Model UN: Suit Up and Move Out!

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Saving the Committee One Resolution at a Time
by Kai Newman, Jennifer Park, Jacky San and Andrew Kang

This January, SMUS delegates participated in the annual Vancouver Model United Nations. We participated in a multitude of committees, ranging from the United Nations Security Council to the African Union, involving many aspects of political issues.

“We were joined by non-other than the Honorable Member of Parliament from Papieau, Justin Trudeau.”

The days consisted of arduous and exhausting committee sessions that pushed us to our political limits. The first day was relatively relaxing, and included opening ceremonies, a basic tutorial, and a presentation by our keynote speaker. Over the course of the next two days, all debates grew increasingly heated and required our full attention and brainpower. We also participated in a social dance, as well as a “midnight crisis”: a session held from midnight to 3:00 am to debate a unknown topic.

The topics for the different respected committees were the following:

  • SOCHUM (Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Committee): women’s rights and child soldiers.
  • WHO (World Health Organization): HIV/AIDS and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  • DISEC (Disarmament and International Security Committee):Arab Spring and private military companies.
  • WTO (World Trade Organization): genetically modified organisms and food aid as dumping.
  • UNSC (United Nations Security Council): Sudan and global maritime security.
  • UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program): marine and coastal ecosystems, and sustainable energy in developing nations.
  • AU (African Union): Niger delta oil and the droughts in East Africa.
  • UNODC (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime): human trafficking and US-Mexico drug trafficking.
  • JCC (Joint Crisis Committee): a simulation of 2016, where the growing tension between USA and emerging China market creates a global conflict.

Regardless of the excitement of debate and the intuitive ideas being bounced between delegates and committees, it was the keynote speaker who made the whole conference meaningful. We were joined by non-other than the Honorable Member of Parliament from Papieau, Justin Trudeau, who shared some words of wisdom into the landscape of youth politics.

“There could have never been a better experience for SMUS students to ask pressing questions and enlighten themselves on Canadian politics.”

Trudeau communicated unique ideas on the representation in the Senate, youth votes and the current state of government. He encouraged the engagement of youth in their local politics and argued for representation of people of all ages. He applauded us on our commitment to the conference and explained the importance of understanding global views from a young age.

Finally, he gave us the opportunity to have a question and answer period, where an overwhelming amount of people lined up at the podium to ask him questions — a good many of them SMUS delegates! In the end, time ran out in the schedule and some had to go with their questions unanswered. However, some of us managed to meet up with Justin Trudeau in the lobby and personally asked questions as well as got pictures and autographs. There could have never been a better experience for SMUS students to ask pressing questions and enlighten themselves on Canadian politics. This time was not wasted!

In the end, we returned to school with new knowledge on the workings of both the United Nations and Canadian politics. The next Model United Nations will take place on March 2 and already a good many students have signed up to take part in the event.

Find out about more upcoming leadership opportunities on the leadership blog.

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