Last December, five #iGEMdelegates attended the Meeting of States Party to the Convention on Biological Weapons in Geneva.
One of them was Yang Chi Ya from the 2017 CSMU X NCHU team.
People interested in international policy would dream of going into the United Nations Office, and iGEM offered a chance for this to come true through a first-hand experience of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) inside the Palace of Nations from 4th to 8th December. My iGEM hype was still high after the November 2017 Giant Jamboree yet could not help but soar when I knew I was going to Geneva.
Bringing forward what we learnt as past iGEMers, we spoke in a side event about our iGEM journey, biosafety and showcased the impact of iGEM. Moreover, we were able to hear from the Main Speakers’ List (MSP2017) and other side events to understand the biosafety issues that experts are concerned about. We were able to approach people at the BWC to discuss ideas and engage in conversations. Contrary to a very formal and tense setting, it was a friendly atmosphere at the BWC and the experts there were willing to talk to us and answer our questions.
As a 19-year-old attending the Biological Weapons Convention, I would say it is never too early to immerse yourself in international policy as long as you are passionate about it. I also believe that iGEMers are be able to bring forward interesting ideas to the table and represent the innovations of emerging biotechnologies. This is important as we as innovators and scientists of the future, are encouraged to engage in the policies that greatly affect our work. This is one of the most exciting learning experiences I have had and I am grateful to iGEM for it.