GDT20: London Calling! ☎️

As our Global Development Tour continues, we experience more of the great cities on our itinerary. The second of which, London, was a new favourite for many of us, despite having just touched down after a fantastic week in New York City.

Our delegates once again have written a small excerpt on different aspects of our visit to London:

LIAM WILLIAMS: City Landmarks and Activities

Walking around London, there’s such a powerful and almost intimidating presence. All these massive and important buildings loom overhead, and you’re nothing more than ants to them. That’s the feeling I got as we went and saw merely some of the amazing landmarks located around the city.

Trafalgar Square was as iconic as always, with Nelson’s column standing proud and central. There was a buzz of awe throughout the delegation upon our arrival, and many of us couldn’t resist a quick pose in front of the fountain to add a picture to our Instagram. 

Walking to see Tower Bridge was another incredible feat of human architecture and craftsmanship, with the bridge spanning 244 metres across the Thames river. It overlooked the Tower of London and the location of some of Patrick’s infamous dad jokes. 

We went for a walk down past 10 Downing Street, and got to witness Big Ben’s construction work, as well as the incredible Westminster Abbey. This is where all the royals get married, and the classic gothic architecture really stands out where it sits alongside all the other buildings in Westminster. 

JACK KEARNS: Educational Meetings

Going to London was a fantastic opportunities with once in a lifetime meeting opportunities with amazing companies, think tanks, NGOs and how they have contributed to the suitable development goals.

Oxford VR is a groundbreaking company that is on the cutting edge of using virtual reality as a way to help cure and reduce phobias such as height and social anxiety. While a different meeting from the previous city. it was none the less equally valuable. 

Chatham House or the Royal Institute of International Affairs is a global policy think tank based in London that advises and researchers on issues. We were presented with various fellows at Chatham house, who each discussed various research projects into public policy and reports. These ranged from reducing meat consumption to energy efficient and sustainable laboratory in less developed countries. 

CoGo (Connecting Good) is a social enterprise that has developed an app to collate and create an easily accessible way for consumers to purchase from companies that align with their values. Going to the Google Innovation Hub, which houses the CoGo headquarters, was an amazing experience where we learnt the challenges of  start up and the pitfalls of accreditation and making sure that a product or service is truly what it says it is.

Overall these were fantastic meeting that offered great and differing insights into how the SDGS will hopefully be accomplished by 2030!

EADAOIN ROUGHAN: Non-educational activities

Our second stop London proved to be a favourite for many delegates! The hustle of London was very different to the hustle in New York which shocked many.

We were accompanied by Patrick, our trusty Global Development tour guide. He showed us the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Square and the Buckingham Palace. We thought the dad jokes would stay in New York but boy, were we wrong.

During our free time delegates were able to visit the National Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe and the National Gallery. We also had the opportunity to shop within the Borough markets, Camden Markets and Trafalgar square! A highlight for me was watching the Lion King musical at the Lyceum theatre and the masterchef competition in the hostel.

There were so many friendly people around London, especially the elderly couple we met at a Pret A Manger. Shout out to Anne and John for keeping us company as we waited for our sandwiches.

Overall, London was an amazing experience and I look forward to visiting London sometime soon!

HALA BAKARAT: What’s next for the tour?

So, what awaits us past the bustling city of London? Roma it is! From the rich historic sites to the…more rich historic sites, the delegates can’t wait to sink knee-deep in Roman history. We’ve all read about the gladiators, empires and the mechanisms of Ancient Rome so I can imagine it to be extremely surreal to see all those words over the years, come to life. Rome indicates the midway point of our tour, and although a bittersweet moment, the trip falls over the weekend so we manage to score ourselves some time to unwind and explore our surroundings. 

One exciting meeting does await us however, the World Food Programme! It is the worlds largest humanitarian organisation addressing SDG 2; zero hunger. Although the turn over really is a bit tight (as soon as we land on Roman soil, we will be heading to the meeting), we’re eager to see what incredible projects are being worked on and how we can aid in helping the shocking 821 million people who are undernourished. 

All that awaits us now is a 2.5 hour flight for our new adventures to begin. When in Rome, gdt shall take the throne !!!