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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Leading the debate

An update from Nicola, a senior international studies and human rights major:

ModelUN10.jpg Today was the first committee session of conference. It is a very important day, as it is when you establish your position within your committee for the remainder of the week – will you be a leader or a follower?

I sat down in my strategic position and found myself sitting between the delegates representing Russia and Brazil. One student was from Belgium, and the other was from Sydney. The fact that together we represented three continents shows just how diverse the students at World MUN are.

There was a motion to open committee, a speakers list was set, and then debate quickly began regarding which topic area we would focus on within committee. Topic A was Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Topic B was Medical Tourism. The majority of students within the committee were pushing for Neglected Tropical Diseases, but I maintained my country’s firm position and fought for Medical Tourism.

After a few hours of debate through the speakers list and moderated caucusing, Topic A: Neglected Tropical Diseases was chosen based on the argument that the issue was more pressing and affecting more individuals around the world.

Once the topic was chosen, it was crucial for me to start forming alliances and finding my allies. Unfortunately, this did not come easily as many of Armenia’s typical allies were not represented within World MUN’s World Health Organization (WHO). Sitting next to Russia and Brazil turned out to be a wonderful thing, though, as together we formed a partnership of Eastern European and South American States. Additionally, they were very strong and motivated delegates. As debate continued the three of us started pulling together a working paper.

After lunch, we resumed with Committee Session 2. Debate continued and we worked on our working paper more – the important thing about this committee session was that the leaders of the week were visibly pulling forward.

Monday evening was the WHO committee dinner. Between Committee Session 2 and Committee Dinner, some of us WHO delegates had to attend the mandatory head delegate meeting, and so we needed to meet up with the group at the restaurant later. Two delegates from Italy and I hopped in a cab to meet up with the group. What should have been a 10-minute ride was 45 minutes long as the driver chose to drive us all around the city. We made it to the restaurant eventually and luckily for us it was a buffet and so joining late was not a problem. On the plus side, I made two new friends!

After committee dinner, I went back to the hotel and met up with the SMUMUNers and we all went out together to the evening event. The evening’s event was a Lunar New Year celebration. It is Taiwan’s most important festival, marking the start of the Chinese year. The celebration had all of the traditional New Year customs – “dragon and lion” parades, dancing, traditional foods, a red dress code – and this all took place outside at the Chain Kai Shek Memorial Hall. They had transformed the square into a magnificent evening venue with large lanterns, booths and lights. It was a very fun evening!

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