UNSA

United Nations Student Association: University of Minnesota Model UN

Welcome to the homepage of the University of Minnesota's Model United Nations Team. Learn what MUN is all about, meet our team leaders, read about upcoming events, and join the club!

Back From Break: Spring Elections!

We were in Coffman 324 today, but for the rest of the semester, we'll be in Coffman 303. Again, if you haven't been keeping up, there have been some changes to the MUN election process. So we've had elections today! See the previous post for more details on that. The people that we elected today will not take office until May. Until that time, they will be in official -elect positions, essentially. 

Our nominees were:

  1. For President: Max Buccelli and Casey Lagueras
  2. For Vice-President: Clifton Sutherland
  3. For Treasurer: Rebecca Cowin

After excellent speeches and a thoughtful discussion by our club members, we have elected:

  1. For President: Max Buccelli
  2. For Vice-President: Clifton Sutherland
  3. For Treasurer: Rebecca Cowin

We're looking forward to a great semester! Please reach out to us if you have any questions or if you want to get more involved.

-Annika

Constitution Updates: Changes to Board Member Terms

Hi all,

In our second-to-last meeting of the fall semester, the board brought several proposed constitutional changes to the attention of the club's general membership.

This meeting led to a great discussion by our general membership and we're pleased to have such involved membership and demonstrated interest in the affairs of the club. The constitution and its proposed changes can be found here, and our old constitution can also be found on our Gopherlink page. However, the thorough discussion led to us only having enough time to pass the changes in Article III.

With the changes to this Article, we are transitioning to terms of office for our board members that would better allow them to perform their duties and draw upon the resources of previous board members. The most important change is the transition from academic-year terms to calendar-year terms for President, Vice-President, and Treasurer. This is to reflect the changes that have recently occurred in the application process for SSF Funding, and would allow the parties responsible for these applications to be in their positions during the time of applications for funding that affects their time in the club. Moreover, this would hopefully lead to the preceding, experienced officers being available as resources, instead of having graduated, during this time.

board elections

Moreover, the terms for PR Manager, Web Manager, and Simulations Director would be semester-long. This hopefully would allow for members who study abroad during single-semesters to serve as board members. Secretary General and MSA Liaison would still be elected every academic year because planning for MinneMUN and participating in MSA are better situated along an academic year schedule. 

There would be no term limits for any of these positions, but re-election would be necessary at the end of any given member's term. We hope that this means that the best-suited person can serve the club as they are available. 

Please contact us at unsa@umn.edu with any questions or concerns. Keep checking back for further changes and make sure to look over the proposed changes and attend future voting meetings. There are more constitutional changes to vote on and elections for President, Vice-President, and Treasurer will occur in the Spring.

Thanks for reading & for a great semester!

-Annika 

Last Meeting of the Year: Human Rights Day

Thanks to our PR committee for putting on the last meeting of the year on Tuesday, December 12th to celebrate Human Rights day, which was Sunday, December 10th. We hosted Barbara Frey, director of the Human Rights Program here at the U and the former Executive Director for the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, one of the largest U.S.-based international human rights organizations. Her experiences working at the UN and as human rights lawyer were inspiring and relevant to our members, who got to enjoy a nice study break from finals.

For more information about Human Rights Day, please see the slideshow that the PR committee made for the meeting introduction. If you're interested in getting involved in human rights on campus, check out the pamphlet that our new MSA Liaison, Katie Szarkowicz, made for the event.

Thanks for a great semester, guys!

-Annika

A Visiting Diplomat!

Instead of a traditional meeting, UNSA partnered with GopherIsrael/Minnesota Hillel to present Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's first Bedouin diplomat on November 28th. Mr. Khaldi spoke about his journey from his life as a shepherd in a small village to a world traveling diplomat. Following Mr. Khaldi's speech was a brief Q & A session, where are members asked some great questions about dual identities, life as a diplomat, and the study of politics.

The event concluded with a diplomacy simulation facilitated by UNSA where attendees represented different stakeholder groups in an international migration crisis, emphasizing the topics of human rights and border security. We saw some great speeches and caucusing, though we didn't have time to take any official actions in our simulations. Thanks all who came!

