BruinMUN 2016: Fashion Edition

Written by Nis Hamid

Over the course of the weekend, we saw continuous debate and diplomacy. However, there is one thing that is often left out when considering Model UN--the fashion. We have all heard the words “western business attire” many times in preparation for this fun-filled weekend. These delegates and staffers have taken to both ends of this fashion spectrum. Some have chosen to embrace it in all its profession glory, while others implemented some interesting spins on the classic business ensemble.

As we all know, politics and international relations are rarely black and white, but that does not mean that your outfits can’t be.

As we all know, politics and international relations are rarely black and white, but that does not mean that your outfits can’t be.

From choosing to keep it cool and classy with grey to adding a pop of color, BruinMUN delegates were killing the fashion game left and right.

From choosing to keep it cool and classy with grey to adding a pop of color, BruinMUN delegates were killing the fashion game left and right.

This delegate’s outfit game was on fire, good thing he was conveniently standing next to a fire extinguisher.

This delegate’s outfit game was on fire, good thing he was conveniently standing next to a fire extinguisher.

These floral print dresses are almost as lovely as the smart, capable young ladies donning them.

These floral print dresses are almost as lovely as the smart, capable young ladies donning them.

Boys can accessorize too!

Boys can accessorize too!

The only thing better than having matching shoes is having matching hair.

The only thing better than having matching shoes is having matching hair.

The spotlight of the unmod wasn't the three point plans, but rather this delegate's vibrant outfit.

The spotlight of the unmod wasn't the three point plans, but rather this delegate's vibrant outfit.

The delegates aren’t the only ones with stellar fashion sense, our BruinMUN staffers have got it too.

The delegates aren’t the only ones with stellar fashion sense, our BruinMUN staffers have got it too.

UNCSW: Healing Our Women

Written by Ashley Ng

"Health, Education, Aid, Liberty, Safety: HEALTH" - Israel

A natural disaster is indiscriminate, right? The delegates of UNCSW would disagree. The damage inflicted by the extreme weather cannot see its victim, but the social and cultural norms of the disaster-stricken countries can. Gender norms often provide males with relief aid, resources, and government recognition that allows them to recover much more quickly than women can.

To address the high mortality rates of women both during and after natural disasters, the delegates discussed equal access to relief aid and provision of health services and resources that women specifically need. NGOs, such as Doctors Without Borders and Red Cross, and national governments were encouraged to coordinate their provision of humanitarian aid with the hopes that NGOs can ensure aid is distributed equally without gender bias. Aid, that provides for the basic needs of both male and female would include services, such as natal care, and resources, such as contraception and sanitary products.

To address the largely patriarchal mindset of many disaster-prone nations, delegates advocated for the creation of education programs by the national government that would focus on gender equality and also the formation of disaster training programs specifically for female citizens. Because of deeply rooted gender norms that restrict a woman’s mobility, many female citizens cannot evacuate during a disaster because their male heads of the household aren’t with them. These gender norms also prevent women from holding their status and power in society if their male counterparts die in a natural disaster.

To ensure the protection of women’s rights in the aftermath of disaster, delegates debated between calling upon international organizations, like Interpol or a regional commission focused on disaster relief, or depending upon national governments to better enforce their laws criminalizing sexual violence.

Long-term solutions focusing on the empowerment of women were also proposed. Through reserving spots in government, various industries, and disaster relief committees for women, the delegates sought to increase the ability of women to affect change on their own lives.
Successfully passing 3 of their 4 resolution papers, this generation of future leaders seems quite optimistic in their ability to redefine gender norms on a global scale.

ECOSOC- Recap

Written by Dev Bhakta

The issue at the forefront for ECOSOC was how to end world hunger. Many of the solutions were centered around the same idea with different solutions but ultimately the differences finally came together and a resolution was passed.

One of the major differences that divided delegates was the issue of dependency and self sustainability. The delegate for Germany went as far to state “Dependency is failure.” However other delegates believed that extensive foreign aid is necessary. Even the United Kingdom delegate saw an issue that if Syria fell into dependency, there would be no self sufficiency. Algeria in their plan set up an international plan targeting to help farmers. By facilitating agriculture they believed that hunger in developing nations would ultimately decrease. Other nations saw the issue of corruption needing to be weeded out in order for solutions for ending hunger to be successful. The link between corruption and food supply was argued as delegates believed domestic corruption does not allow for an equal allocation of food. By weeding out corruption all citizens would have an equal opportunity to food.

Furthermore another contentious part that delayed a passing resolution was the issue of technology and education. The delegates from Japan believed that it was important to give technology to rural areas in order for them to develop modern agricultural practices which would allow local citizens to be fed. India saw this as difficult as it would difficult for rural areas to implement this modern areas. Their suggestion along with Algeria proposed an initiative on education allowing citizens to learn about agricultural techniques and implement it themselves.

