Interview with Director Eva Guidarini

Le Monde interviewed Eva Guidarini, Director of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

What did you aspire to become when you were in your early teens?

I don’t think I ever really knew as to what I wanted to become when I was a teenager, it changed a lot. As a kid my brother and I used to watch this movie called “Passport to Paris” which was a popular Mary-Kate and Ashley film, where in there was a character sketch of an ambassador who was also a sort of a father figure. So looking at that character I’ve always wanted to become an ambassador since then.

Could you give a brief sketch as to how the CSW committee works and what it aims for?

A-CSW is one of the most important committees in the UN and we’ve been focusing on the reproductive health a lot lately as its one of the greatest concern in today’s world.However speaking of the committee in general its working a lot for the upliftment of the women in the society. As an individual though I think it’s one of the greatest committees I’ve ever worked with so far.

What would you as an individual like to change about the committee ?

I think that reproductive health is a major concern to be discussed so according to me it should be given immense importance so as to enhance the empowerment of women. This is one area we need to focus on and currently lagging behind in.Secondly I think that more collaboration is always good however it is a bit difficult as many groups have to merge together with different ideas and views.So I think that a little more collaboration would be beneficial.

Do you think that women’s role in India can be uplifted within a short time span?

Yes, I absolutely think so. Overlooking the role of women and their empowerment has grown pretty intense although there have been terrible news stories BUT the one thing that has risen out of that is the ATTENTION towards women’s empowerment and their role which has taken an initiative to start off with the concept of activists and movements. Its hard to say how effective they’ll be! But now that the country is more aware and moreover there is national and international publicity of women’s equality, India will definitely be taking these areas a lot more seriously into account.

How was your experience in HMUN for the first time ?

The first time I attended HMUN was in Boston when I was a freshmen, I loved how excited the delegates were and I had a really great time.I was in the Crisis committee which was about Pompi the great, this committee was very different from the other committes and it was sure as fun! My first HMUN in India however was last year and it was amazing as there were many enthusiastic delegates. In fact there have been such enthusiastic delegates both the years. I’ve loved every HMUN that I’ve attended, these are the kinds of events which one would look forward to.

What more do you think the UN should do to increase women empowerment within the society?

I think that the UN has done a lot to increase women empowerment lately,I think that the UN has a hard time reaching to most of the countries that need to focus on women empowerment. The UN could partner with other organizations which have greater enforcement mechanism. One of the greatest things which happened last year is that the international ethic organization worked with UN and decided to send the delegates to the Olympics in order to reach out regarding the following concern. This was something I thought was great for the women on the international state level. So now that UN has done a lot for this concern I think its high time for them to club with other international organization which have a similar objective and getthing them to work on it as well, sending expertise all over ,by doing so I guess there would a much larger outcome within a short span of time

Which Committee is your personal favorite ?

I don’t know if I have a favorite committee. My favorite committee is always the committee am in that moment so right now its CSW. It always seems that the committee am directing at that point of time turns out to be my favorite so it keeps changing all the time.

So far you might have come across millions of delegates so you as a director, what is the first thing you notice about a delegate?

I never really make a dramatic impression on the first look. One thing I do notice about a delegate is their level of enthusiasm, that is one thing which I notice a lot because that particular trait does matter at MUN .

To wrap it up, what is your favorite part of HMUN?

I have always loved the HMUN India’s Got Talent. That is something I really look forward as its great fun seeing the enthusiastic participation. I actually love the way all the committees work towards their objective and be real enthusiastic about it. HMUN is great fun and an unforgettable event to attend. I think all of it is my favorite part, it is great!

Interview with Director Alex Quinn

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The Washington Post interviewed Alex Quinn, Director of the Historical General Assembly.

Did you pick to be director of this committee or was it given to you?

