Global Policy Project: Broadening the Definition of Sexual Violence

The fieldwork component for the 2019-2020 Global Policy Projects has now been completed by seven UBC Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) student teams who worked with clients organizations on a policy problem in ten different countries throughout December 2019.

Find below a reflection from students whose project focused on broadening the definition of sexual violence with visits to both New York and The Hague, Netherlands.

Project Client: Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice

Team Members: Ravina Anand | Eseohe Ojo | Dinoba Kirupa | Israa Noureddine | Solomon Atta 

The MPPGA student team began their Global Policy Project fieldwork in New York from November 25 – 27, 2019 which presented an opportunity to interview UN representatives on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence and related topics such as gender-based violence, gender equality and sexual violence.

Following these engagements with various UN offices, the team proceeded to The Hague, Netherlands for the 18th Assembly of States Parties (ASPs) which was held from December 2 – 7, 2019. This presented an opportunity to interview a wide array of stakeholders, such as UN representatives, International Criminal Court judges, foreign service officials, and survivors, after which the team made a brief stop in Geneva where they had a chance to speak with The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a professor at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

It was challenging being surrounded by so many important people and deciding who was most important to reach out to and talk to but it showed the importance of great team work because we were then able to coordinate, split up where necessary and use our various strengths to ensure that we spoke with as many people as possible. It was interesting to see and hear about the diversity of opinions amongst experts on the topic. We got a lot of great findings and data from our participants. We could already see some emerging themes and were excited to move into the analysis phase.” – Eseohe Ojo, MPPGA Student

It was a truly eye-opening experience to hear directly from survivors. While we read about this in the media and other literature, hearing the stories directly from those who experienced it provided a different perspective. It also brought to the fore, marginalised groups such as women and the sacrifices they make which I think are usually left out of the conversation. It was however truly powerful to see all the different stakeholders come together to discuss and try to effect change.” – Ravina Anand, MPPGA Student

The experience of being a part of the ASPs gave us a chance to see policy makers at work. We also got to see how NGOs and testimonies influence the policy making process which was a great because it showed the practical application of what we’ve been learning in the program.” – Israa Nourredine, MPPGA Student

A recurring theme the team heard from experts in this field is the importance of this work. A number of them noted how tasking it can get over long periods of time but stressed the importance of perseverance.


Read more articles from Global Policy Project 2019.

Visit Experiential Learning to find out more about the Global Policy Project.