An issue such as world hunger needs to be fought worldwide. “Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year.” Although nearly the vast majority of world hunger comes from undeveloped countries, there needs to be a global initiative to end world hunger. Without this undeveloped countries have no resources to distribute food to their citizens. Developed countries need to use their advantage, as wealthier and more technically advanced than others, to help fight this. Ultimately this was the final straw as  when this issue was finally settled, as the final resolution that passed had a global initiative to end hunger, a sense of  hopefulness was present as world hunger could possibly end.

UNHRC- Recap

Written by Dev Bhakta

One off the biggest issues during the debate was what to do with current president of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Delegates understood and reported on the numerous human rights violations that occurred, yet this was a major dividing point. The delegate of Turkey believed that it was necessary to immediately remove the sitting president as his crimes were too much to overcome. Other countries such as Uganda believed that rather than having him removed the president should be allowed to finish the term. This would allow to protect the democratic process. This delicate issue was further explained by South Africa’s delegate when they stated about President Nkurunziza that they would, “prefer if [he was] removed, but see infringement in national sovereignty.”

Another plaguing issue that separated the delegates was the issue of corruption within developing countries such as Burundi. In one resolution it was suggested that corrupt officials should have their visas targeted and banks account frozen. Other delegates such as those from Turkey saw the necessity of having a stable government and economy which would allow the government to succeed. Some delegates believed foreign nations would need to come in and rid corruption. Russia and China delegates believed they could be the ones to bring Burundi into the UNHRC as they have the best current working relationship with them. Other delegates sought to give developed countries incentives, through access to ports.   Clearly as the UNHRC committee comes to day 2, a unified resolution which would center on corruption and the fate of Burundi’s president is needed.   

 

IAEA: “It’s Nu-CLEAR what we have to do”

Written by Deepti Saroha

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The International Atomic Energy Agency has made great progress in implementing new ways to not only use Nuclear weapons in a safe manner but nuclear power as well.

This weekend delegates discussed and suggested solutions that involved caring for all effects of nuclear power. These solutions included dealing with those that got sick from exposure, providing more effective solutions for transport and clean-up along with introducing the idea of vitrification. Moreover the allocation of Nuclear Weapons was also discussed.

The delegations of Iraq, Syria and Japan argued for a partnership with another UN committee, The World Health Organization (WHO), since the negative health effects of nuclear power are not often put at the forefront of this issue. Other delegations such as Mexico, India and Venezuela also championed for increased attention being placed on nuclear medicine on developing countries. These countries lack the proper resources to better educate people to fight off the effects of exposure. With this in mind the idea of vitrification, introduced by the delegate of Syria where nuclear waste, instead of being disposed of, is turned into “a stable solid form that is insoluble and will prevent dispersion to the surrounding environment”as a possible solution to disposal”. This process holds countries who drop nuclear waste into repositories accountable for their actions. Another form of vitrification was brought up by the delegations of Brazil and Norway was to case nuclear waste in copper to prevent further pollution.

Essentially the main concerns of this committee’s working papers and resolutions seemed to have a great emphasis in protecting citizen’s health in order to destigmatize the use of nuclear power.

 

SOCHUM: To Military or Not To Military?

Written by Ashley Ng

“Our job is to protect them, not to give them weapons” - Delegate of Philippines

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While discussing how to protect the rights of humanitarian aid workers, the delegates of SOCHUM reached a crossroad in their debate. Some delegates supported military support, which includes training humanitarian aid workers in self defense, providing workers with “non-lethal weapons”, and transporting workers under the guise of a military convoy. Other delegates condemned the use of military intervention as a violation of national sovereignty and suggested that local peacekeeping and law enforcement cooperate with humanitarian aid organizations to implement safety precautions for aid workers. However, the delegates managed to find common ground during committee session two.

The education of humanitarian workers received much support from the committee. In order to ensure, as the Syrian and North Korean delegate stated, “culturally appropriate” behavior of workers, either the humanitarian aid organization or UNESCO should educate workers about the host country’s culture. The delegates of the Botswana and Thailand also advocated for the training of workers in self-defense.

The coordination of security between the host country’s law enforcement and the humanitarian aid organization was also described as crucial to protecting humanitarian aid workers while respecting national sovereignty. Instead of sending a biased third party, such as the military forces of a foreign nation, to intervene or act as the convoy for humanitarian aid workers, the local law enforcement personnel could act as the convoy.

Many SOCHUM delegates have advocated for the use of force in order to ensure the safety of humanitarian aid workers. Whether it be through the training of workers in self-defense or the deployment of armed convoys to protect the workers, SOCHUM is moving towards solutions that react to the high rates of violence against humanitarian aid workers. However, measures targeting the misconduct of the kidnappers and assailants has yet to be brought up. As delegates move towards their draft resolutions, delegates will need to consider how countries can protect humanitarian aid workers by attacking the root of the problem: the perpetrators of violence.

Novice DISEC- Recap

Written by Samantha Wolf

As the conference wraps up, Novice DISEC has been steadily making progress on their topics. This weekend, they have been discussing issues related to international security.

This morning they tabled debate on their first topic, proxy groups. According to the delegate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), proxy warfare is not direct conflict between governments, sort of like the Cold War. There is “no direct war happening as far as casualties, but there is still influence being put on nations”

The delegate explains that the debate centered around pros and cons of the groups. While proxy groups limit casualties of war and can benefit the country as far as war production goes, “it can destroy the nation it is being used on.”

