What We Stand For Written By Audrey Fields “My friends, I am an optimist. That means that when I look at the world, I see not through my eyes but through the eyes of possibilities, possibilities for hope and for a better world.” Secretary General Nathan Zou delivered inspiring remarks during the Opening Ceremony to commence KUNA High School 2. He began with the history of the United Nations after World War II and used it to emphasize the monumental importance of such an organization. “If the founders of the UN could see the world today, they would probably stand alongside our progress. They would stand with the addition of 80 sovereign nations who have won their independence. They would stand hand in hand with the 9 out of 10 children who now have the opportunity to attend school. They would stand alongside the 2.6 billion people who have gained access to clean water in the past three decades alone. They would stand beside our successes: the harvest of the seeds they planted.”
Secretary General Nathan Zou addressing the crowd to commence 2018 KUNA High School 2
Zou proceeded to clarify that regardless of the progress the UN has made, the world is not perfect. “My friends, I am an optimist. But I am not delusional. I understand that we live in a world strife with hunger, thirst, and scarcity.” He described various critical global issues. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, it barely scraped the surface. He ended the speech, however, with a goal: a goal for the students here at KUNA to work hard and use their experiences to give a voice to the voiceless.
“But my friends, I am an optimist. Even in this world when it seems like people don’t care for each other anymore, I know that is not true. I can look around this room, and I see optimists all around me. I have faith that we as a generation can mold a better future not just for us or our families or our neighbors, but the entire world. I have faith that we will stand for what is right and never bow down.” It was evident at that moment that the room understood Zou’s sincerity. At that moment, it didn’t matter someone’s specialized program, high school, or political ideology. What mattered were his words. What mattered were the people who are not as fortunate, who cannot experience a conference like this and who cannot stand up for themselves. Zou continued, “So stand. Stand for the Rohingya fleeing religious persecution. Stand for the Syrian refugees driven from their homes. Stand for the countless victims of human trafficking. Stand for those who cannot stand, for those who are not here today. Stand for free speech. Stand for clean water. Stand for access to education. Stand for cooperation, for debate, for discussion, for compromise. Stand for love, for life, and for a better world. Stand, my friends, because we are optimists.” Zou’s speech brought people to their feet. In just 6 minutes, he undeniably inspired a room of 1,000 high school students to be ambassadors for change. To work toward a better future. To stand for what they believe in.
75 Countries in One Ballroom Written by Sarah Potts With its clustered tents, waving flags, and marvels of crafting, it is undeniable that Global Village is the most visually stunning aspect of the conference. Students spend days, sometimes weeks, of hard work and craftsmanship to put together a display worthy of representing their countries. But perhaps one of the most important, yet least apparent, aspects of Global Village displays are their authenticity. It is difficult to condense the entire culture of a country or countries into a 10x10 foot space, but year after year, delegations and their ambassadors continue to amaze. Ambassadors from Apollo High School represented the culture of Italy through its most popular aspect: its food. “Due to the warm climate, [Italy’s] really good for growing fruit like grapes and such,” Haley Bond explained. “Italy’s known for its pasta and cheese. We also have some olives, because one of their biggest industries is olive oil.” The food wasn’t the only thing represented, however. “We do have a candle of a saint,” Bond said. “Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in Italy; we wanted to showcase that as well.” And in researching the country, Bond learned just how extensive coffee production was in Italy. “You think of, like, Italian espresso, but I actually didn’t know how big of an industry it was. That was something really interesting I found out by doing my research.” Other schools also represented their countries’ culture concerning their industry and economy. With their detailed and interactive display, the ambassadors from J. Graham Brown School conveyed the bustling markets of India and Iraq. Jocelynn Pry, an ambassador from Iraq, talked about some of the interesting facts she learned while researching her country. “[Iraq] created calligraphy,” she said, “and it’s the reason why we have twelve hours for day and night. And it also has an icon, just how France has the Eiffel Tower, and how the United Kingdom has Big Ben. Its national icon is the Great Mosque of Samarra.” With their display, the ambassadors were not only sharing the culture of their countries with others but were learning themselves. “All I
knew about [Iraq] is that it was war-torn,” Pry said, “but I found out that Iraq is such a beautiful country.” Other delegations presented some of the problems facing their country in a simple, yet powerful way. Ambassadors from Waggener High School brought to the attention of the conference the urgent issue of clean water access facing Colombia in the form of a pipeline and working water fountain display. “In Columbia, people don’t have access to clean water,” Cordell Adams said. “I know, in the world, people have water problems, but I didn’t know that it was that major of a problem, that a lot of people didn’t have access to water.” While ambassadors from Columbia brought to our attention the issues facing the people of their country, ambassadors from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea drew attention to the political landscape of their country. They created an interactive display allowing ambassadors to pay respect to Kim Jong Un with flowers passed out to visitors, and a sign featuring missile silos topped with doves. “They think that these missiles and things like that, they indicate peace…so I think it was cool, going in depth and understanding their culture and how they think violence and war can indicate peace.” We travel to this conference every year to debate, to participate, and to learn. Even just the small, authentic slice of culture that is Global Village can open our minds and our hearts to things we may not know of or understand. Education is the first step to creating a better world.
