More and more students and youth representatives are making their presence felt and voices heard at the United Nations. World politics and international relations have become an interesting space for them to come forward and put forth their views and ideas.
Model United Nations is one of the platforms which helps students to experience what it is like to represent the country at an international level and also think effectively about the nation’s development to bring about change. Indian Diplomatic Assembly 2018 held at International Institute of Management Studies (IIMS, Pune) on August 4 and 5, gave youngsters an opportunity to work on nation building and contribute towards the global community.
We caught up with a few of the participants to better understand the various committees of this MUN and what were the students’ takeaways.
United we stand
MUNs give students a chance to argue and counter-argue on things of global importance. Kushal Shah, vice-chairperson of the MUN General Assembly Disarmament and International Security Committee, said that this year’s agenda was Prevention of Arms Race in Space. He pointed out that the committee discussed issues revolving around national and global security which also included monitoring of nuclear weapons, mitigating conflict and arms trade.
“At the United Nations Security Council, members primarily determine the existence of threat to peace or an act of aggression,” said Ashwath Komath, president of the MUN Security Council. He added that the committee, both the model and the real one, aims to settle any dispute by peaceful means and recommends methods of settlement and sometimes imposes sanctions. He pointed out that the agenda set for this General Assembly was the situation in the Middle East.
While the agenda of the United Nations Human Rights Council was Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, the president of the committee, Apurva Singha said that this year they focused on promoting and protecting human rights across the globe.
“The council is responsible for addressing situations of human rights’ violations and recommending solutions to these issues through various discussions and coming to a decision which is relatively effective,” said Singha.
A study of reports and statistics is done by the participating members to understand the situation and come up with effective measures and suggestions which are then drafted.
“Social development has become a raging issue across the globe. This includes the protection of youth, advancement of women and those with disabilities, criminal justice as well as drug control,” said Abhradeep Mukherjee, chairperson of Humanitarian and Cultural Committee. But what is indigenous to the underlying discussion is the fact that each country has a specific set of culture which makes certain things acceptable and a few unacceptable. The committee members primarily discuss effective measures that can address racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance across the globe.
“The discussion conducted in the Economic and Social Council mainly revolves around the moral and logical fallacies and nuances of tackling economic problems that arise due to social conflicts or disturbances across the globe,” said Saumya Mukopadhyay, president of the committee. He pointed out that as a committee they were responsible for allocating the annual budget declared by the General Assembly to bring about an economic and social change in various countries. The agenda for the MUN was African countries emerging from conflict and how they can be tackled to enrich the lives of people there.
As head of International Press, Manmeet Sodhi supervised photographers and reporters, and was responsible for filming and editing the movie of the Indian Diplomatic Assembly 2018. He said that through IDA 2018 he has learnt a lot about not only international politics and policies but also what role communication, time management and leadership play at such events. He strongly believes that taking part in MUNs helps you become a better individual. “The best part about attending MUN is learning from people who are better than you. I take inspiration from those who show their strengths at MUN. I learnt how to think on my feet and juggle tasks at the same time,” he added.
Komath, who played the role of chief advisor, felt that MUNs help one to understand that there is no such thing as ‘a’ right answer but how one must develop critical thinking. “For a lot of people, MUNs are their first forays into public speaking and they also build your confidence. There are a lot of skill transfers that happen during an MUN,” he pointed out. He feels that Pune has talented MUNers and with further nurturing, they can grow and actually make a difference in the world.
MUNs are a good way of not only discussing what the youth feels about nations but also learn the basics of leadership and the overall development of society.