Meet the New Board, Part 13: Rebecca Hartill, Secretary

Say hello to Rebecca Hartill, Secretary of the Society of International Affairs!

What made you want to be the secretary of UF?

Rebecca: Well, I´ve thought about becoming an active member of UF since I started university in 2015. I´ve always gone to the Society´s lectures and events and last semester I finally got around to applying. I suppose I applied for secretary because I wanted to have experience of working in a presidium of a non-for-profit organisation. The most valuable experience so far being to write protocols, since it gives me the opportunity to write formal documents in English.


Tell us a bit about your background in general and your interest in international affairs?

As a political science student I suppose I must say I´m from a working-class background. My mum´s from west Sweden, and dad´s from Derbyshire, England. Before going to university, I worked for a few years. I never really planned to do a degree, one day when I was fed up with work I sort of half-heartedly applied for a three-year course for a B.Sc. in political science. And here I am, super in love with the academic fields I´ve chosen, currently studying my last semester in economics before I write my thesis. I´m not sure why I´m so into international affairs… I´ve just always been interested in politics, since I was a kid. When I was little I also used to be very fascinated by other cultures and languages. I´d like sit and turn the pages of our atlas at home or pretend I spoke Russian or something like that. So, I suppose my interest in IA has just kind of always been there in the back of my head, even though I haven´t acted on it until recently.


Donald Trump recently announced that the United States will pull away from the Paris Agreement. What are your thoughts on this matter and what are your best tips for sustainable living?

Well, to be honest, I´m not sure I really know enough about the details around the Paris Agreement to say anything substantial. I think, of course, that the US president is making a huge mistake. But that’s neither a surprising answer nor very interesting. I think a US default might be a turning point for who dominates globally. I have a book at home by Martin Jacques titled “When China rules the world”. I haven´t read it yet but when I walked past my bookshelf the other day and spotted it I thought that Mr Trump has sparked just this, a Chinese led world order.


I also think that the narrative or discourse or whatever one wants to call it, in mainstream media and even in academia (as much as I´ve read at least), has a very narrow perspective on how to cope with climate change and how to create sustainable living. The focus is all too often on state cohesion and how states or other international and supranational organisations must subdue capitalist markets. However, I have never read a single article on how consumer power can, at least in theory, alter markets completely. Basic micro economic theory suggests that producers supply what consumers demand. Now, I´m not suggesting altered consumer demand is the answer to all problems related to climate change. I am however suggesting that sustainable living to a certain extent starts with the individual consumer.


Who is your favourite movie villain and why?

That’s a difficult question. I have several villains I´m slightly fascinated by. Hans Landa, Bellatrix Lestrange, the Joker and Hannibal Lecter are all villains I´d like to have dinner with if I could, given that my physical safety could be guaranteed, of course; I guess I simply find them intriguing. But if I had to pick, I´d pick Hans Landa. For one thing, I think Christoph Waltz does such a terrific job playing the character and also, he´s just so sneaky, you never know what he´ll be up to next.


What are you looking forward to this summer?

I suppose I´m looking forward to the thing all residents of Sweden look forward to; temperatures above + 10 degrees Celsius, more than 4 hours of sunlight and green surroundings. I´ve also had some books for a while waiting to be read, I´m looking forward to reading them.