How To Not Panic: A Guide For Next Year

The days before a Model United Nations begins are some of the craziest days ever. Any one who’s ever been a delegate will be more than happy to explain exactly why, and then some. No matter how small the MUN, how big the committee, how much you think you can just ‘wing it’ – there comes a time, about three days before the conference opens, when panic sets in. Did I research enough? Oh, no! I’m going to fail! I’m not going to get recognized! What do I do? What do I do? And it isn’t limited to just preparation. There’s also the stress that comes with finding the right clothes, the right shoes, printing out all your stuff, and wondering if anyone is actually going to want to lobby with you. While I can’t promise that this will fix it all, it can’t hurt for you to read a little more. It might even help.

1. Clothes

Before you try to locate and collect every blazer within a three-mile radius, keep this is mind – blazers aren’t the only thing you can wear to a MUN (unless you’re a boy. If you’re a boy, you need a suit. No other option. Sorry. Maybe you can try a waistcoat.) And for every one, regardless of gender, mix-and-match has been around for years. There’s no reason you can’t make two blazers last you four days – just pick a different shirt, tie, or trousers. Or, if you’re a girl, wear a dress. That works, too.

2. Shoes

The only real rule here is not to wear Crocs. Crocs are evil and wearing them will eventually cost you. No, I’m just kidding. Obviously, Crocs are out of the question, but formal closed shoes work just fine – and you really only need one pair, unless you have five different belts to match five different pairs of shoes with. Then you’re on your own. And if you’re planning on wearing heels, keep in mind that you might have to walk a long way to your committee – or, if you’re a Press Corps member, stay on your feet pretty much the entire time. So unless you’re sure you can handle walking around on six-inch stilts for four and a half hours straight, try to go easy on the height.

3. Travelling

This is specifically for international delegates. Chances are your flight is going to get in the evening before committee starts (three hours before, if you’re really unlucky). Some delegates get a day to acclimatize and try to deal with jet-lag, but if you don’t, don’t worry. Try to sleep on the flight instead of watching all those movies. If you can’t, hey! There’s always Starbucks, that loyal best friend that’s never going to let you down. Just be warned – there will be lines. And they will be long.

4. Nerves

It’s so normal to get nervous – about speaking, being looked at, even for a reason you can’t explain. I’m not going to tell you to imagine everyone in their underwear, but just keep this in mind – every single delegate in the room is probably just as nervous as you are. You’re never alone when it comes to that.

5. Lobbying

All you need to know – walk up and make friends first. That makes it a lot easier to work together in committee later, and gives you a little more time to get comfortable with a person. Then you won’t feel as awkward bossing them around later when you’re leader of the bloc.

6. Research

Do it. That’s all I have to say.

7. Awards

The more you worry about whether you’re going to win or not, the more you’ll stress yourself out. Don’t go into committee thinking you have to win, and don’t try to analyze every move you make so that it’s something that you think will get you in the running. As cliché as it sounds, a MUN is, first and foremost, for the experience. And don’t worry about winning so much that you spend your whole stay holed up in your room writing resolutions. Go out and shop! (I mean, that’s what I would do. And what I did.)

This is in no way an official guide for a MUN. I can’t guarantee that it’ll help you. But I hope it does, because I know as much as the rest of you how nerve-wracking it can be. Just (and don’t yell at me for this line) don’t forget to have fun.



WHO Knows What’ll Happen Next?

Who knows anything about anti-microbial resistance? Antibiotics? Bacteria? Most don’t bother learning more than what you’d find in an average biology textbook. The word antibiotics brings to mind the medicine you have when you get the flu, penicillin, and if you have a really good memory, Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered the drugs. But I’ll tell you who does know a lot about them, who has to know it because it’s part of the job description – WHO knows.

The WHO is the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations organization. The WHO knows that antibiotics are chemicals produced by certain special microorganisms. They have the ability to kill or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Anti-microbial resistance is the acquired resistance of a microorganism to an anti-microbial medicine which was previously used to treat it. This resistance is a threat to the treatment and prevention of a range of bacterial, parasitical, and viral infections that grows wider each year. Because of this, healthcare and research costs are increasing, surgeries like C-sections are becoming increasingly harder to perform, and more people are suffering, as microbes get sensitized, from diseases that used to be easier to cure. That’s why the WHO believes there is a need for immediate action, and all countries need to contribute.

