By Lesley Ta, Malden High Junior and UN Reporter for the 2013 Invitational Model UN Conference
International communication and foreign diplomacy have become increasingly imperative tools in the modern era. With seemingly endless limits to accelerated information, the world has become a place where set boundaries are surpassed with increasing regularity. There has been growing concern over the leadership capabilities of the current generation. With technology’s expanding force, many traditional methods have been abandoned; alas, the current generation is the first to ride out the newly intimate world with an edge.
Will our children seamlessly succeed into our governments?
Students learn valuable skills, such as public speaking, conflict resolution, and compromise at MUN conferences
United Nations (UN) simulations are gaining ground throughout the world. Thousands of middle school aged and high school aged students are participants in these conferences. They often set a solid foundation for public speaking and a passion for international relations.Will they continue to fight our wars, to initiate the same mistakes? Will they learn to become informed, enlightened individuals?
In each conference, pairs represent a single country; they are responsible for accurately representing the country’s response to an authentic developing issue. The role – playing required of students can often be contemplative of oneself; it is common to observe delegates becoming passionate regarding their duties as ambassadors.
The United Nations Security Council, both genuine and simulation, is considered the most prominent congregation of the United Nations.
Absolute members of the Security Council total 15 countries; five of which are permanent: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Current totating member countries are: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Australia, Guatemala, Luxemburg, Morocco, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, and Togo.
The General Assembly (GA) is the only division of the UN with representation from all member countries. The GA elects the rotating seats of the Security Council (SC) and may constitute recommendations of action to the council. The GA is not privileged to decide on the SC responsibilities of peace and security.
The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) hosts the Invitational Model United Nations Conference (IMUNC) at Northeastern University (NU) annually. Sponsored by National Grid and Global Classrooms, this convention is available to both public and charter schools in Boston and it’s surrounding cities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Lynn, Revere, Malden, Somerville, Everett, and Worcester.
Middle school and high schools students were exempt from participation fees due to the financial support provided by UNA-GB’s generous donors. The 2013 IMUNC was postponed from March 8th to April 1st due to an intense snow storm.
At nine am on April 1st, participants were greeted with the well wishes from the directors of NU’s International Relations Council and UNA-GB’s Curriculum and Instruction Manager, Rebecca Corcoran.
IMUN Secretary-General Evan Brunning expressed inspirational roots; Brunning began participating in Model United Nations as a college student.
Students step into their roles as delegates
IMUN Head Delegate Katherine Teebagey opened the floor to questions and generally received inquiries from middle school students. The younger crowd’s questions focused on the law career opportunities that the IMUNC could open.
The High School Security Council was assigned to settle on North Korea’s nuclear threats. All countries selected for this committee mirrored the existing countries in the official United Nations Security Council.
Present countries were: the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Australia, China, Guatemala, Pakistan and South Korea.
Boston Latin Academy’s delegates portrayed the Russian Federation, Pakistan and South Korea. The John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science from Roxbury sent delegates to represent Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The positions of Australia, China, and Guatemala were secured by delegates from Malden High School.
North Korea was not in attendance to this event, however would have been depicted by Lynn Classical High School. Another Course to College, Academy of the Pacific Rim, and Lynn English High School were also not present. All absentee schools had country assignments for the Security Council debate.
The first session of the Committee occurred between 9:30am and 12:00pm. Chair Teebagey opened the formal debate with a volunteer speakers’ list. Discussion and consideration of issues were scattered and disorientated. Countries were either brief or reserved in their declarations.
Toward the end of the leading committee session, Chair Teebagey declared for a more ordered speakers’ list. All present delegations had to speak.
Chair Teebagey intended on ensuring the assessments of each country in attendance; her procedure proved to be instrumental for the situation at hand. After each territory had spoken at least twice, Chair Teebagey and the council members were satisfied at the clarification the proceeding gave.
With each standpoint given, perspectives were gearing in preparation for the second and final committee session.
Commencing at 12:45pm, countries were absolutely consumed and attached to means of humanitarian aid to the peoples of North Korea (NK).
Chair Darnell Louis and Vice-Chair Richard Yu of University of Massachusetts Boston moderated the committee for the duration of the second session.
The United Kingdom (UK) announced a focal point on humanitarian efforts, and was willing to give monetary reliefs; they mentioned a possible directory for self-defense in case of North Korean contentions.
Australia expressed fierce opposition to aid contributions; however they asserted sincere concerns for the people in need. In response to the Russian Federation’s wish of “diplomatic relations”, Korea’s and Guatemala’s “economic sanctions”, Australia adamantly pointed out their personal failed treaties with NK.