This morning, DISEC voted on potential resolutions. Unfortunately, none of the drafts passed. Sources tell us that the resolutions were all very similar to each other, and nations had a hard time distinguishing them and figuring out which was the best.

Nevertheless, DISEC has moved onto their second topic at a rapid pace. Now, they will be discussing the global arms trade. A variety of nations made speeches regarding the topic, contributing to the debate from a range of aspects. Germany was first to speak, proposing that a viable solution would be to create a UN treaty. Such a treaty would require the use of microchips within weapons, “so the UN can moderate weapons and make sure they are not falling into the wrong hands.”

South Africa’s delegate had an interesting perspective. Often, nations make the argument that citizens need weapons to protect themselves from violence. South Africa claimed the opposite, that arming people is promoting violence: “if I gave everyone in this room a gun, and I told you not to shoot each other, just ‘keep this gun,’ something eventually would break out. Somebody would get shot. Somebody would die,” says the delegate.

Representatives from both Argentina and Malaysia called for extensions to be made to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) passed in 2014. They clarify the severity of this issue, and stated that thousands of citizens are dying every day from gun violence. And regulations can be difficult, due to the size of black markets.

The United States of America made a speech, as the world’s number one arms exporter. Their concern is on ease of countries to negotiate deals with black markets, contributing to the rise of terrorists and other radical regimes. “In order to combat this and other issues presented by arms trafficking, strict monetary regulation of the transfer of weaponry should be enacted” with regards to domestic and military weapons, states the delegate. The US called upon its fellow nations to hold a summit to discuss these issues further.

Despite their good intentions, the US has been under fire from a lack of regulation for gun control in their country. The delegate from South Africa was not shy in pointing out the mass shootings across the nation, suggesting that their “excessive gun violence is very shocking” and calling for a domestic reform before tackling international issues.

The DISEC is off to a great start regarding these serious issues of security. Let’s hope that their work will effect positive change in the international community.

Novice ECOSOC- Recap

Published by Sam Wolf

In post-conflict countries, countless challenges face the survivors. Among these challenges is education, and ECOSOC is actively looking for solutions.

To start, Germany understands the topic well and has narrowed the field to three main areas of focus: improving security, finding resources, and lowering costs. They have allied with Japan and Kuwait to draft a lengthy resolution addressing these areas and more.

One of the main problems with implementing education in these war-torn countries is finding the staff and resources to maintain a school. To tackle this, Nigeria is working to establish a “guest teacher” program of sponsored educators. “These temporary advisors will help stabilize the education in these countries, and once they have done their job, they will be sent back,” explains the delegate of Nigeria.

Although this is a short-term goal, it will hopefully have long-term effects. “Education is the most powerful weapon known to man,” says the delegate. “Whenever you want to look at the future of a people, you have to look at its youth. And if its youth aren’t educated, people won’t get anywhere.”

In nations like Syria, facing civil war, education becomes a security issue. According to the delegate of Nigeria, children are unsafe walking down the street because of an oppressive child soldier regime. “It’s hard for them to even reach to school,” they say. One of the steps to getting these children education will be ensuring their safety and providing motivation.

Lebanon, who has been facing civil war, has made a step toward national unity by electing a new president this October. They have also been receiving lots of refugees, and have been working to find aid for these people before determining how to address education.

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The UN has made significant progress trying to administer education in post-conflict countries. Organizations like UNICEF, UNHCR and UNESCO and the UN Development Programme have been working hard with nations to reach their goals. One of the countries who has utilised these resources is Turkey, who has been facing an influx of Syrian refugees. “Turkey itself has launched temporary education centers and are allowing Syrian children with IDs to enroll in Turkish public schools,” comments the delegate from Turkey. They also specialize in instructing teachers how to deal with the emotional trauma children may be facing.

“Our main goal is making sure Syrian refugees are comfortable and can assimilate into society if they do choose to stay in Turkey. Implementing this on a larger scale would be beneficial,” they add. Other resources for Turkey include the Red Cross and the Peace Corps, to help them educate teachers and manage injuries sustained from conflict.

After a brutal war, countries are in need of all the resources they can get. It is comforting to know that UN committees like ECOSOC are working towards accessible education and sustained recovery.

Novice UNHCR- Recap

Published by Samantha Wolf

The UNHCR is moving into its final stage of action this weekend after successfully passing a resolution.

The first topic of debate for UNHCR was the Syrian refugee crisis, which is undoubtedly impacting several nations in a number of ways. France, Ukraine, China, the Philippines and Portugal collaborated on a resolution regarding a Safe Path program for refugees. This program would increase communication between countries to regulate movement of refugees and ensure their safety and comfort in their new home.

This is an immediate solution, albeit a short-term one. Pros for the resolution included the deliberate care for each refugee and overall smoothing of transitions, but con speakers pointed it out as a short-term solution, questioning the stability of nations like France who are currently facing intense xenophobia. Ultimately, the resolution failed in an exact tie.

