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St. Petersburg, from the view of a runner-parliamentarian

Historic St. Petersburg provided the perfect backdrop to a productive IPU assembly – and a quick morning run I managed to squeeze in

The 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) general assembly unfolded in beautiful St. Petersburg from October 14 to 18. [I have been a delegate in previous IPU assemblies, but this is my first time to set foot in Russia. – optional, for added context]


I started my first day with a run by the river under the grey canopy peppered with orange and mustard draped trees.


When I travel for work, I always squeeze in a run despite the hectic schedule. It’s my own DIY tour. I don’t always have a destination. I usually just look at a map and try not to get lost!


For me, the simplest running route is usually along a river. That way, I don’t have to think where to turn. And since many old cities were built around the rivers, there’s usually a lot of historical sites along the way.


So, now, I’m ready for the day to unfold.


First, is the General Assembly of the IPU where I got the chance to greet many MPs I’ve worked with before. And then I get to meet new ones too.

Got to practice my Spanish with the Peruvians.

After the General Assemby, was the special session on HIV. This session was held to raise awareness among parliamentarians and to rally the members to take action.

The campaign is spearheaded by UNITE, the Parliamentarians Network to End HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis. Know more about UNITE via

Stay posted for updates on this campaign to raise global awareness on HIV.
Parliamentary Oversight

I was a panelist in this session where we discussed the role of parliament in overseeing government.

Dinner with Women Parliamentarians 

That evening, the President of the Assembly hosted a dinner for the women at the Winter Palace. It was another opportunity to exchange ideas with fellow parliamentarians in a more relaxed setting.


I had a chance to chat with Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of Russia’s Upper Chamber of Parliament and the well-loved former governor of St Petersburg. [Did you know that before entering politics, Speaker Matviyenko was a chemist by profession? I guess it’s an indication of how Russians value the role of women and scientists in their society. – optional, to round up/conclude the blog post]

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