Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Intern's Voice, Lucie Perrier

Human Rights, NGO, UN, Social Justice, New York… These were the keywords which caught my eye and dragged me into this office.

Before coming to 777 UN Plaza, NY, I didn’t have any idea that some people, somewhere in the world, were defending older persons. That is what appealed me to apply for this internship at GAA.

My name is Lucie Perrier and I have been at GAA since the beginning of August 2009. I will start my senior year in a couple of days at the Lycée international of Aix-en-Provence in France. This high school has offered me a lot during the past two years, providing me with a free international education as it promotes bilingualism and biculturalism. Thanks to the opportunities my teachers have given me, I have become increasingly interested in geography and current affairs. This is how I got involved almost a year ago in a life-changing experience called EYP. These three letters stand for European Youth Parliament, a non-profit organization encouraging European youth to engage actively in citizenship and cultural understanding. During EYP sessions and debates, I learned about Human Rights, international organizations such as the UN and the role of NGOs. Discussions with 300 European teenagers just like me, made me realize how important peace keeping and social justice were indifferent to cultural disparities.

It is almost the same purpose at GAA. We want to raise people’s awareness about the need for equality and respect but focused on older people. In order to do that, we look for articles dealing with seniors and post them to our website ( Being a high school student was intimidating the first day but thanks to the friendly atmosphere reigning in the office and the welcoming attitude of the older interns, it felt like home.

During these past weeks, I have been responsible to find articles in both English and French about elder rights in the US and in the world. I’ve looked at how older persons live in rural areas and what happens to them in armed conflicts or how they find help, if any, for their health care. I also contributed to the “look” of the website by updating the FrontPage every Friday. Posting on the website was relatively challenging for me as I had practically no computer skills. Thanks to GAA and our team work, I have learned a lot about computing.

One article that particularly touched me was titled Curtain falls on world’s oldest pupil, but after fulfilling his dream. Posted on August 16, 2009, the writer spotlighted Kimani Maruge, an 89-year-old Kenyan man, known as the oldest pupil in the world, passed away. He wanted to read so he could interpret the Bible on his own and to learn simple arithmetic. He became a symbol of the Kenyan government's success in offering free primary education. Even more, he demonstrated the resilience and hope of many uneducated people for basic literacy. Thanks to his big step, many adults went back to school in Kenya after the introduction of free primary school education in 2003. For this reason, Mr. Maruge spoke at the United Nations Millennium Development Summit on the importance of free primary education. He stated that "it would be good if all children of the world could go to school." I will always remember his quote because I am convinced that education is one of the most essential rights that everyone should enjoy.

I find GAA’s work very valuable and helpful to the UN. GAA’s attempts to encourage a convention or treaty guaranteeing the human rights of older persons is very important to all countries. Having the opportunity to be a part of the GAA team opened my eyes to the current plight of older people. Thanks a lot to Susanne and Magali! I will never forget my experienced with you and all the interns!


  1. HI GAA. Great sum-up of the GAA experience.. .but check out the website address. It's incorrect. . .should be

    Thanks, A reader

  2. Dear Lucie,

    Thank you for your commitment to the rights and welfare of the world's elderly. As a 66 year old male, I know how important advocacy and activism on behalf of the elderly is. I encourage you to keep up your interest and work for the aging, since they are presently without much support globally. The rights of the aging is one of those emerging issues with important social, moral, and ethical implications for our world, and you have made a great start at addressing it by interning at GAA. Thank you again, and keep up the good work.


    Ken Tulloch

  3. Dear Reader,

    Thank you for noticing this mistake. It is now changed in the blog post.

    The GAA Team