However, this was not the only resolution on the table: Ghana, Nigeria, Iraq, Turkey and Canada drafted a plan that addressed a range of factors. Their resolution included funding for refugee camps, improved access to health care and resources, a Resettling Assistance Program (RAP), and education programs. Their biggest feature is a six-step plan for security and health screening of refugees, insuring their wellness and legitimacy.

After receiving a friendly amendment with a more detailed six-step plan, the resolution was voted on. Speakers for argued that it was an effective method of ending wars and giving refugees the option to return. Critics argued that methods of funding would be hard to come by and nations appeared to give unfair privileges to asylum seekers. After a vote, the resolution successfully passed.

Next up is the topic of IDPs - internally displaced people. Turkey describes IDPs as being “people that are halfway asylum seekers. They’re trapped within their own countries.” In other words, IDPs are people who have been forced to leave their homes, like refugees, but they have not yet made it outside of their country. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as insufficient funds, not having a place to go, or being trapped by border laws, etc.

According to the delegate from Turkey, “it’s important to get to the root of the problem.” For them, this means awareness. The UN has not been as involved in the treatment of IDPs as, for example, the Syrian refugee crisis. “There are so many problems in the world, so first is awareness. We can find some solutions after,” they say.

However, awareness is not the only topic delegates plan to bring up in today’s committee. According to the representative of Bolivia, “the main thing is their safety and making sure they’re not in harm’s way.” Israel, too, would like to see IDPs treated the same as refugees with universal rights. “We want them to be protected under the same international law as refugees are,” explains the Israeli delegate.

After an eventful morning, the UNHCR is ready for another session. We can expect lots of great debate regarding the treatment of these citizens in crisis.

Novice UNEP- Recap

Written by Samantha Wolf

After two long committee sessions, the Novice United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is hard at work to solve environmental crises.

Currently, the committee is working to define and help climate refugees. According to the delegates, climate change refugees are not considered true refugees under the UN definition. Refugees are individuals who have been forced out of their homes due to oppressive governments, domestic or social violence, or war. Argentina, among others, would like to expand this definition to include “individuals who are forced to leave their homes because of uninhabitable living conditions” which include flooding, hurricane damage, or agriculture failure.

Argentina has allied with Japan, the United States, South Korea and Portugal to draft a resolution addressing this definition. “If we don’t include all of [the refugees], they’re not going to receive the same protection and the same rights as a regular refugee who is escaping persecution, abuse, etc.” says a delegate of Argentina.

The Russian Federation agrees with the issue of climate refugees, but has unique perspective on climate change in general. For Russia, climate change and global warming could be a good thing. “As you know, we are located in the northern hemisphere, so a lot of the northern part of the land is under permafrost or solid ice,” says a delegate.“With the melting of that, we see land clearing up for agriculture.”

Hot-button topics from delegates include defining areas of risk, proposing ways to reduce CO2 emissions, and declaring problems that arise from an excess of climate change refugees. Also, nations seek to help refugees gain asylum from climate change, since now they are only considered “migrants.” Several countries have proposed moderated caucuses to address these issues.

The Kingdom of Norway plans on being proactive, and has proposed a three-step plan to address climate refugees on the statistic that “since 2009, one person every second is displaced due to disaster.” Norway has already established taxes and national emissions quotas to curb global warming. Their three-step plan includes changing the definition of refugees to include those affected by climate change, hosting a summit on climate change to support the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Accords, and creating a UN emergency response team to environmental disasters. This plan is backed by both Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands.

To incorporate solutions in real time, Greece has encouraged nations to adopt forms of green energy. These methods included solar, hydro and wind power and evacuation of citizens from danger areas. Though Greece is not able to house refugees, they suggest that “countries that have a stable or growing economy host these climate refugees.” However, there are many different ways to address climate change. The Republic of Korea, for example, stresses the importance of providing “wise transportation choices” to reduce pollution.

The Novice UNEP is already making diligent decisions to enact real change. We can expect some detailed and proactive implementations of these solutions in the future.

13 MUN Puns You NEED to Czech Out!

Published by the wonderful Samantha Wolf

It’s the most MUNderful time of the year! To help you prepare, we’ve got a list of the best MUN puns for every occasion. Committee got you down? Spot a cute delegate? Say what you really mean with these Hungary-ous puns.

When your country is low on the speakers list

When someone tries to divide the question on your draft resolution

When someone has been talking way too long

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When you combine your resolution with 3 others and it still doesn’t pass

When someone tries to change the topic before you’ve passed a resolution

When someone tries to move to a vote after 10 minutes of debate

When you want to send a note to a cute delegate

When countries are being too pessimistic

When someone partners with you on a resolution

When North Korea is being ridiculous

When someone tries to declare war

When someone is mad because they don’t get chosen to present the draft resolution

And of course...

When MUN is the highlight of your year

Friendly amendments:

When a resolution has flaws

When someone limits the speaking time to 30 seconds

When someone tries to meet up with you at the social

Have a great time at BruinMUN this weekend, delegates! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Novice SOCHUM-Saturday Recap

Written by Samantha Wolf

What can we do about poverty? According to our BruinMUN novice committee, education and clean water are the answer.