I picked to be director because I’m really interested in China and Taiwan and a lot of the tensions that arise from that, so I thought this was a particularly interesting crisis because it’s when there a lot of divisions, particularly the ones in the cold war between the West and East and you have countries such as the United Kingdom who are allies with the USA but recognize the People’s Republic of China, so it creates a lot of interesting committee dynamics.

Do you like being Director off Historical Committees?

Yes, I like it a lot.

What is your favorite part of History?

I like examining World War II and examining the dynamics between the actors that participated and the different things that arose after that as well.

What did you have to go through during preparation for HMUN?

I had to prepare the background guides and the refreshing myself on the crisis and preparing a lot of the research for as well as coming up with my committee plan as to how I wanted the committee to progress and coming out with different crisis plans for ways to break up different blocs that might for in committee.

What are you looking for in an ideal delegate?

I’m typically looking for someone who speaks up in committee but it’d more important that they’re collaborative outside the committee room and try to form really consensus while forming the draft resolution. I’d also like them to come up with novel solutions, especially in a historical committee its really easy to just repeat what happened afterwards but I look for people who try and come with an idea of something that didn’t happen before that they think solved it.

What would be our advice to a first time delegate?

Really do your research and look into the topic a lot. One of the bigger things as well is to know that it’s not all just about speaking in committee, a big part of it is talking outside the committee room an working with a lot of people while being a collaborative actor as well.

What do you think about the standard of HMUN India?

I think the standards have been great, we have a lot of excellent directors from Harvard this year and delegates have been really good, they’ve been really intense while speaking on the agendas and it’s been really great.

Where do you think the delegates could have improved this time?

I think there are still some delegates who sometimes focus too on speaking in committee and they need to continue to look at ways to come with really novel solutions tin their working papers and draft resolutions outside the committee.

How did you feel when you got accepted into Harvard?

I was really excited, I come from a really large public high school where not many people get accepted into Harvard and other schools like that, so I was very excited with the opportunity.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy reading a lot and running. I also enjoy water skiing, being out in the water an doing different things like that.

Your favorite movie?

I like to watch a lot of movies but one of my favorites is probably Radio

What do you want to be in life?

Initially I’m going to be going into banking and finance but later on, I;m looking to go into politics

Your favorite song?

I’m a big fan of the musical ‘Les Miz’ but to pick a particular song, it would be ‘Get it Right’ by Oh Honey.

How and where was your first MUN experience?

I actually didn’t do MUN in High School so I started in college when I was helping to run the conferences, so my first MUN experience was being an Assistant Director at HMUN Boston. I was in a crisis committee so I got help out with coming out with different crisis ideas and being active in the committee so I really enjoyed that. I’ve never been a delegate in any MUN but I really enjoy running the conferences and I’m the Secretary General for HMUN China 2015.

Carnival of Deforestation

by The New York Times

The Belo Monte dam seems to be quite beneficial for the prosperity of Brazil with a promise of boosting the production of energy by several times, and the United Nations Environment Programme has been weighing the pros and cons of building the Belo Monte dam in Brazil for 3 days now; from what we can see, they have yet to reach a mutual consensus on the ongoing issue. Heated discussions over the working papers of each bloc prevailed during the committee session today, the 15th of August, 2014. This would not only result in lighting up every home in the country, but also prove to be a charm for the industrial growth side by side and draw vast reveneus into the country.  However, building the Belo Monte dam would also prove to be a major hindrance in preserving the wildlife and the trees in the forests surrounding the Amazon river. Not only a hindrance, it would also become the sole reason for the massive deforestation that would occur as a result of building the dam, wiping out all the wildlife taking shelter in those forests.

One such working paper, Working Paper 3, was that of the following authors: India, Chile, the United Kingdom, Russia and Israel. The working paper did cover, to a certain extent, most of the issues regarding the Belo Monte dam, introducing the solutions for the dam itself, proposing solutions for the environment as well as suggesting a structural solution, calling for “the creation of stricter national laws and the implimentation of the pre-existing laws regarding the operation guidelines of the corporation in charge of building the dam,” as well as constant supervision of the wildlife and the forests. Proposing, thusly, to form a Global Consultancy organisation which will be “under the UNEP’s mandate and charter”. This does sound like a fruitful suggestion, as the authors have even mentioned that the aforementioned body will receive its funding from the UNEP along donations by member nations and private parties. The working paper also mentions the function of the concerned body.

