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But, Why Not?

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ITUP employee and UCLA graduate student, Marina Acosta (far left), attending the 68th World Health Assembly with fellow UCLA classmates.

Hearing the awe in my Mom’s voice when I was describing the tension in the room between Israel and the Arab nations during discussions about health conditions in occupied Palestinian territories brought on a feeling that is difficult for me to explain. I come from a very blue-collar family; my dad was a mailman and my mom a schoolyard guard. So, attending the sixty-eighth World Health Assembly (WHA) as a delegate in Geneva has been quite a surreal experience for me. My parents did their best to show me all that the world had to offer. I remember taking a bus to the public library where my mom showed me a book of all the possible careers that awaited me, all the while telling me I was capable of anything. I never doubted them, but I am also not sure I ever fully believed them. Yet here I was listening to Chancellor Angela Merkel speak, and I suddenly realize my parents were right; I have the capacity to do anything my passion and hard work allows me.

As a Global Health Council delegate, I was afforded the opportunity to represent not only the delegation and UCLA, but more importantly, my parents and family name. I did not take this duty lightly. I was purposeful with my time and decisions while in Geneva. I chatted with other delegates about their focus areas; I attended receptions hosted by organizations that I had never heard of, using only my genuine curiosity to guide me. And I diligently took notes and pictures, and tweeted at the sessions I attended to document my experience. I hope in the hectic back-to-reality environment that awaits me in the States, I can maintain this sense of purpose I brought with me to Geneva.

I still can’t believe a girl from the small town of Riverside could potentially one day be an ambassador or diplomat, but in the words of Dr. Leah Vriesman, a UCLA professor on the trip, “But, why not?”

 

For more blogs from myself and other UCLA, Global Health Council delegates, please click here.

For more information on the 68th World Health Assembly, please click here.