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AMUN Prep: the DL

  • Don't Panic. Also, don't be intimidated by the people whose placards are up for the entire time.
  • Research
    • Position Papers: Scan for things in caps -- you'll want to know about projects and resolutions and groups that have done things in the topic area.
    • Know what's happening with regards to your country. 
    • Know which countries you share goals with.
  • On Saturday, goes to the Rules and Role-Playing Meeting.
    • You'll see the chairs for the first time, and you can find out their quirks.
    • You'll get to meet the people in your committee, and it's practically caucusing. You can start building relationships here. Ask as many questions as you can to clarify rules and role-playing.
    • You might want to know about laptop rules, and 
  • What to bring to committee?
    • Something to write in and pass notes with. You'll need to do that in the beginning, but eventually you can transition to digital communication.
    • Make yourself an asset. Even if you aren't the expert, contribute what you can. Resolution-writing is going to be a great skill to build, and doesn't require you to be the most talkative and most informed. Don't be just a number in the committee though.
    • Your research binder and materials.
  • Roll Call
    • "Present" vs. "Present & Voting" -- "Present & Voting" means that you can't abstain from voting on substantive things. Probably just don't say that.
  • First Speech (this isn't an official section in the conference; this is on you to speak during committee)
    • Get it out of the way as fast as you can, even if it needs to be simple. Once you've done the first speech, you'll be a lot more at ease. You'll probably want to write this out for the first one.
    • Traditionally, both partners go up, and you can split talking time however you like. Double check this in the Rules and Role-Playing Meeting.
    • It's ten hours in committee per day. If you're unengaged and don't know what you're doing, you will have a terrible, miserable, no-good time. Also, take advantage of the opportunity that you've been given. 
    • You can bring up notes, but these are just quick 30-second situations usually. 
    • If you give at lease one speech per day, and you're 
  • First Unmoderated Caucus
    • This is your first time to talk to people in purview of committee. Talk to as many people as you can. You might want to split from your partner to cover more ground, but it's up to you.
    • This is generally about agenda-setting. Talk to countries who can help you reach your goals in that area. What topic is more important to you? Do that first.
  • Use your partner. ☯️ Divide and conquer. You can also have one person in the room and one person outside of the room working on the resolution document.
  • Unmoderated caucuses that are super long? Use this time productively. Stay fresh.
  • On Laptops: The wifi will probably be crappy. Download the important things onto your laptop. Personal hotspots are a godsend. Feel free to also print things out! Leslie-Knope-style binders certainly couldn't hurt.
  • Use your resources. Rapporteurs will help with resolutions. Talk to Home Government about your stances if you're confused.
  • Last committee session? If you've passed a resolution, go back to your friends (the guys that are the same country as you), and check in with them about how it worked out in the rest of the committees. Passing a resolution in your committee is half the battle, and now you need to get it through this one. Now you're caucusing to everybody and trying to get everybody on board. You can't run out of steam here! In the eyes of the 
  • AMUN hosts a Grad & Law School Fair. Check that out!
  • AMUN has conference swag! Nab some if you're into that.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Be nice to yourself <3 
  • Bond with people in club!! 
  • Hey, also: Be nice to your hotel rooms. Exude professionalism.

You'll do great! I'll see you there!

-Annika

The Fun Stuff: A Recap

Our last three meetings were the following:

1. UN Day: Speakers and Celebration

Thanks to the PressCorps Committee for putting these on!

jessie pic - un day.jpg
cora pic - un day.jpg

2. Halloween Murder Mystery Simulation

Here was a good introduction to staying in character during simulations and starting to get our geopolitical problem-solving gears going!

3. Food & Agriculture Sim

We practiced researching and parliamentary procedure and we passed a resolution within our meeting time! Thanks to everyone who participated!


We've had a great time putting the learning that we've done to good use in sims and we'd like to thank Kimberly, our Simulations Coordinator, as well as the Secretariat for working to put them on.

