NAMUN 2016: Guelph Goes Global
Monday, February 29, 20160 Comments
Founded in 2010, the University of Guelph Model United Nations Team (UoGMUN) is a club run by students, for students. Members of UoGMUN range from students from the College of Arts, Social and Applied Human Sciences, Biological Sciences and Business and Economics. It’s a diverse club that provides students with the opportunity to engage in a simulated environment which mimics the operations of United Nations. Students are given the opportunity to participate in several conferences throughout the year such as Queen’s Model United Nations Invitational Western Model United Nations, McGill Model United Nations Assembly, North America Model United Nations (NAMUN), Ryerson Model United Nations, and York Model United Nations. Each student is given a choice of committees and countries or characters to represent at the attended conference. From there, it’s up to the student to do research about the country or character they are representing and write a position paper about it. This encourages students to engage in critical research while preparing for the upcoming conference.
This year, eleven delegates from UoGMUN attended NAMUN in Toronto. NAMUN is a conference that hosts over 150 students from Canada, the United States and international students from India and Singapore. This year there were four General Assemblies, three Specialized Agencies, three Joint Crisis committees, four Integrated Simulation committees and one Ad-Hoc classified committee; the abundance of committees provides students with a wide selection. Each participating school’s MUN delegation is sent a select amount of committees and countries and from there, students get to choose what interests them: there are some committees, such as Ad-Hoc, which require delegates to apply for consideration.
The conference began Thursday, February 18th at 3:00 pm, with opening ceremonies commencing at 6:00 pm at the Isabelle Bader Theatre on Victoria College campus and an address from keynote speaker, Dr. Mokhtar Lamani. As previous Head of the Office of the UN-League of Arab States Joint Special Representative for Syria in Damascus (September 2012- May 2014), Dr. Lamani had to deal with a recent crisis, yet still flew all the way to Canada to address attendees. He gave an informative and enriching speech about his experience, which concluded with a question and answer period. He was asked several questions, such as his opinion on the oil controversy in Saudi Arabia and whether or not governments should be run by parties whose main focus is religion. At 7:00 pm delegates rushed out of the Isabelle Bader Theatre and headed towards their rooms for the first committee session. Students from Canada, the U.S., India and Singapore took over the University of Toronto Victoria College campus, as U of T students were away for reading week.
Delegates continued to participate in extensive debate through all of Friday, and ended with a Pub Night at the Madison Avenue Pub in Toronto. Committee sessions began early Saturday morning, and several committees had committee lunches during the two-hour break. In the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Committee (UNESCO), four resolution papers were presented on Saturday. UNESCO consists of 35 delegates, and had a focus on the topic of protecting and preserving cultural heritage items, and equal access to education for the sexes. Due to the fact that the committee felt strongly about the first topic, the first topic was prioritized and solely debated on during the conference. Delegates from Bangladesh, Mexico, Burkina Faso, Qatar, Nigeria, USA, Cambodia, Tunisia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq created several resolution papers which discussed solutions to the issue of preserving and protecting cultural heritage sites and items. Topics in these resolution papers included educating large populaces about the significance of cultural heritage sites and items, developing and maintaining proper tourism, creating and ensuring extensive maintenance plans, creating security teams for guarding purposes, expediting the process of enlisting cultural heritage sites and items on the World Heritage List controlled by UNESCO, removing symbols of oppression, protecting against natural disasters, creating buffer zones and displacing movable cultural heritage sites and items to a safe location in times of conflict. After three long days of debate, Saturday night ended with delegates attending Orchid Nightclub in Toronto, and a Snakes and Lattes Board game night in the Marriott Eaton’s Hotel.
After four busy days in Toronto, closing ceremonies took place on Sunday in the ballroom of the Marriott Eaton’s Hotel. The Secretariat of NAMUN began the ceremony with several heartfelt speeches, giving way to the award ceremony. Delegates from each committee competed against one another for five awards. The Book Award (best position paper), Honourable Mention, Diplomacy Award, Outstanding Delegate and Best Delegate.
The University of Guelph MUN team performed amazingly, and took home three awards. Mallory Ament a third year student in the Political Science Program represented Mike Hoare (the mercenary leader) in the Integrated simulation, the Katanga separatist side of the joint crisis won Honourable Mention. Emerson Wargel a third year student in the Political Science Program represented the USSR in the United Nations Security Council won Outstanding Delegate. Dakota Randall, a fourth year in the English Language and Literature Program representing Burkina Faso on the UNESCO committee won the Book Award. The delegates from Guelph all had an enjoyable time at NAMUN this year.
Matthew Hickling, a fifth year Management, Economics and Finance student, who represented Mexico on the UNESCO committee said that he has been on several crisis committees over the years, has been assassinated as Lenin of the Bolshevik revolution, was betrayed by friends as the President of Mali, but never encountered such trusting and outstanding delegates as he did in UNESCO during NAMUN 2016.
George Charchoghlyan President of UoGMUN, who switched during the conference from Norway on the Ad-Hoc committee to Terentii Shtykov on the Korean War committee said that this year the club was blessed with talented, hardworking and committed delegates. He was honoured to participate in NAMUN for his third time, and is excited to see what’s in store in the future for his fellow delegates.