Graphic by Alejandra Pinto/The Gazelle

Model UN platform for international cooperation

In an ideal world, the road from conflict to peace is negotiation. This is the principle on which the United Nations was founded in 1945 after two ...

Oct 26, 2013

Graphic by Alejandra Pinto/The Gazelle
In an ideal world, the road from conflict to peace is negotiation. This is the principle on which the United Nations was founded in 1945 after two devastating world wars. In an ideal world, the United Nations would be an active agent in solving international or domestic conflicts by facilitating peaceful dialogue. But we do not live in that ideal world. Consequently, the United Nations is often considered inefficient in carrying out the promises of its founding principles.
Why, then, do students and teachers all around the world still consider it important to model this seemingly inefficient organization through conferences? Model United Nations conferences and clubs play an important role in education because they assemble a group of open-minded individuals who are more receptive to the idea of negotiation and peacekeeping, a group of students who recognize the difficulties of reaching a compromise but learn to navigate in the world of diplomacy. Especially at an institution like NYU Abu Dhabi, where students are bombarded by perspectives from other cultures on a daily basis, we should be able to identify with the point of view of another country as MUN requires.
While MUN has been an interest group at NYUAD since the inaugural class started creating clubs, it has also had a bit of trouble getting off the ground. The main problem has been establishing a MUN club in a region where inter-university conferences are not common. Before we can travel internationally to participate in other conferences, we need to create a viable and sustainable club at NYUAD in order to justify the expense that would be incurred for such travel. Unfortunately, motivating a dedicated group of otherwise busy students with nothing more than a promise of potential travel abroad in the future has proven difficult, especially with the intermittent study abroad sejours of potential groups leaders. However, this is the first year that the NYUAD student body is comprised of four classes, and with more interested students and leadership experience than even before, the potential for MUN at NYUAD looks promising.
The plans for the future include finally participating in international conferences, including regional ones in the Gulf; hosting an MUN conference at NYUAD for either high schools or other universities in the region; building a sustainable network of contacts focused on Model UN at other universities in the region; and firmly establishing the presence of our group at NYUAD.
In order to achieve these long term goals, we have several short-term goals and events planned for this semester to maintain the MUN skills of the more experienced members and train those who are new to the concept of MUN. We are planning to host mock sessions for Global Issues Network facilitators and delegates to familiarize them with the atmosphere of such conferences.
In November, the MUN Student Interest Group will hold a mixer with at least one university in the UAE to start creating these connections, which are crucial for the growth of an institution that fosters the opening of reasonable discourse across cultures and places diplomacy over conflict.
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