in Geneva and neighbouring France. We would also like to develop an on-line information package for our members including work-related information, links to other web sites and organisations facilitating installation upon arrival and educational opportunities for spouses and partners”.
So, please, do support us to promote a better work/life balance in Geneva for geographically mobile staff members and families. If you would like to be part of the UNLESA Geneva and you are a spouse or partner of a UN staff member please contact email@example.com for further information. Meanwhile, we wish you all a year 2010 rich in positive professional developments as well as personal and family happiness!