Even after coming up with a thorough plan, the working paper did fall short of discussing a few topics that required attention. The committee found this unforgivable, as nearly every other delegate spoke against the clause mentioning the need to train the engineers about building sustainable dams that cause the least harm to the environment. The delegates questioned who would fund the programme to educate the engineers if the country in question can not afford to go through with that suggestion? On a more basic level, another question that many seem to have was, “how does one go about training the engineers; people who are supposed to already be professionals?”
Even after all the hardcore discussions, series of moderated and unmoderated caucuses, the committee has still to come up with an appropriate solution to this puzzling issue. The committee stressed upon the importance of building the dam, highlighting all the potential benefits that could be gained and how that would help the country flourish, but at the same time they emphasised on the issues that will emerge as a result of building the dam.

On being asked whether the committee was making satisfatory progress or if the chair wished to see the committee talking about any issue/s that has/have not been discussed yet, she said, “They (the committee) have remained very focused on discussing the case study of a dam in Brazil, Belo Monte. Nonetheless, they haven’t focused on the bigger picture of the UNEP and haven’t focused on which policies we could introduce worldwide.”

Interview with Director Ishaan Desai

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Xinhua News Agency recently had the chance to speak with WHO director Ishaan Desai.

Tell me about your first Model UN.

I started off in 9th grade of High School. I knew a student who was the president of the club and he was someone I really respected, so I tried it out. My first conference was nerve-wracking but I made it a point to be involved as much as possible. As soon as the moderator asked for placards to be raised, I raised my placard and happened to be the first speaker to be recognized. At first I found myself stuttering but gradually I built up confidence and found that I was able to get more comfortable.

So how has the Model UN experience been for you since then?
Ever since that first conference, I’ve loved Model UN and I just love what it stands for. The conferences helped me understand how this world is really a series of interconnected people and people. I think Model UN is a beautiful way to unite countries of various backgrounds with different problems.

What was one of the more memorable MUNs you’ve been to?
One of the best conferences I’ve been to was actually held in the General Assembly hall in New York. Hearing the keynote address by Ban Ki Moon as a highschool student was a very exciting experience for me.

You’ve chaired the WHO several times before. How has the experience changed?
I’ve been a director for the WHO at several conferences in Boston, Brazil and in India, which allowed me to experience different cultures of Model UN, as well as the different perceptions of public health in different places. The biggest change is obviously the topic area. Last year we discussed the health hazards of climate change, which is a very big topic because a lot of what we know about the health effects of climate change is still done through predictive modeling, which makes it very difficult for anyone interested in the health of the world to sell their points to policy makers. This year’s topic has been equally pressing, as we discussed this interesting trend emerging in many developing nations in which traditional diseases that often affect developing nations remain very problematic, but they are being seen alongside these health conditions that are more often associated with developed nations: obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and the effects of smoking, and so on. I was really humbled by the maturity of the delegates. I thought back to myself in high school and I did not have the same awareness of global health as these delegates do. I was very happy to see that.

Tell me something fascinating about healthcare.
There’s a Harvard professor, Kennith Rogoff, who makes a lot of these interesting observations. Governments give subsidies to food companies which then produce food that is unhealthy. The money goes to chemists, who infuse food with addictive substances to make the food seem more tasty, the consumers get addicted and then the healthcare system profits from it. This forms a sort of cycle. The best way to break the cycle is by prevention, of course, which is a better solution than treatment.

