"Point of parliamentary inquiry": Model UN Day
This week has been declared Model United Nations Week at LPC. Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda. I have participated in several MUN conferences back home, but being a delegate at Li Po Chun was an experience of its own: one of the wonderful experiences of attending a UWC is always having a friend who comes from the country you are representing. Our time as delegates kick started with an introductory session in the assembly hall on Monday, where the current firstyear and second year delegates gave an overview of the United Nations, the concept of Model United Nations and procedure, ranging from points of personal inquiry to motions and the introduction of draft resolutions.
On Tuesday evening we held a diplomatic reception, to which all delegates where expected to arrive in either the national costume of the respective country they are representing or formal attire. It was absolutely great to see the beautiful costumes that we had first spotted during the International Cultural Evening. I was representing South Korea and hence had the wonderful opportunity to wear a Hanbok, a Korean traditional dress characterized by vibrant colors and simple forms. It consist of a jeogori, a blouse shirt/jacket and chima, a wrap around skirt.
Sylla, my history teacher and supervisor of our school’s MUN Quan Cai, referred to me as a gigantic pink Korean polyester cream puff and himself as a faux James Bond. And indeed, I did look like a walking cupcake. I absolutely loved representing South Korea, not only because I had the chance to wear a Hanbok, but I also because my research helped me understand much more about Korean politics.
The next day, the actual Model UN conference took place. The courtyard was more colorful than it had ever been: the flags of our countries that had been hung up and the colorful costumes and suits were breaking the monotony of the white walls.
All first years were assigned committees and issues, the most current being the Security Council meeting on the topic of the Ukrainian Crisis and Crimea. We had the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) review the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, the Historical Economic and Financial Council discussed the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Experimental Security Council searched for solutions for the Senkaku/Diaoyu/ Tiaoyutai Islands dispute, the disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) passed resolutions regulating the use of unmanned combat air vehicles (known as drones), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) addressed the issue of climate change refugees; the Social, Humanitarian Cultural Commitee (SOCHUM) worked on combating organized crime in South America and the Historical Security Council went back in time for the 1982 Falklands War. I was a delegate in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), our task being the reform of United Nations Security Council.
After a motion to open the debate, the chairs maintained the speakers list and delegates spoke in the order they are listed. At this time, delegates have an opportunity to share their views with the entire committee. I personally always enjoy the moderated caucuses. During a caucus, which is a temporary recess, the rules of procedure are suspended. To go to a moderated caucus, a delegate makes a motion to suspend debate and the committee votes. Caucusing helps to facilitate discussion, especially when there is a long speakers list. A moderated caucus is a mixture of both formal and informal debate. Anyone may speak if they raise their placard and are called on by the Chair.
With the Security Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as provided for by the Charter of the United Nations in mind, the main points of our debate evolved to be the need of equitable representation, and with that increasing the number of permanent members in the Security Council. It was a very fruitful debate and in the end, after passing several amendments, we even passed a resolution.
Our COP Day ended with a gathering in the assembly hall. The chairs of each committee gave an overview of their respective committees actions and achievements over the course of the day and then awarded certificates for the “best” and “outstanding” delegates, as well as the “best position speech”. As well, funny awards were given away, such as “most likely to be nuked” (hit by a nuclear bomb), “most passive aggressive”, and “best dressed”. I received the award for best delegate, which made me quite happy.
It was a very successful COP - engaging, enriching, colorful and surely another wonderful opportunity to appreciate the great diversity (and cultural peace) on our campus.