My GA Initiation
Before tackling the serious matters, I wanted to let it out there: Tunisia is awesome. Before heading out to Hammamet, I had the opportunity to venture alone in Tunis, Carthage and Sidi Bou Said and fulfill my promise of getting lost in a new country. It goes without saying, this is a completely different world for a typical Occidental guy like me. Tunisians have displayed both great hospitality and immense trickery, which were to be expected! Despite the fact that I only had one day to travel in the ordinary sense, I would never have had that chance without this GA! My fellow delegates, not having been blessed with exams both before and after the Spring Break, have been able to take even greater advantage than I (it’s an awesome perk to participating in a GA)!
The energy at this gathering is amazing. Even during arrival and registration, which was a small challenge in itself after some IT issues and the adventure of finding your room in the kingdom that is the Diar Lamdina hotel, the Organizing Committee managed to foster an exciting and friendly environment for all delegates to make new friends, reconnect with old encounters, and get pumped for the days to come.
Following the welcome session and the Opening Ceremony, where some notable people spoke (you can find details in Claudel’s post here), Jouhayna and I had the opportunity to discuss with the Honourable Mohamed Salah Ben Ammar, Tunisian Minister of Health, Dr Ahmed Maherzi, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tunis, who is actually very fond of the Quebec universities, as well as Dr Dana Hanson, previous President of the CMA and WMA, and the current Chair of the WMA, whose name I unfortunately forgot. They were incredibly encouraging individuals whose faith in the upcoming generation of health care leaders was unwaveringly positive!
Day 2 began with my first Presidents’ Session, where the following topics we covered: Introduction to Plenary and Voting Procedures (where the Chair elegantly instructed us on the democratic methods used at plenaries), the Strategic Planning / IFMSA We Want campaign presentation (where the IFMSA President presented the tools and methodologies he was using to prepare IFMSA’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan), the Supervising Council Report (where the individuals tasked with the oversight and advising of the Executive Board outlined their report), and Membership Applications (where countries that were applying for Candidate, Associate, or Full Membership of IFMSA were presented). The particular issues pertaining to Belgium’s application to Full Membership and EMSA Egypt’s application to Associate Membership (EMSA being the second NMO in Egypt, representing the same territory as the first, but a greater number of students) were enlightening as they exposed me to the complex geopolitical framework in Belgium and the political tension existing between the two IFMSA organizations working in the same Egyptian universities.
The afternoon was dedicated to a Regional Meeting where all the delegates from the Americas united under the leadership of our Regional Coordinator, Elias. It was cool to meet with a few individuals from Latin America; they are very passionate and hard working people!