Fifth Meeting Summary: Rules & Procedures

  1. MinneMUN plans are developing! (A reminder, this is the conference that we host, so you have the opportunity to be on staff!) The Secretariat has agreed upon the following five committees for MinneMUN:
    1. Space Colonial Crisis (JCC): Clifton's committee submission
    2. New World Order: Basically a world set not too far in the future where one major world power goes rogue.
    3. UNSC (UN Security Council): Discussing the situation in the Koreas
    4. UNHRC: Passive crisis committee, discussing universal standards on LGBTQ rights and protections.
  2. Our very own Clifton Sutherland presented on Rules & Procedures!
    1.  This is the kind of information that you will NEED if you are going to AMUN.
    2. This presentation will also tell you about roles that we will be playing when we host MinneMUN.
    3. Of course, you can also visit our Resources page to find out more about parliamentary procedures.
    4. Other points we talked about in the meeting
      1. The General Process of a MUN Committee
        1. Roll Call: The first order of business in a Model UN committee, during which the Rapporteur reads aloud the names of each member state in the committee. When a delegate's country's name is called, he or she may respond "present" or "present and voting." A delegate responding "present and voting" may not abstain on a substantive vote.
        2. Agenda: The order in which the issues before a committee will be discussed. The first duty of a committee following the roll call is usually to set the agenda.
        3. Motions: A request made by a delegate that the committee as a whole do something. Some motions might be to go into a caucus, to adjourn, to introduce a draft resolution, or to move into voting procedure.
      2. How to win at AMUN
        1. Don't be intimidated by your fellow delegates!
        2. Participate!
        3. Act according to the formal setting.
        4. Don't abuse your note-taking privileges.
        5. According to the AMUN website:  "Participants do not have any specific, judgeable criteria to follow, but should rather be focusing on preparing, to the best of their abilities, to fully represent their assigned country on the topics under discussion...While AMUN does provide “awards” for the committees and for overall participation, these are based on purely subjective criteria (i.e. the votes of your fellow delegates) and are de-emphasized at the Conference."
  3. Come to office hours if you have questions about this & unausa.org is a great resource.

Fourth Meeting Summary: Caucusing

  1. AMUN Applications are now closed, and we still encourage you to come to meetings, whether you're going to this conference or not! Showing you are committed will help you get into future conferences, and we do have events and meetings planned that will be interesting across the board.
  2. Make sure to pay your deposit if you do plan on going to AMUN. Friday is a hard deadline.
  3. We learned about moderated and unmoderated caucusing! 
    1. Slides
    2. Video

Third Meeting Summary: Resolution Writing

  1. We talked about t-shirt designs! Look forward to our inevitably snazzy t-shirts.
  2. Resolution Writing
    1. If you plan to apply for AMUN, this is very important -- you need to write preambular and operative clauses for your application, and writing resolutions is an important part of attending conferences!
    2. Check out Andrea's guide to writing resolutions.
    3. Check out bestdelegate's guide to writing resolutions.
    4. For the AMUN application specifically, check out the handbooks on the AMUN website for UN documents relating to issues at AMUN.
    5. And of course, remember our website features a very helpful resources page and our club features some very helpful seasoned MUNers. Find our officers' office hours in our emails if you want help!
  3. We practiced writing resolutions in club, so if you didn't get a chance to do that with us, feel free to practice writing one on the topic of the rise of fast food in America (from whichever perspective you choose), and bring it to office hours to see how it was!

Thanks for checking in!