The main goals of the Novice SOCHUM are to address the slums in disenfranchised communities and health and welfare for the elderly. Presently, they are discussing how to improve the quality of slums.

The implications of slums have deep roots, according to the delegate from the United Arab Emirates. They explain that slums are created typically by immigrants, because “they can’t get a job because they’re not citizens, and so they end up just squatting down and creating a slum.” There are lots of problems with this, including sanitation concerns and economic downturn. “The solutions are really to fix [the slums] up, get people health care that they need, and get rid of all the trash because a lot of times people are living in raw sewage and raw feces,” explains the delegate.

Mexico faces these hygiene issues daily. For them, their drinking water is extremely polluted and causes countless health problems. Around 1,000 citizens die every day from the contaminated water. “One of our solutions is graywater,” states Mexico’s delegate. “It’s basically recycled water. We can use that to water plants and wash the clothes.” The idea is that by reusing water for non-health-related actions, Mexico citizens can reserve their limited supply of clean water for drinking.

With any big project, there are going to be expenses. Mexico’s delegate proposes fundraisers around the country or redistributing their budget to accommodate this pressing issue. Hopefully, their initiatives will improve the overall quality of life as well. “There’s a domino effect with how slums affect everything else,” explains the delegate of Mexico. Other means of funding proposed by the committee include pulling from public pensions, establishing new taxes, asking for government benefits, or working with UN sub-groups like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Indonesia specifically has drafted a seven-step plan. Among these steps are measures to build roads between developing countries to transport aid, build underground pipelines for improved water resources, and more. The delegate from Indonesia emphasizes, “those roads would be really amazing for all those developing countries because they don’t always have access towards [aid]...then they can become more of a developed country, they can go to their jobs a lot more easily, and they can do all of these things a lot more efficiently.”

However, their primary concern is with education. Indonesia stresses the importance of education to inform citizens on what slums are, the causes, and how they can improve their conditions. They would like to improve the accessibility of education as well, because “to get one lesson, some people have to walk three hours, or some amount of time to go to one place to get education,” according to Indonesia’s delegate. “It shouldn’t be that hard.” Furthermore, more means of education can mean more jobs: not only are people receiving useful knowledge, but schools can use their unemployed citizens to staff construction workers, teachers and school administration.

Spain has allied with Thailand, Brazil, Ukraine and India to draft a resolution on the topic of education. Specifically, they believe it is important to provide impoverished citizens with a motivation to attend school, since many people believe it to be expensive or unnecessary. The delegate of Spain explains some potential options: “if the government pays for their housing and gives it to them when they receive education, it will give more people reasons to go to school.”

Our Novice SOCHUM committee is really looking to the future to improve education and health conditions for slums. Together, they are acting in the best interest of impoverished communities and undoubtedly going to make real progress.

Sweet speeches: BruinMUN sells candy grams

Published by Samantha Wolf

What’s a MUN conference without some candy breaks?

Each year, BruinMUN sells “candy grams” to raise money for charity. They cost $3 each, and consist typically of three pieces of candy.

Who can you send candy grams to? Think of your friends, an ally, or a cute delegate that you’ve been dying to talk to but your unmoderated caucus motions keep failing. You can send candy grams to any delegate in BruinMUN, not just in your committee. Just make sure you have the country name and committee title of the delegate you would like to send it to.

This year, our charity for candy grams is the Ronald McDonald house charity. It can be difficult for families when their children must receive specialized hospital treatments far from home. To accommodate, RMHC offers several services to family members, among them housing, care mobiles, and family rooms. RMHC programs can be found in more than 63 countries worldwide, with specialized programs to fit each community. They even offer grants to nonprofit organizations and scholarships to students.

If you would like to purchase one, talk to your committee chairs or stop by the BruinMUN merch table in the Humanities building, level A at the end of the hall.

Don’t be shy - it’s always a good time for a candy caucus.

 

Novice UNHRC- Breastfeeding and Child Malnutrition

Written by Sam Wolf and Thomas Landry

Most HIV-positive babies get the virus from breast milk. However, not all mothers with HIV-infected breast milk pass on the virus. Paradox?

In developing countries, child malnutrition can be more problematic than child hunger. The best solution is to cultivate healthy children as soon as possible - this means providing ample nutrients to the child, primarily through breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this can be difficult for HIV-positive mothers. The HIV/AIDS virus can be spread through breast milk, which discourages HIV-positive mothers from breastfeeding their children. As a result, infants in HIV-prevalent countries rarely receive the nutrition they need to develop.

A common solution is to provide infants with formula milk. Formula milk is completely safe, and can offer nearly the same nutrients as breastmilk. Unfortunately, this also poses problems in developing nations. The water used to create formula milk could be contaminated, trading one virus for another in infants. Or, mothers will dilute the formula to save money, limiting the amount of nutrients given to their child and promoting stunted growth.