That’s also why the WHO is currently discussing draft resolutions. The committee was, this evening, engaged in a question-answer session with the writers of Draft Resolution 1.3, with a panel of the six most important contributors answering questions about their paper. The purpose of this is the ironing out of kinks in the resolution. The delegates of Mozambique, Germany, Nicaragua, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Bahrain were in the process of explaining how and why their resolution would be effective, if passed.

However, the entire committee wasn’t completely sure that this was the best option. The questions that arose brought to light many of the concerns delegates had with regard to certain clauses of the question paper. The delegate of the USA had doubts about funding, and said that investment in anti-microbial research was at an all-time low. Where did they plan to produce investors from? The delegate of France wanted more specifics about the global fund the resolution proposed for all nations. It was supposed to be accessible to all nations in times of crisis, but France wasn’t so sure that it would be that simple. How did the six author countries know exactly what the needs of the other countries were, and what would prevent a country from siphoning money from the fund for its own purposes, even when there was no emergency?

Despite the concerns the committee had, the writers managed to answer. According to them, innovation funds would be set up all over the world by the Global Innovation Fund. This would focus on funding and recognizing scientists in antibiotic research who are normally simply published in scientific journals. They would also work with organizations to help scientists in developing countries. In response to questions about the creation of a global health fund, they proposed the establishment of global platforms for constant communication and discussion between the countries of the world. Hospitals, doctors, and science and health experts would also submit reports on the condition of the country in question before it could receive any funds, so that the country’s crisis could be confirmed as a real one.

But this was the discussion surrounding a draft resolution and not a true solution to the problem. All countries need to reach a consensus so that something can be done about anti-microbial resistance, which will, if carried out effectively, help what could grow to be millions of people all over the world.


The National News Nightly: Not As Simple As Putting It On Paper

If you haven’t heard of the National News Nightly already, here’s what you need to know. Just like CNN, it’s a news channel – an important one, which holds what every channel wants – that six o’clock slot. Owned by the National News Network, it’s under the presidency of Roxanne Jeffries. The NNN aims, every single day, to bring honest, fact-checked, validated news to the general public; more than anything, its reporters value journalistic integrity and a code of ethics that make it a credible news source. And this morning, twenty members of the NNN’s Executive Board walked into work expecting coffee… And got something else – a bomb.

They didn’t know it was a bomb at first. The only information – that there had been an explosion in downtown Boston’s Quincy Market. There was reason to believe that it had been caused intentionally and not by any malfunction. The Executives had one thought – what next? Plans were made – to interview witnesses, police officers, government officials; to contact the Mayor of Boston for a statement; to call Homeland Security and the Department of Safety; to send investigative teams to the site of the explosion; and to get live footage of the destruction the NNN’s 24-hour news channel. But first, more intel arrived – Reddit users had somehow ‘identified’ three potential suspects from footage of the area (two were named – Amir Jihad and Juan Martinez). All over social media, people were asking, “But what about our newspapers? Where are they?”

After lots of in-depth discussion, the NNN’s first action was to use every news outlet they had to send out the same message- that there had been an explosion in Boston, the source was unknown, and investigations were ongoing. In an attempt to avoid sensationalism and the feeding of Islamophobia, the network didn’t speculate on whether the explosion was a terrorist attack. It offered condolences to those affected and promised updates as it got information, like the number of casualties. Not only was the network dealing with the explosion crisis, but also a number of international updates on channels all around the world. Women had rioted in Eastern Europe to promote abortion rights; stocks had risen; a trial for HIV reversal had had good results; Nigeria had won the bid for the 2020 Olympics; and most important, Donald Trump had fallen down while exiting his plane. Trying to fit everything into a one hour-show? Not easy.

