Students debate global issues

There was a high turnout of Macleans students at the Model United Nations “Non-Aligned Movement” conference on May 25, 2013.


The “Non-Aligned Movement” is an organisation within the UN composed entirely of countries with no allegiance to one of the world “superpowers” such as Russia, China or the United States.

It was created during the Cold War for countries that did not want to be forced to side with one or both of the superpowers at that time (Russia or America), in the event of a nuclear holocaust. So, a bunch of countries got together and decided to (sort of) ally with each other instead. In short, they were sticking it to the Commies and dirty Imperialists.

Although the Cold War is over, the Non-Aligned Movement is still around, and one of their unofficial goals is still to stick it to the big guys.

Our day was split up into three main parts. In the morning, we spent a couple hours debating our individual committee proposals that ranged from the international disarmament of missiles to furthering international efforts to better the environment. We essentially sat in a room and formally debated amendment proposals, speaking on behalf of our assigned countries.

The debate was especially interesting because one could imagine the difficulty the delegate of North Korea, Nadya Fauzia, had to face in arguing for the continued construction of ballistic missiles. Credit must go to her and her surprisingly convincing argument.

After the morning session, we lunched and then listened to a guest speaker from the Business Review speak about the changes in the world economic climate, and particularly the growing reliance on America to protect it. It was a really eye opening view into how we have really become a “global” nation in a sense. Although there are still countries cut off from most of the world, again, for example, North Korea, most of the countries of the world do rely on each other.

The plenary session came next, where every delegate from every country – a good 100+ of us – came together to debate another proposal on the reform of the Security Council of the UN. If you know anything about the UN, you would know that the Security Council has some potentially serious flaws.

After this session, it was dinner! We dispersed to random restaurants around the city and indulged in some well-earned food. It was a good chance to converse with all of our new friends.

The event was extremely fun, and I can’t wait for the next one. It was an extremely good opportunity to meet new people, from as far away as Rotorua! I urge anyone who likes debating and is interested in politics or the United Nations to get involved; there are Model UN meetings in Rutherford House every Monday after sit-down lunch, so come and see what it’s all about.

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Article by Drew Cannon. Edited by Keniel Yao and Frank Zhou. Photo credit to UN Youth NZ.

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