Thirty-three students participated in Conference Terminology and Procedures, a three-day workshop (March 5-7th 2010) giving students both an insider’s view on how an international organization such as the United Nations navigates negotiations, discussions, debates and decisions, and providing basic materials on how to conduct and participate in meetings at a wide variety of organizations.
Students primarily from the Spanish, Chinese and Russian TI programs, as well as a Japanese TI and an IPS representative and two members of the public were most enthusiastic participants, and seemed to be having a very good time while absorbing large quantities of information. Prior to the course they had received e-files of background and vocabulary material which reinforced the terminology and procedure lectures, and each received a thick course reader which will be of use to them in the future. The public participants in the course (a conference interpreting student from PUC, Brazil and an Arabic/English translation professional from the Bay Area) made valuable contributions.
The lecture sections of the course dealt with basic parliamentary procedure, the terminology for proceeding with agenda items, the structure of resolutions and other documents, and basic negotiating techniques. Following the lecture section of the course the students were divided into three groups, with the task of taking three completely opposed positions on an issue of great concern to the students.
Despite the time pressures, the students seem to have successfully grasped the principles of drafting a resolution and of negotiating to consensus.
Dean Renee Jourdenais was pleased to have Dr. Lynn Visson join us to teach this workshop for the fourth year in a row, this year launching the Dean’s Lecture Series program. Dr. Visson’s vibrant personality, humorous stories from inside the UN where she served as a staff interpreter in the English booth for French and Russian for more than twenty years, and her thorough knowledge of complex procedures make the class enjoyable and informative each year. Dr. Visson received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, taught Russian language and literature at Columbia University, and is currently a member of the editorial board of Mosty, a Moscow-based journal on translation and interpretation, and a consulting editor of Hippocrene Books, NY. Of Russian background, she is the author of many works on interpretation, translation, Russian-American marriages and various aspects of Russian culture, which have been published in both the US and Russia.
Thank you to Dr. Visson and students for making this workshop a success!