Simon Kläntschi

Simon Kläntschi (Landmine Survivors Network Vietnam (LSN-V): Simon holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva. Following his graduation, he interned at the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok and volunteered in a home for disabled children in Cuzco, Peru, where his tasks included teaching and physical therapy. Simon then worked in Berlin for the Ecumenical Network for Central Africa, a network of five German Christian humanitarian organizations which advocates for human rights and development in the Great Lakes Region. At the time of his fellowship, Simon was pursuing a dual Master’s degree in International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, specializing in International Security.

On my way to Vietnam

13 Jun

Tomorrow the day finally arrives when I will get on the plane towards Vietnam, where I am going to spend my summer working as an AP Peace Fellow with Survivor Corps Vietnam (formerly the Landmine Survivors Network) in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh province. This region close to the former demilitarized zone, which separated North and South Vietnam, is still heavily affected by unexploded ordnances (UXO) like cluster munitions as well as landmines.

During the past weeks I have been very busy finishing my studies in Paris, spending a couple of days with my family in Switzerland and preparing my departure to Vietnam. Right now, I am already in Bangkok for the weekend to visit some friends who I met two years ago during my internship at the Swiss Embassy. I was very happy to leave again for South-East Asia. I have never been to Vietnam before, however, so in this sense I am entering complete unknown territory.

I am very much looking forward to having the opportunity to work with Survivor Corps over the next few months. Even though I don’t know yet what exactly my tasks are going to be and how I will fit into the NGO’s daily work, I have already had first email exchanges with Survivor Corps staff over the tentative work plan, which looks highly promising and interesting – and also very challenging. As an AP Fellow, one of my main tasks will be profiling the NGO’s beneficiaries, i.e. victims of landmines and cluster munitions explosions, which then can be used for their fundraising and outreach strategy. Also, Survivor Corps is currently preparing various advocacy activities to urge the Vietnamese government to ratify the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which will celebrate its entry into force on 1st of August. This includes the production of a documentary film on cluster munitions issues in Vietnam, and I am impatient to contribute to this project. In addition to advocacy linked to the CMM, I will be asked to help supporting the promotion of two other priority campaigns, the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty and of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In any event, it is going to be a very rich and lasting experience for me, and I hope that I will be able to contribute to Survivor Corps efforts in the most positive way during this summer. I like the feeling of anticipation, which one has just before a departure to the unknown. There are many challenges and adventures waiting for me in Dong Hoi. I’ll arrive there Tuesday morning. Can’t wait any longer.

Posted By Simon Kläntschi

Posted Jun 13th, 2010

1 Comment

  • Gretchen

    June 18, 2010


    Hi Simon- I’m excited to read your blog and hear about your work in Quang Binh over the summer. It’s an amazing place that I often miss. Please send my best to everyone in the office! And good luck with your first weeks there.

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