The WHO recently recommended that HIV-positive mothers stay away from breast milk if they can “afford, prepare and store formula milk safely.” If not, then new studies show that the risks of HIV-positive breastfeeding outweigh the risks of dangerous alternative methods. Specifically, the research suggests that regular breastfeeding combined with antiretroviral treatment for the first 12 months can significantly reduce the chances of HIV transmission from mother to child. Discoveries show that HIV-infected breastmilk actually contains proteins against the virus to protect the child.

For all mothers, studies show that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months can significantly reduce the risk of early child malnutrition and growth disorders. As the WHO continues to study the issue, they must face many complex issues. One is the widely held belief that formula milk is somehow more nutritional than natural breast milk. Another is the fact that after returning to work, mothers find difficulty continuing to breastfeed. The UNHRC is currently working to reduce these stigmas and encourage healthy infant development.

ECOSOC: GMOs or GM-Nos?

Written by Ashley Ng and Dev Bhakta

The world population is predicted to grow to 9 billion people in 2050 and every 1 in 9 people is malnourished.

To increase food production, many governments have turned to genetically modified (GM) crops. Last year alone, over 179.7 million hectares of genetically modified crops were produced worldwide, nearly 10 times the amount produced in 2003. The success of GM crops is attributed to environmental and economic factors. For example, GM crops can be engineered to conserve water in agricultural production and to grow despite dire environmental conditions, which enables farmers to produce more efficiently and consistently and, thus, steadily increases the world food supply.

However, GM crops can also incur significant costs on society and our environment. GM crops can be modified to resist herbicides, which are sprayed to kill weeds. However, weeds can become resistant to herbicides, leading to the increased use of herbicides. If technology cannot keep up with the weeds’ adaptations, weeds would overrun agricultural land and, consequently, reduce food production.

Recently, research about Roundup, a herbicide that reduces weed growth, has focussed on potential links between Roundup and cancer. Roundup is a pesticide that is sold with a certain variety of genetically modified corn developed by Monsanto. The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which when absorbed, travels to weed roots and blocks the enzyme that is necessary for plant growth. This results in the “dying out” of weeds, leaving farmers with just their crops. However, with no control of where this Roundup travels, there are concerns over how it could affect foods that are consumed by humans and animals.

To view these concerns an experiment done in 2012 with mice with ingesting maize sprayed with Roundup showed higher chance of having a tumor for these mice. However, there is still no proof, since there is no causation linking Roundup to this increased chance of cancer, as ingestion level of genetically modified corn had no correspondence with level of sickness. Although genetically modified corn is created to avoid having pesticides and herbicides, there is still a link to health issues as the mice demonstrated. Further research on GMOs is necessary in order to discover the true relationship of herbicides, such as Roundup, with the sickness caused by eating these crops as well the genetically modified crops.   

With the looming possibility that GM crops will have environmental and economic consequences globally, members of the ECOSOC should evaluate whether or not the benefits of GMOs outweigh the risks.

 

Sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-iarc-exclusive-idUSKCN12P2FW

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/epa-bows-to-chemical-indu_b_12563438.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32677411

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19654825

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html?_r=0  

https://www.statista.com/statistics/263292/acreage-of-genetically-modified-crops-worldwide/

GA Plenary: Cyber Warfare- A New Threat

Written by Deepti Saroha

When one thinks of a threat to their country the first thing that often comes to mind is something physical or tangible. However, with the onslaught of technology this notion has proven to be null. A new threat is taking hold over the world and that threat has come to be known as “Cyber Terrorism”. Many scholars argue that terrorism is organized into different waves and the latest wave is directly related to technology. This has proven to be the hardest type of terrorism to combat due to its inconspicuous nature. Attempts to make sense of this phenomenon have come in the form of allocating more funds on protecting networks containing classified information and detesting those who partake in this form of terrorism.

The United Kingdom has invested almost 2 billion Euros to improve their cyber security. This investment serves as a preventative measure due to the compromising of networks in the Western bloc. These attacks are believed to have been made possible by hackers in China and Russia. Despite these allegations, the main enemy of this type of attack is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). ISIS has been deemed to be the most successful terrorist organization due to how long they have maintained their vast online network through infiltrating social media outlets such as Twitter.

The United States on the other hand has continued to support a program called the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range (AZCWR). This program aims to train “good-guy hackers” so to speak, in an effort to combat outside threats and has been successful in infiltrating and taking down over a thousand accounts a day. Programs such as this aim to make citizens feel safe and take a significant role in their safety. Moreover this program encourages government agencies to take a different stance on hacking by not stigmatizing the action of hacking but instead focus on malicious individual or group goals of hacking.

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/07/us/politics/under-the-din-of-the-presidential-race-lies-a-once-and-future-threat-cyberwarfare.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/10/cyber-warfare-international-warfront-161020090216897.html

UN Security Council: Can Iran be Trusted?