Tell me about your experience at Harvard.
Harvard is really difficult to summarize. One of the greatest things that I’ve enjoyed about Harvard is access to a global community, especially with reference to the student body, which is obviously very diverse. The types of issues that I’ve been able to study at Harvard have been very global in nature. My interest in healthcare started at Harvard. In my first year I took a seminar on child health, which is what got me started. If I think back to my first year, I was very behind on the whole public health agenda. Since then, I started delving into more extracurricular sessions, familiarizing myself with the problem that eventually turned out to be my calling.

You folks from Harvard always seem so well composed. Tell me about the wild side.
You’d be surprised. You should come to Harvard on a Friday night, then you’ll see how composed we really are. We’re students, after all. We’re normal people. We like to do things that normal people like to do, right? Remember the talent show yesterday? We love to have fun. Thats one of the beautiful things about Harvard. We have a lot of people who like to have fun. We have a lot of social people. In fact, Harvard has been a very social experience for me.

What is your favorite kind of food, considering your interest in healthcare?
*with a chuckle* That’s a good question. Right now, it’s gulab jamun with ice cream. Which is kind of ironic, considering my committee is discussing nutrition-related problems, but YOLO.

Is Opacity the New Transparency?

by the Washington Post

What is extra-judicial justice?

Governments acting outside their respective countries to deal with a state actor or non-state actor are known as extra judicial justice.

Now, the question is: when is it necessary and what are the exact regulations to be followed?

Yes, I believe it’s necessary in extreme cases, such as wars on terror and when the host country is not capable of tackling the problem on their own and they require external assistance. The one problem faced though, is the fact that countries such as USA and Russia use the above reasons as excuses to invade or exploit the resources of other countries such as the cases of Vietnam, Iraq, Crimea, etc.

Two very pressing issues regarding extra judicial justice are drone strikes and detention of criminals. Where many countries are against, the US clearly stands by its drones and states that the technology is fool-proof. The agency believes that the USA is justified in their drone strikes as they only launch a drone strike with concrete information and minimize civilian loss and collateral damage and are even willing to be held accountable if any of the above does happen.

Now coming to the detention of criminals, China and North Korea have been accused of running black sites to illegally detain and torture criminals. In the case of the USA they have openly admitted that Guantanamo Bay is still open and are planning to close it down. The agency believes that countries need to be more transparent like the USA.

One thing that we must consider is the psychological event of drone strikes and the main problem being that Russia, China and North Korea are opaque about it and do not even admit to the drone strike whereas the USA admits to the drone strike when it feels it is at fault and even issues an apology to the affected country and provides the necessary assistance for the damage it had done.

Overall, the agency feels that all countries need to become more transparent like the USA and a clear framework needs be created for extra judicial justice, because in some cases it is necessary and countries all falsely accused when they take the correct action and some countries falsely justify interventions along the lines of wars on terrorism hence putting under developed and developing countries through unnecessary turmoil.

Illegal Drugs: A Social Plague

by El Universal

The ban on illegal drugs have always been of great concern in the WHO. Over the years various discussions and debates have resulted in setting up numerous laws and regulations. But simply setting up international laws is ineffective and it often fails to ensure strict implantation and thus, its purpose fails.

The world already do have a bagful of regulations regarding the issue, to stop the use of illegal drugs as well as prevent their smuggling across the borders. But what use are these laws if they are merely penned down. The biggest challenge we face is not recognising the problem, but implementing an effective solution. The awareness about use of drugs that have a negative effect on human health –including cigarette manufacturers writing ‘SMOKING KILLS’ in big, bold letters on their products-are not really going to stop an addict from using them. An addict does not care of the consequences.

Talking about much more serious drugs- say nicotine there already exists a ban on these to reduce their availability in the market. Nevertheless, these drugs are easily available for anyone who don’t mind looking for them. The use of such drugs by increasing number of teens in today’s world is another major issue.

The drugs labelled ‘illegal’ by the WHO are easily available in the international market. It doesn’t matter if a country is rich and developed or underdeveloped. Such drugs have become a social evil that has plagued the world as a whole.

