Director, Philippe Chabaneix, and Presidents, Shaikha Alsalman and Shamma Alattar, had the pleasure of staffing the High School Security Council at the United Ambassadors Model United Nations Conference 2017.
We addressed the numerous parameters surrounding immediate measures to protect children and civilians in armed conflict and ensuring their access to emergency relief, such as the impact on the education, health and future of children and civilians, the responsibility of global leaders in protecting their citizens from the damage of armed conflict, the role of regulatory mechanisms in preventing armed conflict, and the rehabilitation of children into society. With over 30 nations witnessing armed conflict worldwide, and around 38 million displaced children and civilians due to them nowadays, we thought this was an extremely relatable topic to our delegates, and were truly impressed with the quality of debate and solutions that arose during the conference. We were very pleased that they chose to immerse themselves into a topic that has been left widely under-addressed in recent decades.
The Council made strides of progress during both days of debate. On the first day, delegates delivered their statements during the formal meeting, and earned a valuable insider’s view on the human cost of leaving children and civilians in armed conflict behind by asking insightful questions to our briefer, Miss Angela Hou, in an informal meeting. They then moved on to discussing the ideas they felt should be implemented in Council documents through an informal consultation of the whole, before splitting into three groups of equal representation to draft press elements, a presidential statement and a resolution. Their discussions had been so fruitful that they were able to readily agree upon the press elements and presidential statement that same day.
Most of the second day was devoted to adding impressive detail to the resolution, and then going through three formal-informal meetings to review the resolution line-by-line. After heated negotiation, delegates were able to agree on a resolution and adopt it by consensus during the action phase.
The delegates of the Council managed to produce a remarkably detailed and comprehensive resolution of which we were are very proud. This would not have been possible without the enthusiastic input of every delegate in the room. We would like to congratulate all delegates for their efforts.
So what made their resolution so great? Here is a sneak peek of what delegate came up with:
Measures to limit the impact of collateral damage during armed conflict on civilians and children and for their evacuation
Preventing the outbreak of armed conflict, particularly within nations, with targeted measures against extremism
Programmes to educate civilians, without discrimination, on international humanitarian law, the Six Grave Violations, shelter, where to find medical aid, how and why to confidently report violations
Psychological programmes including communal healing and family tracing or foster families for the rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
Targeted sanctions against war crimes and crimes against humanity by establishing hybrid national-international courts and commissions of inquiry as necessary
Not only did we work tirelessly to cooperate in writing high-quality documents, but we also had lots of fun in the way. It was amazing to meet magical, smart and enthusiastic delegates from all around the world, from Palestine to Peru and from Russia to the United Arab Emirates, during the opening ceremony and beyond. Sharing our stories with them and our plans for the future really hyped us up! What was also invaluable was being put into a room to discuss such a pressing issue with people from all around the world, with different perspectives (which were great to hear), but with the shared goal of speaking up for those who do not have a voice due to armed conflict. The fact that all these different minds could communicate, work together and reach consensus so effectively was heart-warming. We cannot wait to share our amazing experiences back home!
We are convinced all MUNers should try UN4MUN. Not only do UN4MUN conferences most accurately simulate procedure followed at the real United Nations - ask anyone who has been to numerous conferences - and bring in expert briefers, but they also grant delegates with the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of actual ambassadors through their cooperation with the United Nations itself and national missions. At UA-MUNC, we held the opening and closing ceremonies and plenaries at the UN Office in Geneva, where our Director and Presidents had the memorable chance to speak at the podium, thanks to the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN. These experiences are truly inspiring and push you to pursue your dreams. Such is the appeal of UN4MUN conferences that they create a hugely international environment, where delegates can meet and work with people from a range of backgrounds, and create a network of friends. The final aspect of UN4MUN that makes it different from other Model UN platforms is that it enables delegates to work on their researching, speaking and negotiating skills - and collaborate with others - in a highly competent, inclusive and constructive environment. The goal to reach consensus is what takes negotiations to the next level and makes UN4MUN stand out.
Finally, if we were to give advice to next year’s Presidents, we would say the following: you are extremely lucky to have been given this position. The Council runs thanks to you and you have the power to make or break it. Enjoy every second of being President, do your best, and ensure you do not regret a word you did not say. Be proactive, confident, and cooperative with each other, always push for consensus and for delegates to improve, and make an effort to learn from your Director during training sessions before the event; this will pay off at the conference. As for next year’s Director, plan well ahead of the conference, be impartial, and make sure to always guide your Presidents when they need it, empower them and believe in them - the conference is their time to shine.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to United Ambassadors for giving us this amazing opportunity, and for their efforts in helping make UA-MUNC a great success.
-Philippe Chabaneix, Shamma Alattar and Shaikha Alsalman
Director and Presidents of the High School Security Council