Summer interview 2014 – Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC)
Arancha González is the Executive Director of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC). In this interview, she tells us about her focus during the summer, holiday plans and her recommendations for summer reading, music and activities in the Geneva region.
What are you working on this summer?
Loads to prepare for a very hectic second part of the year. I will be attending the SIDS [Small Island Developing States] conference in Samoa at the beginning of September. This is also our 50th anniversary, and we will be hosting our flagship event – the World export Development Forum – in Rwanda mid-September. Just after that there will be the UN General Assembly in New York and after that the bi-annual conference of World Trade Promotion Organizations in Dubai. Preparing all of this and more is on the menu for the summer!
I will take some holiday in August. It is a great time to get some distance to the office, relax, practice sports, and see family and friends; I will "re-boot" and come back full of energy for the second part of the year. I will spend time in the mountains in Soria (Spain) and then I'm off to Jordan, following the steps of Gertrude Bell.
What do you take the opportunity to do in Geneva during the summer?
I love outdoor living: occasional sailing and swimming in the lake, hiking in and around Geneva, walking to the office and breakfast on the terrace ... all the things one cannot do in the cold, rainy weather!
Do you have a place you really love, in Geneva or in the surrounding area?
I love hiking in the Jura around Col de la Faucille, overlooking the lake. Another favorite is taking the boat and crossing the lake, stopping to visit the little villages along the shore. When I want peace and quiet, la vallee de l'abondance or lake Le Bourget.
How about a summer book recommendation for our readers?
I would recommend three books:
Bernardo Atxaga's "Dias de Nevada". The last novel of my favorite Basque writer, intimate yet powerful. Those who have already read Obabakoak will love this one.
Jean Christophe Rufin's novel "Le Grand Coeur", an excellent description of the transition from medieval times to the renaissance in the person Jacques Coeur, treasurer of Charles VII. When west discovers east.
My third one which I very much look forward to reading is the latest Haruki Murakami's "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage".
And on the music scene?
Los Planetas and Izal, two great Spanish indie groups. I hope I can make it to Izal's concert in August!