In the contemporary world, knowledge of international events ranging from presidential elections to wars can easily spread thanks to the rise of the internet and social media. As more and more people are surrounded by news of such events, it becomes increasingly important to understand how to preserve worldwide peace and how to grapple with dilemmas that the United States (and all nations) face.
Model United Nations, a simulation of the actual UN, gives students the opportunity to address worldwide conflicts and promote peace on a small scale. The day-long Inter-Generational Model UN (IGMUN) at UC Berkeley extended this opportunity to people of all ages at its sixth annual conference, generating ideas and knowledge from a diverse range of people dedicated to foreign policy.
Topics were based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which include improving urban transportation and promoting human rights. The 17 committees, comprising of roughly ten to fifteen participants each, convened that day to plan out solutions to crises, promote various nations’ agendas and pass comprehensive solutions to address issues plaguing the entire planet.
While the topics were both interesting and relevant to daily life, IGMUN should have featured more crises, or sudden events in committees that change the course of the conference. The ability to respond to a crisis quickly and effectively is a major aspect of MUN, and the conference should have expanded upon this by allowing delegates to grapple with crises such as the Russian Invasion of Crimea or defeating ISIS.
The conference did not advise delegates to conduct research on topics beforehand. This was helpful to beginners, who could immerse themselves in conferences without having a large knowledge of the UN itself, but sometimes detrimental to the committee as a whole. After all, what happens if a delegate representing Russia is a huge proponent of gay rights? As a result, IGMUN should have advised those attending to research the basics of each topic so everyone would have at least rudimentary knowledge of their topic.
Like nearly all MUN conferences, IGMUN featured opening and closing ceremonies including various speakers. IGMUN’s speakers, which included a former Youth Representative to the United Nations, succinctly helped empower those of all ages to become involved in politics and world affairs and let their voice be heard.
Most chairmen (those in charge of each committee) assisted delegates in better understanding Model UN language and procedure. Delegates were free to ask questions and confide in the chairs for advice, helping to facilitate a greater knowledge of how the United Nations functions.
Despite some negatives, the sixth annual IGMUN provided an immersive Model UN experience for a diverse group of people interested in foreign affairs. MUN continues to prove to the world the importance and effects of diplomacy, cooperation and law on the world.
Photos: IGMUN Website