-Annika

Second Meeting Summary: AMUN Applications

  1. If you couldn't find us today, it's because we met for the first time in the Armory! Armory 202 is our new meeting spot to accommodate the larger-than-expected numbers.
  2. Join the committees! Today we were introduced to a new committee (the Sustainable Development Goals Committee), which also serves as a reminder that MUN is all about taking initiative. If you have an idea for the club, and what we should be doing in it, bring it to us!
  3. It's actually Global Goals Week right now!
  4. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do speed friending during this meeting, because AMUN deadlines loom very close! So we learned a ton about AMUN at this meeting.
    1. AMUN is great for new MUN-ers, because we participate in a general assembly instead of crisis committees.
    2. Here's some information about the structure of AMUN.
    3. And remember that AMUN is relatively close and cheap, and delegates come back with great stories.
    4. The AMUN Timeline:
      1. Sept. 19th - Application Opens
      2. Oct. 1st - Application Closes at 5pm
      3. Oct. 6th - Last Day to Confirm Attendance/Deposits Due
      4. Oct. 17th - Position Paper due to the Board for Revision
      5. Oct. 24th - Absolute Final Deadline to Submit Position Papers
      6. Nov. 18th - 21st - AMUN
    5. Notes on Applications:
      1. We'll let you know very shortly after the application closes whether you've been selected as a delegate or not. 
      2. We'll have a waiting list, which is almost always utilized.
      3. We have a security deposit requirement in order to encourage attendance for selected delegates. Don't let this frighten you, but do let it encourage you to take your commitments seriously.
      4. There will be lots of opportunities in meetings and elsewhere to learn about how MUN works before going to Chicago.
      5. More people always apply than we have the money to send. Don't half-ass your application. Utilize our meeting times, office hours times, and resources on the website to take your best stab at it!
  5. We also talked about MinneMUN! Here's where you should put your MinneMUN committee ideas. Contact Sourojit Ghosh, our Secretary General, with any questions.

A Quick Peek at our Membership:

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Thanks for tuning in! 

-Annika

First Meeting Summary: Introductions

  1. Board Introductions (see here to meet our board members! and here is our constitution if you'd like to read about our board's responsibilities and other stuff too)
  2. Member Introductions (it was lovely to hear from all of you about your majors and why you want to be part of MUN! we're especially glad to have such a diversity of majors, and it sounds like so many of you are ready to actively participate to the club!)
  3. Introduction to the Larger Organizations
    1. UNA-USA
    2. GenUN
  4. Overview of Our Goals
    1. Education and skill development
    2. Building and fostering club community
    3. Legitimizing UNSA-UMN, internally and externally
  5. Proposed Fall Schedule (we're actually working on revisions of this right now, so stay tuned for updates!)
  6. Upcoming Conferences - attending these does require an application process and some travel expenses, 
    1. Annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference in Chicago - from Saturday through Tuesday, November 18–21, 2017
    2. 2 Spring Conferences (TBD)
    3. MinneMUN (the conference that we host in the spring)
  7. Introducing Committees (these are your opportunities to get involved directly with the happenings with the club on various fronts! contact the heads of the committees listed in order to find out more and get involved)
    1. Press Corps (AKA the PR Mafia) - outreach, branding, marketing, and event planning - Ray Weishan (PR Officer) & Annika Kohrt (Web Manager) - email us! or sign up!
    2. Secretariat - creating simulations for us to do in meeting and developing committee topics/background guides/plot lines for MinneMUN - Sourojit Ghosh (Secretary General) & Kimberly White (Simulations Coordinator) - email us! or sign up!
    3. Fundraising Committee - creating sustainable partnerships with corporations and organizations in the area to continue to finance our traveling conferences and to help grow our MinneMUN conference - Cullin Trivett & Jesse Smith - email us! or sign up!
  8. A Reminder to Follow Us on Social Media! (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

MinneMUN 2017 Agenda!

Hey guys! Classes have begun again, which means we're ramping things up again for MinneMUN. We're still waiting for all the Committees to release their simulation topic summaries, but we have the schedule for MinneMUN ready for you! Check it out, put it on your calendar, and we'll see you there!

Vote for your top 3 conference choices

AMUN is just around the corner (this weekend, actually) and soon enough spring semester will be upon us! If you haven't already, check out the committees we are considering attending and cast your votes for the TOP 3 conferences you would like to attend this spring 2016 semester.

