Model UN Conference “In order to pursue justice, you must feel the injustice first”
Power. Defined as the control and influence over other people and their actions. It is something many wish to acquire; through intelligence or physical force. Yet, when power is attained, it is hard to hold on to and even more difficult to use wisely. Last year, I experienced how difficult it is to use power when it is actually attained. Joining Model UN has been an extraordinary experience I will never forget.
My first conference at the University of Toronto was eye-opening. As part of the Disarmament and International Security Committee, delegates from different schools worked together on a successful resolution that would end Israeli-Lebanon disputes and attacks from the Hezbollah, a heavily armed and supported paramilitary group that has fought with Israeli forces to defend Lebanon due to the lack of a central government or authority. At the end of the day, I even had the honour to hear famous UN peacekeeper Romeo Dallaire speak about his experiences in Darfur and the genocide there. After my first conference, I gradually began to understand how the UN worked. In November, I attended SSUNS, the major conference held each year in Montreal attended by schools from around the globe. My committee was UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific) and there were approximately 50 countries and 5 NGO’s. After much research on my NGO, CARE, and determining what my views were towards gender equality, human trafficking, and poverty reduction, I managed to write a successful position paper. While I was researching, I was shocked at some of the statistics that came up. Approximately 218 million children around the world are involved in child labour instead of receiving adequate education. Many are trafficked into prostitution, domestic servitude, dangerous mining, and even armed conflict. Human trafficking has also led to a rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Using the dollar a day poverty standard, about 1 billion people in Asia and the Pacific still live without access to education, shelter, clean water, healthcare, and other necessities to sustain life.
At the conference room at the Delta Hotel, I met some amazing students who were determined to create the best resolution that would solve these critical issues peacefully while adapting to each country’s situation and needs. Despite the powers we were given to create resolutions and implement new programs within countries, there were many limiting factors that hindered a mutual agreement for resolutions. Some delegates revealed corruption in their country’s government, other Asian countries voiced their concern over the clash with religion that would happen if the UN implemented an end to arranged marriages. All of a sudden, I felt the difficulty the real United Nations faced every day. If it took a whole day for our committee to finally agree on two measly resolutions, imagine how strikingly difficult it would be for the real United Nations to create a solid resolution.
Model UN not only taught me about how the UN operates, but the shocking conditions some countries were in. I’ve heard many influential speakers at the conferences and one I particularly remember said, “In order to pursue justice, you must feel the injustice first.” It was understanding the devastating injustices of these countries that led me to feel the need to create a resolution that would help ameliorate their lives, even if it was only Model United Nations. I strongly encourage NT students to take part in the exciting conferences this upcoming year, as I am positive you will begin to look at the world from a different perspective.