Model UN 2010

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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Day of action

An update from Igli, a first-year civil engineering and finance major:

“A king’s scepter represents his earthly power, the focus of royal authority. But [justice and reconciliation] is higher than the scepter. It’s enthroned in the hearts of [each country].”

On day five of committee, the delegates continued the rigorous debate involving the issue of reconciliation and justice in societies after extreme violations of human rights. As stated in the quote above, to ensure fairness in societies, as nations we must act in a responsible manner to set the foundation for true justice. The delegates in this committee felt a responsibility to reshape the legal framework currently in place to implement a system that ensured the protection of human rights and that created an efficient process of healing.

Personally, in this committee we were representing a nation that has experienced one of the early ripple effects of genocide. From 1915 to 1923, more then one and a half million Armenians were killed and half a million survivors exiled by the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire. A century later the existence of this tragedy is still being debated by the international committee.

Even though there is a substantial body of evidence documenting this genocide, political interests have prevented the international community from the simple task of recognizing the genocide. As stated in the words of Adolf Hitler, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Keeping this in mind, Chad and I stood by the principles of Armenia – to introduce a system that truly brought justice with the support of all nations. Realizing Armenia’s dark past as victims of this inefficiency, we truly felt responsible to fight and seek a revolutionary change for those principles.

At this point we were all scurrying around trying to merge certain ideas into one resolution outlining the new foundation of approaching justice and reconciliation. Allied with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, we pursued the support of draft resolution 1.3, which guaranteed sovereignty of each nation to regionally focus on justice and reconciliation, with international advisement and support.

Recognizing the ICC’s inefficiency to respect the countries’ cultural barriers, as delegates representing Armenia, we aided in the introduction of the RCHR (Regional Courts on Human Rights) to pursue such cases in a local approach.

We introduced the following substantive clauses:

The Legal Committee of this Assembly:
Supports restorative justice for those with the least degrees of responsibilities and suggests entering reintegration programs in cooperation with existing UN Agencies and local development programs.

Suggests states to consider adopting Reparation Programs that will encompass the following;
a. Psychological and physical rehabilitation for the victims.
b. Restitution and compensation for the damages caused by the human rights violations;

Encourages the creation of educational programs, directed by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), to;
a. Educate citizens on their rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the consequences of violation.
b. Raise awareness about local judicial systems and practices.

In return, through the collaboration of these ideas with the Russian Federation and a mixture of African and Asian countries, we were able to come into an agreement. Our support grew as our resolution adopted principles that respected local and cultural sovereignty, rehabilitation efforts aiding the reconciliation process, and the establishment of a legal framework involving hybrid courts that modeled the merits of the Gacaca courts and the Inter-American Court of Justice.

The level of empowerment that we felt today was indescribable. Overall, it was a day of decisive action!

In that same spirit of empowerment and action, we unanimously motioned for an evening of fun! Harvard University and the National Taiwan University organized an extraordinary social event that involved a cultural display of music and martial arts. It was unimaginable to witness the talent the students possessed. To complete the night, the organizers introduced a trampoline for anyone brave enough to prove whether they were truly the master of kung fu at the party.

Taking a moment to think, I felt a sense of inspiration and reward in an atmosphere when one had the opportunity to meet friends with different ideals and customs. I witnessed the diversity that this world is composed of and in return realized that this diversity – rather than bringing division – creates completion in our lives.

“Kung Fu Master Night” – The title says it all! This was a true memorable evening of dance and cultural exchange for all.

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