Pakistan suggested befriending NK in order to “force them to act in a reasonable way.”
China was accused of “not signing economic sanctions”, however repelled such statements. Australia fired at the Chinese delegation, believing that “China’s aid [to NK] was obligated.” China confirmed that it was the “bulk of the humanitarian aid” that NK was receiving; China responded to aid apprehension by stating that the assistance was for the “uplifting of the N. Korean state.”
The Russian Federation (RF) urged for caution when the discussion shifted to military action. Guatemala and Pakistan were anxious over the possible pretense of war, and concurred with the RF. Testifying indignantly, Australia stated that “it was not the sanctions that had made NK go bad, it was the N. Korean decision to not [follow them].”
The Republic of Korea eloquently added that there must be “unity and safety within the U.N. if NK goes to war.” They spoke earnestly on how unnecessary the NK threats were. The UK reiterated the concurrence of “safety and diplomacy first,” and a precedent for last resort military actions taken against NK with prepared reserves.
The Security Council passed for a moderated caucus discussing the details of a draft resolution. The moderated caucus immediately concentrated on the types of humanitarian aid applicable, and on what manner it should be delivered.
RF eliminated the option of monetary aid, however wished to concentrate on food, shelter, children and education.
The RF also believed that random inspections may be an option to ensure the distribution of aid to the general population. China strongly disagreed with this suggestion. The UK called attention to the N. Korean mentality, and the difficulties of providing aid within such a mindset. UK also clarified its military reserves as a “defense mechanism” rather than an anticipation of an “attack.”
China indicated the contradictory actions of imposing sanctions while giving aid. Guatemala chided China’s “refusal of a resolution.”
The Security Council passed for a five minute unmoderated caucus to in order to entice all veto -powered countries to agree on all terms of the proposed resolutions.
Amina Egal, representing the United Kingdom, stated that the country was “taking the North Korean threat seriously” and that a “state of war” was a possibility.
A troubled UK was desperate in convincing China to assent with military actions.
Australia’s Wyler Giordani and Jean Gedoan were exasperated with China’s disregard for the draft resolutions.
In response to China’s insensibility to military action, Giordani stated “ .. when a country is uncooperative and/or refusing to compromise, that is when the debate is over.”
Gedeon added that there was an interminable cycle of arguments occurring between China and the other delegations. Zeyu Zheng and Jiohnnie Diaz of Pakistan aspired to pass a long term solution; they believed that a short term solution would be a militaristic based one.
Zheng commented that the heated debate between the UK and China developed because each had advantages in passing/vetoing a resolution.
Guatemala’s delegate, Cara Mulligan, disclosed that “North Korea carries a huge problem,” but does not “pose as a threat.” Mulligan made it clear that Guatemala is anxious over the unpredictability of North Korea’s actions and the possible effects Guatemala will face as a result.
Mulligan represented Guatemala solo for the second committee.
Elahd Hain and Michael John of the Republic of Korea also shared Australia’s dismay. “China’s not listening,” they briefly commented, “we want a whole set of plans and China [only] wants a part [of them].”
China refused to comment during the unmoderated caucus.
Resolution 1.1: “Should diplomacy fail, economic sanctions will be implemented.” An amendment was added to ensure that “military intervention was ok as long as there was North Korean military aggression.”
An amendment was made to 1.1 as a result of the negotiations during the unmoderated caucus. Military action was to be the last, final resort to North Korean military aggression. This draft resolution passed with three abstaining, two “no” votes, and “four” yes votes.
Resolution 1.2: “Focusing on the people in North Korea as a government, [there will be a] discontinuation of monetary funds…but will have access to food, water, clothing, and education.”
Sponsored by the RF and South Korea, this resolution passed with a no vote from Australia, an abstain from Guatemala, a Pakistani pass, turned yes vote joining with China, RF, UK, and Republic of Korea.
Resolution 1.3 was vetoed by the United Kingdom, although had yielded a no vote from the Republic of Korea and yes votes from the rest of the delegation.
The High School Security Council had passed their resolutions around an hour before the conference ended. An emergency conflict was thrown at the Council, however did not receive much dedicated attention. The first conflict was civilian unrest in Mali of the Congo, however a situation with infighting within the North Korean government proved to be more appealing to solve.
The delegates of the United Kingdom, from The John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, were proclaimed the best public speakers.
Representatives of the Russian Federation, from the Boston Latin Academy, received the award for best position paper.
As of the conclusion of the 2013 IMUNC at Northeastern University, Malden High School’s China received the Security Council “best delegation” award.