Astrid Melchner (C’96)

Negotiating peace and enforcing human rights law

Astrid Melchner’s participation in Principia College’s Model United Nations (Model U.N.) solidified her interest in political science and human rights. Returning home to Switzerland, she organized the first Model U.N. in Geneva, home to the United Nations’ European headquarters.

Before long, Melchner was working for the real deal as a human rights officer with the United Nations. Since then, her distinguished career has included distributing grant funds to support the rehabilitation of victims of torture and slavery, providing high-level analysis to the U.N. Secretary-General, and working toward a peace agree- ment between Israel and Lebanon, as well as supporting peace talks among Syrian parties. Currently, Melchner trains government officials and others how to enforce treaties and human rights laws.
Summarizing her peacemaking approach, Melchner says, “If you look at a crisis and think there are only problems, it’s difficult to keep engaged. Looking at crises as opportunities is the only way to find solutions.”

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