The Journey of the Dutch Delegates at the 66th MMWelcome!
IFMSA is a place where we try to include all medical students from around the world. A General Assembly (GA) is where we see this actually happening.
It was very special to welcome IFMSA-Syria for the first time this year to join us. They were there to represent the medical students from their country, and give these students a voice as well. As medical students from the Western world, all we hear about Syria is what reaches us through the news. Personally, I was very naive to not even consider the fact that Syria still has medical students. Because their stories moved us all so much, our next blog will be dedicated entirely to what they have taught us.
Staying with the subject of including all medical students from all around the world, the most exciting plenary of a GA is the one were we vote for new Officials, and include new countries in our federation.
During the March Meeting the elections of Officials is focused on the Executive Board (EB). The elections take place though multiple steps. First each candidate sends a motivation letter and plan of action for all to read before the GA. Then during plenary number 2 they must present their candidatures and answer some questions. As first impressions matter, this is when many meet the candidates for the first time so it is very important for them to do well. The next day the EB debate takes place. Here candidates are set up next to each other and their answers to questions are easily compared.
For the Dutch delegates the debate was the most important part of the GA. We felt strongly that this is where candidates are distinguished from one and another and well-informed votes can be made. As being an EB-member is a hard task we believe it is very important to vote on the right person for the job.
During this MM we elected the next President, Vice-President on Activities, Vice-President on Capacity Building, Vice-President on External Affairs, Vice-President on Finances, and Vice-President on Members, who will al start their terms on the 1st of October.
At the moment the Team of Officials is still mostly made out of males. Many within IFMSA fear that this will become the norm if nothing is to be done. During this GA the tackling of this issue has started by setting up a Task Force on Gender Empowerment and Representation. This Task Force will be made out of a group of people who will try to identify the gender gaps, if any, that exist within IFMSA which could hinder the equal empowerment and representation of all genders, and propose a way forward to tackle these gaps. However, it is great to see that with the election of the new EB during the GA the ratio male:female in this new Executive Board is 50:50!
Not only has a new EB been choosing, the federation has also grown to represent more medical students from around the globe! We have welcomed Cameroon and Saint-Lucia as candidate members, and Gambia, Guinea, Honduras, Singapore, and Uzbekistan as full members. This means that IFMSA is now represented in 124 countries!