Constantly investigating, the NNN received more information – the Mayor’s statement, reactions from celebrities all over the country, and information that the police hotline had been absolutely flooded with calls from internet-fueled speculators, sure that they had a lead. It hindered the investigation so much that by the time the NNN got word of the public investigation forum that had been set up on Reddit, several non-suspects’ private information was already out. Fear and doubt had bred violence. The paper stressed on the importance of credible sources and confirmed facts. Luckily, the police identified the culprit soon – John Garrison, a member of the white supremacist group Brothers For Liberty. His picture was published, along with police contact details for sightings. The explosion footage wasn’t released out of respect to the victims of the bomb. Problem solved, right?

But then there was a bomb on the El-train in Chicago. The attacker posted on Tumblr just minutes before the attack, saying that seeing Garrison’s picture in the news had inspired him. He admired Garrison’s work and wanted to recreate it. That was what led to the copycat attack. It took a lot of debate for the Executives to decide what to do next. Would reporting this lead to a third copycat? No way to know for sure. But wouldn’t not reporting it violate the people’s right to information? Finally, the NNN decided that they needed to report it. While it was no one’s fault that the bomb had been planted, it called for all cities to up their security. No more information has been received since then. As far as the NNN and government knows, the criminals are still at large. The second the NNN finds out more, it’ll be on your screen.



Puerto Rico is in Jail

The entire Press Corps witnessed a pretty strange event this evening – the arrest of every single member of the Puerto Rican Committee, after one person was dragged out kicking and screaming. The Model UN Security marched in and ten people were expelled from the committee. They were, of course, immediately surrounded by fifteen newspaper correspondents and were outnumbered. The Guardian’s reporters weren’t sure how they managed to hear all the questions that were bombarded at them, because everyone was yelling at the top of their voice.

One member begged a Press correspondent to “take me with you! Please, take me with you!”. When she said, “Um… No. I can’t,” he held the pair of scissors in his hands to neck  and said, very dramatically, “I am going to kill myself.” Another member, when asked if he had a lawyer or legal team, said quite happily, “No.” When he was told to get one, he said, “I got into HMUN. I think I can defend myself.”

Other Puerto Rican delegates struggled to answer what this would mean for Puerto rico. The Guardian can’t exactly figure out why these Puerto Ricans were arrested. Their answers didn’t give any of that intel away. But one message was clear: the Puerto Rican committee is probably fun.

Maast Discover The Truth: Whether Heiko Maas Really Had Something To Do With Italexit Or Not

Earlier this week, emails were leaked to the press implying that Heiko Maas, a German Social Democratic Party member and part of Angela Merkel’s Cabinet, was responsible for supporting the Five Star Movement. The Five Star Movement is an anti-establishment, anti-globalist, populist and Eurosceptic Italian political party. This was leaked just after Italy left the European Union, and fingers pointed straight at Maas for his backing of Italian nationalists. Other members of the Cabinet went on to claim that the news was false, claiming Maas was unflinchingly loyal. The Guardian and CNN wanted to investigate this story.

At a meeting of Merkel’s Cabinet, we had a chance to ask its members questions. The first question – did you do it? – was answered with a resounding no (and that was expected). When we asked why the members of the Cabinet believed the news was fake, Maas responded with, “Why I think it’s fake? Because it’s not true.” After, though, he and other Cabinet members like Sigmar Gabriel, another member of the Social Democratic Party, went on to explain further. The proof we asked for? Apparently, federal intelligence services had investigated the emails and they really were fake. Another Cabinet member said they’d used a triple VPN – and again, it was fake. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but here’s what else the Guardian found out.

Q 1: Do you believe in anti-particracy like the Five Star Movement?

The answer to this was, again, a very strong, very loud no. Maas stuck to this – that he believed more than anyone that the European Union was necessary, important, and should not be broken up. While he did say that there were some political parties that believed Germany should be first, he also clarified that they were extremist parties that were not part of the Cabinet. Sigmar Gabriel said pretty much the same thing – that Germany (and the Cabinet) wanted Europe to be strong and united for everyone’s benefit.

