SMU Model UN

Ten students in SMU’s Model United Nations program participated in the World Model U.N. 2009 Conference in March in The Hague, Netherlands. The SMU delegation was assigned to represent the Vatican at the conference, where students from more than 40 countries debated and discussed world issues facing the U.N. system.

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Seeking solutions for victims of terror attacks

Mahan.jpg An update from Mahan, an international studies major who served on the Model U.N. Disarmament and Security Committee:

Wednesday was another full day of committee session. Everyone is beginning to submit their draft resolutions and editions of working papers for review before they submit them as draft resolutions.

So far we have been caucusing with the Latin American block, but Argentina submitted a very unimpressive working paper that did not include any points we made during previous sessions. However, Bolivia was working with some others, including Peru, and produced a comprehensive working paper that the Holy See could agree with.

The whole time so far we have been pushing for clauses and measures that address victims’ post-terrorist attack guidance and counseling. The Holy See firmly believes that in order to break the cycle of violence, hatred, and resentment, the victims must be rehabilitated, supported (financially and spiritually), and counseled. Another main point we fought for was reintegration of the separatist group back into society with political representation through elections.

The Arab League surprisingly was very gung-ho about reintegration, which was good for the Holy See. Turkey was against this in the draft resolution we were working on with Canada, so that took a while to hammer out. The African block put out a draft resolution that included DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration), which was also good for the Holy See.

We were fortunate enough to handwrite a few clauses about victim counseling in two different draft resolutions, which was a huge deal. It was great how much speaking power we had in caucuses. Literally, we would say, “The Holy See has a statement,” and the whole group would stop and listen. Overall it was a good day of committee.

Lessons on nuclear weapons

The in-conference visit was absolutely fantastic! Ambassador Richard W. Butler came to DISEC to speak about non-proliferation. He had four main points:

1. As long as nukes exist, they will be used.
2. Any use of them would be catastrophic.
3. As long as nukes exist, they will proliferate.
4. Nukes are unusable (mutually assured destruction).

His main points to eliminate nukes were:

1. International control over nuke test cycle.
2. No weapons-grade material to be made ever again.
3. Dismantle all weapons
4. Renew START 1 and bring limits down by 50%.

He has helped to establish globalzero.org, which advocates a plan for a global agreement by 2010 to eliminate all nukes and create a legal instrument for implementation. He was a wonderfully brilliant man who was very down to earth. He spoke freely about the importance of ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains civil, and said that it is ridiculous that the international community turns a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear program.

Salsa night in The Hague

The day went very well. Although the evening’s social event, Cabaret night, seemed like a good idea, it turned out to be a bit of a flop. It was very high school dance-ish. So a few of us had a wander around The Hague and found a bar that had a weekly Salsa night. We had a great time salsa dancing and watching the locals dance as well.

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