Cornell University Model United Nations Conference, 15-18 April 2010
Nearly 500 high school students from 27 high schools from across the United States, and international delegations from India, China and South Africa, met in Ithaca April 15-18 to attend the ninth annual Cornell University Model United Nations Conference (CMUNC).
During this four-day conference, students took part in stimulating debate, and worked together to write resolutions on a variety of diverse issues, ranging from the Cold War to the Rwandan Genocide. This year's CMUNC was revamped to include a grand total of sixteen committees, four more than the previous year, thus minimizing committee size and increasing student participation. To maximize educational benefit, each delegate was sent home with an evaluation, complete with comments and suggestions from the Cornell staff on his or her individual performance.
A highlight of the conference was the opening ceremony, which featured a keynote speech by Yvonne Acosta, Chief of Education Outreach at the Department of Public Information at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Ms. Acosta's speech emphasized the importance of youth participation in international affairs and the value of Model United Nations Conferences, as well as the importance of international cooperation and diplomacy in preserving world peace.
Wits-MUN Conference, University of Witwatersrand, 6-7 March 2010
A two-day conference was hosted by the Model UN at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (Wits-MUN). Four South African universities sent teams of students to debate with one another as they role-played the Member States on three different committees of the UN.
The conference was funded by the British High Commission which enabled members of the Secretariat of the conference to be flown in from Cape Town thus ensuring the neutrality of those administering the proceedings. In addition to the Security Council and Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM) were also included as committees on which the students participated. Among the topics up for discussion were:
- Preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive materials and sources
- The availability of resources as a threat to global security
- Microeconomics as a means of lifting the bottom billion out of poverty
- Human rights and environment "
The debates were lively and the participants had clearly researched their issues. The format followed was loosely based on the Global Model UN format with sufficient time accorded for moderated caucusing in order to draft working documents and gain consensus where possible. Deliberations continued from throughout the afternoon of Day one and resumed on the morning of Day two before drawing to a conclusion after voting.
Prizes were given to the top two teams in each committee as well as the Best Speaker in each committee. To explain the voting process and provide participants with constructive feedback, both Mr Verhellen and Mr Reddy from UNIC Pretoria addressed the Closing Ceremony. UNIC Pretoria was thanked by Wits-MUN for its ongoing support of its programmes and, specifically, for its adjudication and information support for this conference.
East Africa Model UN Conference at the UN Office in Nairobi
Voices of youth delegates were heard from 16 to 19 February 2010 as the East Africa Model United Nations Conference took place at the UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The annual conference, which marked its 28th anniversary, was opened by Mr. Salim Amin, the Chairman of A24 Media in Kenya.
The Conference comes at a time when the world is grappling with climate change issues and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Currently, momentum is beginning to build up leading to a special MDG summit in September 2010 in New York. In his opening remarks, Mr. Salim Amin reminded the young delegates of the power of the media to bring to fore challenges and opportunities being faced by Africa and the rest of the world in addressing poverty. He said his organization was established to give a voice to Africa to tell its story from a different perspective."
“The images my father took still represent much of what people think of Africa 25 years on – starving children with flies in their eyes, executions and genocide that we continue to see on international news channels. We can only combat that trend if we have true influence on what is reported, covered and said about Africa, ” he elaborated. Addressing the same gathering, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference emphasized the need to acknowledge and respect religious diversity.
“Why is it that so often, two people not of the same religion, cannot come together to talk about religion without having some sort of tension or conflict?” he questioned. He urged fellow delegates to appreciate efforts which have been made in bringing young people together to give them the opportunity to discuss global issues such as poverty eradication, access to education, clean water and a better life for all.
“Let the world hear our voice,” was the message of the delegates at the closing ceremony of the East African Model United Nations (MUN) conference on Friday, 19 February 2010. The conference, which was attended by about 800 students, was considered a major success by both the organizers and the students themselves based on the active participation of everyone.
Addressing the delegates, UNIC Nairobi Representative, Testsuo Ohno, described the event as successful and useful for the young people to understand how the UN works. He said such kind of forums provided an opportunity for students to learn political, economic and social challenges that the world experiences.
He also emphasized the role of UNIC in such activities reiterating the Centre’s readiness to offer assistance required by MUNs.
Mr. Ohno congratulated the participants for their dedication and focus throughout the conference. He noted and acknowledged the role of the schools administrations in such events and encouraged the participants to take advantage of the support.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Secretary-General of the conference remarked: “The resolutions made within the four days of the conference, will have an impact on our daily lives and remind us of our responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone”. The East African Model UN is held every year with high school participants coming from Eastern African countries including Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
United Nations Office in Baku, Azerbaijan organises Model UN
The United Nations Office successfully partnered with the Administration of Baku Oxford School and The International School of Azerbaijan to conduct a Model United Nations session that took place on 4 December 2009.
Teams of students from Baku Oxford School and The International School of Azerbaijan as well as the Baku European Lyceum, The Turkish Anatolian High School, The Dunya IB School, and The Baku International School participated in a full day session, similar to the General Assembly of the United Nations, on the topic of "Promoting Gender Equity."
It was a very successful conference and students were well prepared (trained by UN DPI). The day was divided into an opening session where positions were stated, informal caucus time and a full General Assembly session. Each participant took on the role of a representative to the United Nations for a specific country and spoke as a diplomat of that country. Students surely benefited in developing various skills while practicing diplomacy, forming alliances and reaching a better understanding of leadership. At the end of the day a resolution was agreed upon.