Monday, February 21, 2011

Model United Nations - by Hannah

The conference room where we met and debated.
While Renita is still in Liberia, we get a word from Hannah.

From Thursday, February 3rd, to Saturday, February 5th, I had the pleasure of partaking in an annual event here in Ghana called the Model United Nations.  Every year, the Lincoln Community School hosts M.U.N., and schools from Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso all participate.  It is a fairly intense three days, very fun but very formal.   

My placard as the USA.
Okay, so this is how MUN works.  Every year, a couple hundred kids from about 3 countries in West Africa get assigned a country to represent in the Model United Nations Conference as delegates from that specific country in a simulation of a real United Nations conference.  There are several different committees existing within the United Nations, and therefore in MUN.  These committees include the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Human Rights, Environment, and Security Council.  Each year, each of the individual committees have four issues that the delegates in those committees focus on.  Each delegate is asked pick two or three topics to write resolutions on.  These resolutions are brought to the conference, with the intentions of debating and, in the end, passing resolutions on each topic.  

The chairs of our session. They ran everything, called on delegates to ask questions (called Points of Information) and debate, they restored order, called for breaks, and if delegates were late, the Chairs decided their punishment.  For example, six of the delegates were forced to dance to Single Ladies by Beyonce when they were late for sessions.

Other delegates from AIS participating in MUN.
This year, I represented the United States in the Security Council.   The topics for the Security Council were the Question of the Arab-Israeli Conflict; the Question of the Crisis in Yemen; the Question of the Privatization of War; and the Question of the Iranian Nuclear Program.  I wrote two resolutions, one on the Arab-Israeli Conflict and one on the Iranian Nuclear Program.  Both issues are very important and significant to me as the delegate of the US.  Being the delegate of the USA in the Security Council is a big job, since the United States is one of the P5 powers, which also include the Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, France, and the United Kingdom.  Each of the P5 Powers has veto power in the Security Council; this means we can veto any resolutions that we want for whatever reason we want.  This also means that all of the other nations tend to vie for our votes and support.  It was such a great time!!  The group was small, only about 15 delegates and two chairs, but that was so much nicer because everyone got a chance to speak and debate.   
On the right is the Delegate of China and on the left is the Delegate of Austria.  Both were awesome guys and I became friends with both.
There were some very lively debates between the USA (me) and the delegate of Iran, the delegate of Japan was interesting as she frequently spoke strongly and ‘offended’ some of the other delegates (it was hilarious), and the delegates of the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China vetoed 5 resolutions combined, out of about 8 total.  On the first day of debates, the second day of MUN, I was so nervous, but after the first few times of standing up to speak I started enjoying myself.  We debated from 8am-4pm, with a lunch break and small breaks in between.  It ended on a great note, with the delegate of China supporting a resolution on the suspension of all Private Military Companies so China could take over the world due to the fact that China has the ‘largest standing army’… meaning the highest number of people.  When asked if he was supporting and planning to initiate World War Three, he responded that “It wouldn’t be World War Three, more like a total demolition,” at which the whole committee burst into laughter.  The last day of MUN proved just as exciting, as we began debating the Iranian Nuclear Program.  Halfway through the debates, the P5 powers came up with a plan.  We all ended up passing the delegate of Iran’s resolution… except for China, who vetoed it as planned.  After a resolution gets vetoed, the P5 Powers go into a caucus where the resolution is altered in the hopes of altering the resolution enough to satisfy all parties and pass the resolution.  We ended up altering his resolution, much to the delegate of Iran’s chagrin as he read the altered portion.  We (the P5 powers) ended up adding a clause that divided Iran into 6 separate portions, 5 of which would be separately owned by each of the P5 powers, and the 6th (approximately .2% of the total land) would be owned by Iran.  It ended with laughter, and a lot of good memories.  I had a great time at MUN this year.  It added some stress to the month of January, but it went really well.  I made a lot of friends, and learned a lot.  Plus, it can be nice to dress up and act formal for a couple days.  It was a very positive experience, and very interesting to learn more about current events.  I will miss it next year, after I go to college… but then I’ll be having a whole new series of adventures!! :-)
In the middle of a debate.  On the far left is the Delegate of Japan, next to her is the Delegate of Israel (who I was strongly allied with), next to him (the one standing) is the delegate of Iran who I had a lot of fun with since we were so against each other in the debates but got to be friends with outside of the debates, next to the Delegate of Iran is the Delegate of India who I also became friends with, and on the far right is the delegate of France.