Written by Nis Hamid and Sahej Verma

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran, the P5+1 countries, and the European Union in November 2013. During early 2016, the UN sanctions placed on Iran were lifted as a result of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) restricting the country’s nuclear activities. Iran has spoken up for its rights to a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. In the same month, Iran has agreed to not engage in any and all activities, research included, that would lead to the development of an atomic bomb, and the country’s number of centrifuges has drastically reduced. Should Iran fail to uphold these promises, the economically crippling sanctions will be reissued automatically. The aforementioned were only the first few steps for the ensured nuclear proliferation of the region. The question on everyone’s minds now is: how well will Iran do with enforcing the JCPOA? This is a prominent and justifiable query because of Iran’s nuclear history.

In the 1970s, Iran was a party to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. However, it was found to be non-compliant with the treaty’s safeguard agreements, particularly by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program. This led to the temporary suspension of its enrichment program. Despite the suspension, Iran resumed its enrichment program. Iran’s failure to cooperate in the past has led many to be skeptical of the country’s enforcement of the JCPOA currently. So far, however, Iran has adhered to the JCPOA Roadmap. In accordance with the Roadmap, Iran provided the IAEA with information to clarify past and present outstanding issues related to its nuclear program. The IAEA confirmed that Iran has completed all activities related to resolving those issues. Before the implementation of the JCPOA, the UN nuclear agency closed the case of the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Tehran’s nuclear program. After the implementation, IAEA found that Iran was non-compliant with certain obligations, particularly its heavy-water obligations, but, after being notified, Iran quickly rectified the problem. This is an example of Iran’s efforts to enforce the JCPOA. However, Iran has stirred the pot once again with its aggression in Yemen.

Although the relations between Iran and Yemen have been cordial since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in recent years, their relations have taken hits due to Iran’s alleged support for Zaydi Shi’ite Houthi rebels engaged in armed conflict with Yemeni government forces. In addition to this, Yemen has also accused Iran of providing funding and weapons to the Houthi rebels. On the 2nd of October 2015, Yemen had severed diplomatic relations with Iran due to alleged Iranian support of Houthis to overthrow Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. There is a long road ahead for the international community’s relations with Iran. The Security Council must decide on actions to take to resolve the divisive issues surrounding Iran.

Nicolas Maduro's Cabinet: Venezuela- A Horror Story

Written by Nis Hamid and Sahej Verma

Venezuela is a state in turmoil. It is not only undergoing an economic crisis but also a humanitarian one. The recent images of Venezuelans crying at the sight of well-stocked shelves in Colombia shows a tearful decline of the country. Besides the lack of basic commodities such as toilet paper, grains and textiles, Venezuela also lacks resources to provide its citizens safe medical care. Daniel Rodriguez, a neurosurgeon in Caracas, stated “I know colleagues who have ended their operations using the flashlights from their phones. Patients have to bring their own food and their own medicines because the hospital does not have any of it”, in an interview with NPR. The standards of living have been deteriorating: infant mortality is rising and avoidable communicable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria are on the rise too. The International Monetary Fund has forecasted the Venezuelan economy to shrink by 10%, worse than its previous estimate of 8%.  

So how did the situation in Venezuela develop to this point? In the early 2000s, Venezuela under its revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, was the shining star of South America. A decade ago, Venezuela posted an admirable GDP growth rate of 18.3% in 2004, owing to its abundant oil reserves. Chavez used this oil revenue to fund his socialist policies and public programs. The Venezuelan government invested in food subsidies, education, healthcare and low-interest credit for the poor people in the country. However, the dependence on this oil revenue was the downfall of the country according to many experts. Venezuela focused on oil production and ignored almost all other industries. As a result, Venezuela became dependent on imports for all commodities. This is a toxic combination. The situation worsened further when Hugo Chavez died in 2013 and the price oil crashed in 2014, from $104/gallon to $53/gallon over two months. Chavez was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro, who had been Foreign Minister under Chavez.

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The Venezuelan people did not take to Maduro like the passionate Chavez. In 2014, Maduro even used military action to repress demonstrations by workers in the state-owned oil refinery PDVSA. Financial mismanagement and high levels of corruption has catapulted inflation to 700% this year, much higher than the earlier estimate of 480%. Another detriment is the sharp increase in organized crime. Recently, Financial Times reported that the gangs in Caracas have recently led to a rise in the rate of kidnapping, theft and drug trafficking. Many gangs, according to the report, are even backed by the government and provided by arms and ammunition. Many experts believe this is because the government wants to maintain control in the rural and urban areas, where the army is very expensive to deploy. These experts also think that if conditions continue to worsen, we could even observe a reduction in democratic freedom in Venezuela.  

The solution for this crisis will be excruciating for the people of Venezuela since loans from international organizations such as the World Bank will require implementation of austerity measures that will inflict an even harsher reality on the Venezuelan people. It is up to Maduro’s Cabinet to analyze past actions and their consequences to create an effective plan to this pressing crisis.  

Interview with MUN at UCLA’s Director of Training, Rishi Bhargava

How do you succeed in MUN? This is a question novice and advanced delegates ask themselves, especially a week before BruinMUN 2016. The International Press decided to Interview our Director of Training, Rishi Bhargava, to get a little more insight on how do well in Model UN.