Q 2: These emails implicate you (Maas) for supporting Italian nationalists who wanted to leave the EU? Do you want to break up the EU completely?

The answer to this, again, was that the emails were fake, the news was fake, and Maas wanted nothing more than solidarity in Europe.

Q 3: Are there people in your country and/or Cabinet that support the de-growth and structural shift of industries? Do they know about this?

The answer to this (after we were told that it was a valid question) – again, there were extremist groups that wanted Germany to be nationalist and only look out for itself. They didn’t deny that, but they did say that the Cabinet’s goal was to strengthen Germany and Europe economically and socially. That could only be done if the European countries stood together and moved forward. The Cabinet did not support de-growth at all.

Q 4, the last question: Is there anyone in this Cabinet that could have put the blame on Maas?

The answer to this question was unanimous – no. Every member of the Cabinet said that it was a united body, committed to working for the benefit of Germany. Every member wanted what was best for their country and would never even dream of undermining their work or a colleague in that way.

The Guardian and CNN were left with many remaining questions on Heiko Maas’ innocence.

Humans Write About Human Rights

Human rights belong to every person right from the second they’re born. They are inalienable, indivisible, interdependent… A person has them by virtue of being a human. Just that. They can’t be taken away or violated – their violation is a cause for international concern. The United Nations Human Rights Council was founded on this important principle.

The Guardian wondered why the UNHRC was moving so slowly while the speaker’s List was underway. Notably, delegates from Chile, Serbia, Nigeria, Somalia, and Zimbabwe spoke. These nations asserted that whatever plan the HRC comes up with must individual demographic of each country. They also claimed that all countries need to collaborate and cooperate to ensure that child trafficking can be wiped out as efficiently as possible. But when the Speaker’s List started to run low, the United States stepped froward.

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The delegate of the USA introduced his 4-tier plan to the committee – prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership. It involved the prevention of child trafficking by increasing education, awareness, and law enforcement; the protection of victims of child trafficking, and efforts to rescue them; the prosecution of consistent perpetrators of the crime; and the partnership of all countries in order to end its horrors. This sparked Pakistan’s plan to promote education and increase employment and Greece’s proposal to set up social service, rehabilitation, theatre and fine arts programs for children in war- zones.

The Guardian believes that all countries need to work to make sure that the inherent rights of their citizens are not violated. Human rights are ridiculously important. Anyone who’s been in danger of having them taken away can testify that. The Guardian’s reporter hopes the delegates of the UNHRC arrive at a consensus and can solve the matter at hand before too many more people get hurt.


Historically Speaking

Historically speaking, the sending of roses and friendly notes between delegates of HMUN has been around for a while. You know what else is historical? The Historical Security Council (I mean, it has ‘historical’ in its name. It’s pretty hard to miss). When you put the two together, why shouldn’t it make sense? It did today, when the HSC was discussing something not unlike sending roses.

The HSC was deep in crisis – the escalation of conflict in Colombia. After the rose-grams were handed out (the day’s most important matter), the delegates turned to the discussion of the roses they needed to send – not to other delegates, but to FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia.

The delegates of the USA introduced Directive Aspirin, which called for an immediate ceasefire between rebels and armed forces, the creation of demilitarized zones for innocent civilians, the abolishment of government death squads, and the establishment of a Columbian Peace and Reconciliation Council. It also asked for amnesty for ex-FARC members willing to seek protection. Basically, its aim was to quell the situation before it got too out of hand.

Unfortunately for the delegates of the USA, everyone didn’t agree with them. The delegation of France, while it didn’t specifically oppose the directive, believed that long-term measures were not the need of the hour, and had to be put aside so that the immediate crisis could be resolved. The delegates of China wanted a different directive that would bring FARC to the table for peace negotiations, and eventually used their permanent member veto to make sure the directive failed. The committee were divided on what to do next – extend the olive branch (or rose?) and hope that FARC would respond well, or go ahead and try to control the situation without FARC’s involvement. One wrong move could add fuel to the fire – and once the flames of conflict got stronger, it would be much, much harder to stop Colombia from burning.

Maybe sending some roses isn’t a bad idea.