  1. UC-Berkley MUN (Mar 3-6) https://ucbmun.herokuapp.com/
  2.  Brown Crisis Simulation (Mar 3-6) http://browncrisis.org/
  3.  Florida Crisis Simulation (Feb 19-21) http://www.floridacrisissimulation.org/
  4.  Washington University MUN St. Louis (Feb 5-7) http://wumunc.com/
  5.  Cornell MUN (April 14-17) http://www.cmunc.net
  6.  Rocky Mountain Regional Model Arab League (Mar 4-6) http://ncusar.org/modelarableague/conferences/rmmal/
  7.  North West MUN - Portland (Feb 13-15) http://portland.nwmun.org/home
  8.  UChicago MUN (April 21-24) http://www.chomun.org/#home
  9.  Other: ____________

Fill in the survey here.

#PardonShez

In case you missed it...

Shez Cassim told his story about his first-hand encounter with human rights violations. After 9 months of imprisonment for uploading a comical video to YouTube in Dubai, Shez is speaking out. He and his family have started the campaign #PardonShez to impress upon the UAE Embassy in the U.S. to exonerate the criminal charges against him, and long term, to be held accountable for the human rights the UAE claims to uphold. 

Read his story here.
Check out the Op-Ed he penned for The Guardian here.
Join the campaign here: http://pardonshez.com/
Join the online community here: https://www.facebook.com/justiceforshez/timeline

Shez is a former University of Minnesota graduate originally from the UAE, having returned to work after graduation. He is now back and safe with his family in Minnesota but still has friends there with the same criminal record and subject to unjust violations. 

Help him make a difference and hold the UAE accountable for their actions. Join the campaign #PardonShez

Refugees: The Top Story of the Summit

The media storm around the touching stories behind the boy that drowned off the shores of Turkey and the video of a father with a child fleeing authorities while a Hungarian camera woman trips them. Even John Oliver has now covered the subject. This is the hot topic.

But why is this refugee crisis receiving all this media attention?

For the first time did refugees came into the developed world
— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees spoke on the situation of refugees in Europe as of now.  Previously, refugee crises were isolated, never touching the developed nations until now.  The tagline of Syrian refugees has taken off, but mass migration has been happening for years for Afghan, Iraqi, and Libyan refugees fleeing from their war torn nations and economically desolate nations. 

As Amnesty International recently cited, the "six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees" as well as other refugees.  Barriers for refugees trying to travel to their neighboring wealthy Gulf nations include strict visa requirements with high rejection rates, lack of interstate transportation, and hostile attitudes.  So where can they seek safety?

Sauce:  Vox

Sauce:  Vox

Although many have stressed the importance of those Gulf nations that those nations need to be taking refugees, some nations in the region are taking on refugees more than they can support like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Currently there is 1 refugee in 1,000 Europeans, but 1 refugee in 3 Lebanese
— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

These refugees had no media coverage until they began entering into Europe and now European politicians are bemoaning of overstretched budgets and proportion of European natives to recently arrived Muslims. Lebanon is reportedly hitting a breaking point of being able to provide adequate space and care.

American academics always point to Western Europe as the shining beaming hope of liberalism and prosperity, but a new story of xenophobia and islamophobia is becoming blatantly clear for the world.

Europe couldn’t function without immigrants, but neither could the United States.
— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Europe's fear of the new and different from those in need makes sense in areas with strongly rooted cultures that struggle to incorporate new customs and assume assimilation as essential for stability.  Many of us can contrast the 'melting pot' ideal behind the United States with European insistence on integration, but we know that has its own fallacies. 

Diversity is richness, it is not a problem
— António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Cultural diversity is a struggle for nations that have stagnated in population while identifying with a single nationality and ethnicity. Many European nations have been flagged by economists for economic downfall as their birthrates have fallen and economies become more advanced without a laboring class; the migrant crisis maybe the solution for their national future rather than the problem. 

Women's Rights and Reproductive Rights

In US domestic politics, when we aren't complaining about Donald Trump -- there is a debate over Planned Parenthood, which may bring on another government shutdown. I know many of us involved in UNSA-MUN aren't US focused, but the US has an international impact that we all take for granted. Planned Parenthood and women's rights advocates from the US have one of the largest impacts for the developing world's women.  

