The first Symposium, entitled: "Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations", brought together the first Indigenous delegates coming before the UN and Indigenous youth from the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Arctic and the Pacific for a four-day conference in 2013. Laying the groundwork for a review of 35 years of the promotion of Indigenous Peoples' rights through intergenerational and interactive dialogue with a formal, symbolic and public component, the Symposium gave rise to rich discussions and results. The Symposium conferences were held from 10 to 13 September at the Palais des Nations, in Room XVI, where the elder delegates had been based in 1977. More than 70 people took part in the Symposium.
The event was also designed to publicize the historical role played by international Geneva and Switzerland, which has been welcoming Indigenous delegates ever since the first Conference on the rights of indigenous peoples and the international Conference on discrimination against indigenous populations of the Americas.
The objectives of the 2013 Symposium are:
- to organize and film a four-day Symposium that is intergenerational, intercultural and respectful of gender balance on the history of the promotion of the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations;
- to facilitate networking between the pioneers of indigenous presence at the UN and the younger generation;
- to train young people in the production of audio-visual materials and in methods of collecting and recording oral memory; and
- to publicize the central role played by human rights for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples' rights.