Finally, after three days spent in standing committee session at the RM, I can now realize how much I grew to appreciate the diversity the Americas possess. Unlike the pre-RM, the RM is a more serious event, meant to be a place to discuss and exchange opinions rather than to learn. The RM takes place at the Decameron Resort in Salinitas, a little more than an hour away from San Salvador.
Last Monday, we greeted the session’s participants: not all of them took part of the PaPET training, therefore we needed to get acquainted at first through small working groups. My topic was safe abortion, and I really enjoyed exchanging on the topic with new participants. Afterwards, we had an update on the situation of AIDS in Americas from UNAIDS. We also assisted to projects presentation from various NMOs at the end of the day. The second day, we had the opportunity to attend a conference on medical ethics of the AMSA (American Medical Association), to exchange on reproductive rights with SCORP (rights and peace) during a joint session. Most of us agreed on the rights, even though we belonged to different standing committees !
Today was the most interesting day out of three: now that we all knew each other and learned how to respect each other’s points of view, we discussed the whole day about the right s to abortion, one of the most sensitive topic in reproductive health. As a North American, I was accustomed to judge people easily on the basis of their values, but total immersion in Latin American culture made me aware of it and changed the way I can now debate. For example, throughout hours of discussion, I learned about the legal state of abortion in different countries, the exceptions that made abortion available for women in others, and therapeutic abortion. Even though I will only learn about women’s health in June, I was able to take part in the conversations, sometimes in English, Spanish, or even Spanglish !
The wealth of opinions that cultural diversity brings in the discussions is the most enjoyable aspect of the standing committee sessions. Tomorrow will already be the last day of session, and I hope that it will be as fulfilling as today.