International Debate and Cold War Contemplation: Update from the Berlin Model UN Delegation

By: Gabby Sanchez, `16 & Jules Becker, `16

Josh Gleason , `16 is the Chilean Ambassador to the UN in this year's BERMUN
Josh Gleason , `16 is the Chilean Ambassador to the UN in this year’s BERMUN

Empowerment and equity are far more than simple rhetoric.  At this year’s Berlin Model UN conference, these two concepts shape debate and influence crucial decisions in every committee. 7 of us travelled to Berlin this week to participate in the Berlin Model United Nations (BERMUN) conference, a 5-day journey deep into a world of international debate and rich culture. Our delegation represents the Chilean Republic in different United Nations bodies such as the World Trade Organization, Human Rights Committee, or Security Council. We spend hours passing resolutions and amendments on various pressing current topics.

Discussing issues such as the introduction of entrepreneurship to prevent youth unemployment, political transparency and humanitarian intervention, I put fourth a resolution and amendments to represent the ideals of the delegation of Chile. The beginning of the conference underwent a period of laboring in which delegates split up into groups to bring forth their ideas and form resolutions.

Gabby Sanchez, `15 lobbies support for a resolution in the Special Conference at BERMUN
Gabby Sanchez, `16 lobbies support for a resolution in the Special Conference at BERMUN

The topic my delegation dealt with was the introduction of entrepreneurship as a way to decrease the youth unemployment rate in different nation states. As the days proceed and the conferences continued, many resolutions were debated and altered as fellow delegates as well as myself drafted amendments and presented detailed speeches. The experience of speaking to a crowd and operating under the strict guidelines of parliamentary procedure are both nerve-racking and exciting.

Lily Canaan, `15  and Jules Becker, `16 call the shots in the Security Council committee, a highly demanding and advanced committee at Model UN in Berlin
Lily Canaan, `15 and Jules Becker, `16 call the shots in the Security Council Committee, a highly demanding and advanced committee at Model UN in Berlin

Debating territorial disputes between Asian powers and terrorism in the Middle East, I expanded my world perspective engaging in substantive debate with a diverse array of international delegates. In the Security Council, we started strong, debating the conflict between China and Japan over ownership of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. My delegation introduced a comprehensive solution to the problem at hand, dividing the territory using balanced division of the economic resources that the island has to offer.  After passing this clause, my committee moved on to issues of violence in Syria and Libya, deciding against assigning a formal definition to terrorism as the concept contains such subjective undertones. I’m excited to continue debate on this issue starting early tomorrow morning!

Gabby Sanchez, `16
Gabby Sanchez, `16

After committee today, we set out to explore the vast city of Berlin. One of the sites visited tonight was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a moving landmark and museum documenting the atrocities of the Holocaust. This trip was especially fitting given Tuesday’s assembly in which Judith Altmann relayed her first-hand experience as a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Walking through the memorial surrounded by the field of 2,711 concrete Stelae ranging in height, was a surreal experience. We then descended below the outdoor display into a gallery depicting artifacts and personal accounts of the horrific event.

IMG_3074
The GFA Delegation stands at a remnant of the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin.

Today’s experiences in committee and around the city furthered our desire to truly understand how the world functions around us. The heated debate and collaboration during today’s Model UN Conference helped us gain a strong understanding of international viewpoints and negotiation tactics. Meanwhile, walking through the city of Berlin with traces of the Berlin Wall and the periodic Stolpersteine, serves as a real world example of the importance of international diplomacy.

International Debate and Cold War Contemplation: Update from the Berlin Model UN Delegation

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