Q: What is your experience with Model UN? What made you start and stay with it?

A: I started my Model UN career as a freshman in high-school, so coming up on 7 years now. It seems like so long ago, but I’m glad I’ve stayed with it since some of my best memories came from MUN. In today’s scenario, not everyone can hold a conversation about world issues and politics. Being around people who can present their own views coherently and passionately keeps me sharp too.


Q: As an advanced delegate, how is competing at conferences different than when you were a novice?

A: I think you develop a “MUN-sense” (like a Spidey-sense). You can gauge the room better as to who the other good delegates are, what topics people want to discuss and how people would like to spend their committee time. I also feel that speeches come more effortlessly with practice.


Q: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a novice delegate? To an advanced delegate?

A: To Novice delegates, research a lot and don’t back down. Yes, this is the first time you’re doing this, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily worse than anyone! Trust in your research and things will fall into place.

To advanced delegates, never rest on your laurels. You may have won a few awards now but all it takes is one group of up and coming delegates who were super well researched and prepared to bring you back down. Take every MUN
seriously!


Q: What’s the primary difference between a GA committee and a crisis committee? Does it take different skills to succeed in the two?

A: GA Committees require patience. You speak less on average so you have to make each speech count. Resolution writing is an art form in the GA. A person who can write an amazing resolution will most likely have a good bloc as well.

In crisis it all comes down to being creative and writing fast. You have to churn out good, detailed crisis notes at regular intervals and continue making speeches to get your points across. As a crisis delegate myself, I lean toward Crisis Committees but you can develop some important skills in GAs.

Unmoderated caucuses stay the same more or less. People need votes for Resolutions/Directives to pass. The only difference is size. You need to whip more votes in a GA but whipping votes is harder in Crisis.
 

Q: How do you write and deliver a great speech?

A: The way you write a great speech is by never actually writing a great speech. By this, I mean don’t write down your speech word-for-word, because there’s too much pressure to stick with exactly what you have on paper. I generally write down 3-5 important points I have to cover to start off with. List the points before you dive into each of them in your speech and save 10 seconds at the end to summarize. People remember the start and end of speeches so make sure your points are there.
 

Q: What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you started doing MUN?

A: Have fun! In high school a lot of people took MUN really seriously and that is always great. It is an academic activity after all. But take some time to really get to know the people you meet. A lot of us are stuck in our own towns/cities and this is an opportunity to meet people from all over! Take advantage of that!
 

Q: Are you excited for BruinMUN? What aspects are you most looking forward to?

A: Of course! I am pumped for BruinMUN. Well, I’m most excited to chair my committee - Novice European Council! Being an Under Secretary-General last year I haven’t had the chance to hold my own committee at BruinMUN yet, so this should be exciting. Two things I love about MUN are the crisis element and training delegates. My job is to ensure the Novice delegates make the transition to crisis without losing their passion for the pure MUN artform itself. Hope to meet all of you soon!

Get Ready for BruinMUN 2016!

Written by Xinrui Xue

Model United Nations at UCLA is incredibly excited to host the 24th session of our high school conference, BruinMUN, from November 12th to 13th on the beautiful UCLA campus. Our carefully selected staff has been working hard in preparation for BruinMUN 2016, which we believe will offer delegates an unrivaled MUN experience.

Since it’s inception in 1992 as the largest MUN conference in Southern California, BruinMUN has fostered stimulating debate on pressing world issues with the guidance of dedicated and talented UCLA students. With over 1,200 delegates in attendance in 2015, BruinMUN attracts a growing number of students from throughout the United States and around the world. Our conference seeks to help delegates advance their level of intellectual debate, strengthen their diplomacy skills, and form long-lasting memories with other students.

Here are some highlights to look forward to for BruinMUN 2016:

  • Committee choices for all experience levels and interests. This year’s conference will feature 24 committees in honor of our 24th session of BruinMUN. Committees are sorted by level of experience (novice, intermediate, and advanced) and type of committee (General Assembly or Crisis). Topics range from nuclear non-proliferation to the rights of migrants to Castro’s Cabinet, which gives delegates an opportunity to choose a committee that is perfect for them.
     

  • A training session before the conference. For the first time ever, we will be hosting an “MUN 101” program the day before the conference. Our Secretary-General, Director of Training, and other staff will go over rules and procedures and the basic premises of MUN, followed by Q&A. We believe this will allow newer delegates to be more prepared for committee and allow more experienced delegates to refresh their MUN knowledge and ask questions.
     

  • Passionate and highly-gifted staff. The BruinMUN Chairs, Secretariat, Logistics team, and International Press are selected from a competitive pool of UCLA students. We undergo months of extensive training and preparation for the conference to ensure that delegates have the best experience in and out of committee. Our staffers are not only well-versed on international relations and MUN (we’re ranked 12th in North America!), but we’re also happy to share our experience at UCLA with curious students.

All of us here at MUN at UCLA are looking forward to the best BruinMUN yet, and we hope you are too. Registration is now open, so be sure to sign up. Don’t forget to check back for more exciting news and information about BruinMUN!

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