Setting up of more rehabilitation centres, which are can function effectively is necessary. Strict regulations can be brought in the license to sell liquor and tobacco sale. The addicted people will not compromise if there is an increase in the price of these. It will only lead to further increase in black marketing.

Local governments have failed to implement measures towards the absolute ban on alcohol and cigarettes as they are a major source of revenue to the state.

Thus the WHO should try to bring all nations, with different local laws to agree on a common strategy towards the absolute ban of these in the international market. Of course, it will be a great challenge to make nations with different views and opinions to agree on a common action plan, but in the long run, it will be much more effective if we work together. Thus, it is the sole responsibility of the WHO to bring these countries together and work for the greater good.

Representatives from the press question SOCHUM

by The Times of India, The Guardian, and The New York Times

On the 14th of August 2014, The Times of India Group, Al Jazeera, The New York Times and The Guardian questioned the delegates of the Social Cultural and Humanitarian Committee in a press conference, on their understanding and solutions to the problem of humanitarian intervention. The delegates were questioned after a thorough analysis of their working papers by the press.

At the very beginning of the press conference, the delegates were asked to define humanitarian intervention. The definition presented by the delegates was “It is the use of force or other forms of pressure by one or many states against another state which has been afflicted with issues such as genocide, rape, ethnic cleansing, civil war or other forms of threat.” When questioned on each of their respective working papers about the source of the funding for the food, shelter, education etc., the countries replied by stating that the afflicted states would provide their own funding and that the member states of the United Nations and the European Union and regional bodies would provide large amounts of funding during a conflict. The response of the delegates did not convince the press who explained to the members of the SOCHUM the existing problem faced by LEDC’s which could not even afford to pay the 2% of their GDP to the UN. The press asked the delegates how it would be feasible for these countries to contribute to humanitarian operations when they already had a paucity of funds. The delegates however, defended their views by stating, “There is something called AID. There are already funds provided but these funds are not utilized efficiently or are misused. It is the responsibility of the SOCHUM and the international community to come up with comprehensive policies and ensure their efficient execution.”

Proceeding this, the press moved on to ask the delegates about their views on taking the sovereignty of a nation into account in cases of economic humanitarian intervention. The press insisted that economic intervention was a blatant breach of the sovereignty of a state. However, the delegates of the SOCHUM were equally insistent that it was not a breach if the aim was to provide assistance.

During the press conference, the delegates were also asked what they considered “genocide”, to which the delegates responded by saying, “Genocide is a compromise of thousands and millions of people, as addressed by the UNSC”.
When asked about who would most likely fund their aids, they replied, “Most countries don’t have enough facilities and NGO’s across the world feel this. Countries like Ghana aren’t receiving aid from countries like China. The United States of America has spent 3.3 billion on aids all year and we need to develop a more neutral approach towards donating.”

On the subtopic of military intervention, the delegates suggested an early warning system including the Human Security Index and various other factors such as the role of the government. “By measuring the level of Human Intervention, we will know when to involve the military. Say the level of Human Intervention falls below 50 on a scale of 100, we would propose a mandate. However, if it falls below 5 on the same scale, we would call for the military.”

When asked what had specifically meant by the term “rebuilding” in their working papers, the delegate of USA replied on behalf of the other delegates by mentioning the intervention of USA in Afghanistan as an example, “Rebuilding is basically like when the USA intervened in Afghanistan, giving psychological aid to the affected people and helping with their well being as well as their environment.” USA concluded by saying, “It depends on the situation.”

So when exactly did the delegates believe that it was the right time to intervene?

“Peace talks fail when the state fails to meet the demands of the United Nations, if the state were to disregard the United Nations Security Council, that’s when you know the peace talks are over. If the economic sanctions fail and the death toll is still rising and when all the other peaceful options have been exhausted, that is indicative of the peace talks reaching an end.”

The press conference stimulated the debate in the committee. After the conference was over most of the working papers were merged seeing as the point of view of most of the countries part of the working papers were very similar.