Humans of ISC65: Gabriela Taveras

Gabriela Taveras from the Dominican Republic will be our next featured advocate! Let's all get to know her as well as her beautiful country and the passion for tackling refugee crisis issue!


"The study of development envelops us in a world of externalities, improbable linkages, and individual considerations, in the hopes of producing positive, long-term socioeconomic benefits for humanity. One of the reasons I decided to continue my education at the Graduate Institute was to not only comprehend this complex set of factors, but to understand successes and gain inspiration for the future(...)"


Q1. Please tell us what are the reasons/motivations that made you apply for ISC65?

The study of development envelops us in a world of externalities, improbable linkages, and individual considerations, in the hopes of producing positive, long-term socioeconomic benefits for humanity. One of the reasons I decided to continue my education at the Graduate Institute was to not only comprehend this complex set of factors, but to understand successes and gain inspiration for the future: a future where I can help turn developing countries into pioneers of sustainable agriculture, and where land

policy and politics can find more common ground.

Few people know the Dominican Republic is where the American continent’s first university was founded. Even fewer know that, in 1956, the Dominican Republic was the only Caribbean country that harboured Japanese migrants. The history of diplomatic relations between the Dominican Republic and Japan exemplifies the case of an interesting, and subsequently resolved, development challenge. With their technology and advanced skillset, Japanese migrants were able to work with the poor soil in some of the communities they

established. They brought with them a number of innovations that transformed Dominican society, such as fertilisers, insecticides, and aquaculture.

Because of these groundbreaking contributions Japan has made in my country, I am excited to gain firsthand knowledge of how Japan has continued to be a leader in the field of development, especially through the fascinating round table discussions and engaged practitioners. Japan’s commitment to socioeconomic progress and environmental conservation - especially pertaining to small island developing states (SIDS) such as my own - is reflected in the Japanese government’s grant of US$44,000 to the trust fund to assist SIDS and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

The International Student Conference allows us not only the opportunity to discover the distinct characteristics of development around the world, but also the commonalities that allow us to work together towards a greater purpose. Attending an international conference of this magnitude in a country that acknowledges the complexities of transformative sustainable development and that, more importantly, believes in the power of capacity training to achieve it in developing countries, will truly be a hallmark of my experience as an aspiring development practitioner.


Q2.What do you think about your table’s topic?

Before the 2014-2015 Refugee Crisis began, the Dominican Republic has always confronted

migrational challenges of its own. My country shares the island with the Republic of Haiti, a

country long marred by socioeconomic, environment, and transparency-related challenges. In the midst of dealing with xenophobia and broader discrimination towards people of African- descent, fellow Haitians represent the largest migrational group in the Dominican Republic, a trend that has remained consistent for the last few decades. As such, we know of the challenges faced by countries such as Lebanon and Turkey, the places with the highest

number of refugees per capita and the overall largest refugee population in the world,

respectively: the obstacles of being a developing country tasked with ensuring the livelihoods of individuals fleeing from suffering, despair and hardship.

The migrants who choose to call the Dominican Republic and Japan their home deserve to

have the backing of The Global Compact on Migration, that will ensure their rights are

respected on a global scale, and hence surpass all prejudices caused by previous historical

hardships. Therefore, I believe my participation in Table 1 will arm me with the knowledge,

training and resilience required to become an engaged person who can help with the ongoing challenges refugees face.


Q3.What do you think about your table’s activities in overall now?

I truly enjoy how active the ISC preparation is! I love the emphasis on learning, discussion and bonding that have taken, and will continue to take place in the coming months.


Q4. Can you share hare with us some of your feelings towards the upcoming ISC65?

I am in awe, and feel blessed to have been accepted to participate in ISC. Attending this event has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and visiting Japan has been at the top of my bucket list for my entire life. This will definitely be a summer to remember.


Q5. Can you tell us a little bit about your hometown?

I am from the paradisiac island country of the Dominican Republic, but am currently living in

Geneva, Switzerland.

In the Dominican Republic, I lived in Santo Domingo, its capital. It is a chaotically beautiful

combination of cars, fresh fruit, skyscrapers and some of the most beautiful natural

landscapes created. It is a land of decadence, compassion, scandals and historical relevance.



Geneva is a stately city, known as Europes’ heart of multilateral diplomacy. It’s a small melting pot of cultures, price shocks and multilingual neighbours. While here, you will find individuals from far-off corners of the world, thrown into this small city off 200,000 people for an array of reasons: diplomatic postings, family members, job opportunities, or as a means to escape reality in different ways.

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