Dreading the IFMSA General Assembly, and regaining my faith
IFMSA General Assemblies are a wonderful experience; meeting new friends, developing new skills, gaining knowledge, and being inspired.
I’m coming back to the IFMSA after being away for a year, and returning as a general delegate. It will be a new experience, as I have not been a participant in the Standing Committee in Medical Education before, and I have not had the luxury of being a general delegate rather than delegation lead, or vice lead for a few years.
The IFMSA is an amazing organisation, and by representing medical students in over 100 countries around the world, about 3 million students, it has the potential for being the most powerful student organisation in the world. Every IFMSA meeting I’ve been to, I have met amazing individuals who have educated, challenged, but most of all, inspired me.
But although I have many wonderful good memories of IFMSA meetings, I can’t ignore the problems I have faced at previous meetings. The last GAs were filled with the challenges of internal politics and bureaucracy; limiting the great work the IFMSA has the potential to achieve. Fighting against these challenges sometimes seemed so difficult, and personally upsetting, that it almost felt there was no point continuing.
It’s difficult to understand the perpetual resistance to positive change because individuals would rather further their own personal career, than work for the greater good. It is this selfishness that I found so tiring, and demoralising, and it is easy to see how people may want to give up.
So I find myself dreading the coming GA, as well as being excited.
At the same time, the best thing I’ve ever done within my time with Medsin was a 3 day workshop on Climate Change and health, and the use of Advocacy and Campaigning at an IFMSA meeting. So I know that the IFMSA does amazing work, with incredible individuals from around the world.
3 years ago the IFMSA didn’t talk about Campaigning, and Advocacy was a foreign word, and Global Health was ignored as a true concept. Now the IFMSA has been actively advocating on several areas to improve Global Health equity.
Why should Medsin-UK stay in the IFMSA? Because of the potential it has as an organisation; Medsin needs to keep fighting to ensure that the IFMSA reaches it’s potential, and that internal politics and bureaucracy do not limit the great work it could achieve.
My time in the IFMSA is done, and thankfully my successors are extremely effective as well as truly dedicated to Medsin having an influential voice. So my aims are contrasting to previous GAs: to have fun, to regain my faith in the IFMSA.
The preGA 3 day workshop I’m attending is – Health 2.0: the use of new technologies in health – is mostly for my own personal benefit.
And I’ll be attending the Standing Committee to increase the knowledge of Global Health Education, and hopefully get the chance to give participants the skill of using advocacy and campaigning to get more global health education in their medical school’s core curriculum.
I’m done fighting now, and hopefully this meeting will be marked by being inspired by young people from all over the world, rather than arguing, and dramatic speeches, allowing me to regain my faith in the IFMSA as a whole. It is the potential to be the most influential student organisation in the world, and with Medsinners working to improve it, there is hope that one day it will be.