Family planning isn’t just about planning families, it is about empowering women

At a private conference today, we heard the heartwarming story of some women in Guatemala that became empowered through Planned Parenthood and a local environmental group that ended with them receiving landownership, modern healthcare, and a political voice. When we threaten to shut down women's healthcare, it is also a threat on their human rights.  

Health of a woman is the health of the society

The reason we keep seeing women's equality in development goals and common rallying point, but equality in access to health care, pay, and representation are all hot topics that there is concerning pushback in legislation and social media. The health of a woman is the health of the society is a strong truth. When women can have land rights, it means stability in housing, food security, and capital -- even in some states a land requirement to receive benefits.  When women can have access to health care, maternal mortality drops, child mortality drops, and economic efficiency increases. When women have access to education, birth rates drop, women's political & economic access increases, and the country benefits.

Mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters have more impact on our lives than we will ever know. What they had to give up to raise us, defend us, and protect us, is all more than we can ever pay back. These rights and possibilities of progress are all interconnected, women's rights are all of our rights. 

Facts You Need to know on the UNEP & coming Paris Conference, COP 21

Fight together for a better future and a better sky.
— Zheng, youth delegate for Save the Children

What the world Zheng grew up in is almost surreal for those familiar with Minnesota wilderness. As a native of China, he has seen pollution and unhindered environmental destruction first hand. The terrifying idea that there are children that don't know that the sky is blue. Many of us can say "I have always had clean water to drink, air that isn't tainted with industrial pollutants, and no concern that the rain falling from the sky is acidic enough to hurt me".  So how can we have an impact at this large turning point in our history and Earth's history.

It is a bad sign when physical features from your planet disappear

As the scientific community has agreed, climate change is manmade and disastrous - but we can still impact our world and future generations for the better.

So, what is the international community doing about it?

Answer: COP21, Paris 2015 Conference

So what is the importance of this conference? JUST GIVE US THE FACTS. 

The long name of Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been shortened  into the acronym  COP 21, Paris 2015. 

It is an accepted fact amongst scientists that climate change is happening and it is man made.  This time around, the objective of the conference is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.  We all know that all nations can work on their treatment of our environment for the benefit of us all. As many in LA know, the smog from China travels across the Pacific affecting Californian air quality while the US's own municipal waste is released into the Pacific developing the trash vortex.

What has been stressed at the Social Good Summit is the importance of every person. Raising awareness is the strongest point of rallying and many more options on influencing the world we live. From recycling, keeping up on the news, making smarter consumer choices, and promoting your views on social media -- the message at the Social Good Summit today is ..



What is Social Good?

Almost everyone of my professors asked me that before my flight out. By +SocialGood's definition, it is a "global community of innovators, social entrepreneurs, and thought leaders united around a shared vision: That today's connected generation can leverage technology and new media to help create a better world." 

But what it means is we are no longer in the realm of the phenomenon as described by Mashable's speaker of uncooperative existence of different parts of the global community.

Left wing NGOs that hate businesses and businesses that distrust left wing NGOs

So what isn't social good? The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were our first precedent of global goals measured in all member nations to improve quality of life and abolish poverty for all. However, as many before me have described, there was a disconnectedness inherent in them. NGOs, states, individuals, and companies shared the same playing field and acting in their best intentions, but the Millennium Development Goals fell through in their hope to eliminate poverty. The list of reasons for failure is length: the disjointed efforts from profitable companies looking for a cause, NGOs suspicious of disreputable business practices, individuals that were uninformed and uninvolved, and states concerned with further international invention.. etc.

Nations were assigned numerical values to meet without their citizen's consultation, some goals were impossible from the start. As Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, said, these new Global Goals are the people's own work. Over 8 million people responded to the worldwide survey and thousands participated in country specific talks, their outreach this time around was significant. 

The idea behind the #telleveryone campaign is global activism, social and political pressure can make changes -- even if you are retweeting on a bus, clicking away into the night from your laptop, or liking a post on Facebook. More informed the public is, the more likely these goals are reachable for those around the world. 

So to you, my reader, good on you.