Human Rights Simulation: Freedom of Speech Written by Sophie Pennington
The annual Human Rights Simulation set a serious and inspiring tone for the first night of KUNA, preparing the delegates for a long day of changing the world ahead of them. The presentation focused on freedom of speech and how its absence can dramatically impact people. The seven presiding officers spoke in languages such as French, Spanish, Mandarin and more to share stories of people experiencing consequences from speaking up in the countries they call home. This year, KUNA delegates come from 75 different countries around the world, some where freedom of speech is a luxury. The Human Rights simulation inspired delegates to exercise their right to freedom of speech to help those who don’t have that essential human right. President of the UN General Assembly, Parker Raybourne, proclaimed that “Those who can speak must speak for those who cannot.” KUNA provides an opportunity for everyone to find their voice, speak up for the change they strive to see, and build lasting connections with one another. The simulation ended with the presiding officers stating, “I will stand for free speech,” moving the whole crowd to stand up together to honor those living in silence. Today delegates will show their impact on the world by speaking for the silenced and standing for those who are unable to. Today KUNA will make a difference.
WhY We Are Here: Intentions of the Delegates Written by Audrey Fields The theme for this year’s KUNA is intention. Intention is a very charged word; it can represent not only a plan but also future goals. Intention represents reasoning, desire, cause, motivation, and drive, to name a few. With this in mind, we interviewed delegates to see what their intentions were for the conference and in some cases, how they changed. The following students were asked to describe their intentions for the conference, and if they are experienced delegates, how they intend to guide new delegates. “My intentions for the conference are just to try to make everybody’s lives a little bit easier and to really have everyone come out of their shells since this is my last conference and I really want to end it with a bang. … Oh, absolutely! I remember being a new delegate and it is just so scary wondering around in this chaotic madness, but I just wish everyone would come up and talk to me and talk to anybody that they see, PO or not, and really just kind of get to know the culture of the conference, and the awesomeness of the people here.” — Haley Buchanan, Chief-of-Staff “My intentions for this conference would be to branch out. Um, I typically debate a lot during conferences, so I’m looking to not debate as much but to look for those close friendships that you make along the way of the conferences. … Honestly, stepping back a little bit in debate and yielding time if I do get up to speak, and making sure that if I see anyone, I’m inclusive and I’m stopping and saying hello.” — Ashley Barnette, Commonwealth Speaker of the House KYA 2018 “I would say my intentions are to expand my knowledge of international law and policy and to really start branching out from not only local and national policy but into foreign policy and the ways that our government impacts other governments. … Especially with new delegates being in my Lafayette delegation, I want to encourage them to speak and encourage them to voice their opinions. I know when I was a new delegate if someone would have come up to me and said, ‘Hey, go speak! I’m sure you have a really great point about this bill,’ it would’ve just been a really great factor of encouragement, so I want to be that for new delegates.” — Hart Hallos, Experienced Delegate “My intentions for this conference, since I kind of got a little bit of everything as a sponsor last time, I really wanted to try one of the specialized programs, so I’m in Security Counsel this time and it’s really awesome. … Oh, definitely! Almost 75 percent of our delegation from my school this year is completely inexperienced, they’ve never been to any Y-conferences before. So, the few experienced delegates that we have have had to really step up and try and guide the people along, and I look forward to
seeing what they think this year after it’s over.” — Zach Eichner, Security Counsel UAE Representative “For me, I think that I’m just trying to push an agenda that I care really deeply about and sort of just raise awareness about some of the things that I think are the most pertinent issues to our global community. … I think for me, the biggest step on getting out of my comfort zone was working up the confidence to go out and speak, not necessarily even in meetings, just to people in general, and just meeting all of the incredible people that live in our state. So, I’m just sort of being a very social person and talking to as many people as I can and pushing them to have conversations and get to know each other.” — Palmer Lessenbery, Presiding Officer Candidate “I originally wanted to come to KUNA because a lot of my friends were going and they wanted me to go with them. At first, I thought it would be boring because I’ve never really been interested in politics. I knew KUNA would be a welcoming and open environment, but seeing so many people willingly express and respectfully debate opposing ideas was incredibly interesting. It’s not every day that you see people listening and learning from those around them.” — Kayla Buchignani, New Delegate It is evident that while people come to KUNA for a multitude of reasons, we are all here to do one thing: leave an impression. Whether we inspire change or inspire a new delegate, we have the ability through one high school conference to make a difference. That is what defines KUNA.
Taiwan’s Fight for Freedom Written by Lexi Coulter Throughout the history of the world, the struggle for independence has emerged as an ever-present issue, the time, place, and population being the only indicator that the problem is not simply the same issue repeating itself. KUNA brings awareness to reoccurring problems such as this that affect not only one country, but many. At this year’s KUNA 2, STEAM Academy is representing the country of Taiwan. Taiwan has been under the rule of China since the 1940’s, and their KUNA resolution sponsors are proposing a step toward sovereignty. As Shamik Chandrachood, representing Taiwan this year as a resolution sponsor, expressed in an interview, Taiwan has never been truly independent. Taiwanese aborigines were taken over by Dutch settlers in the 1600’s after several years of consistent competition between other interested countries and the indigenous population. Over centuries of conflict, Taiwan went from Dutch to Qing to Japanese to under the rule of the Republic of China today. In 1971, the United Nations ejected Taiwan. The KUNA Taiwan representatives are aiming to establish Taiwan’s independence and therefore preserve their culture, while concurrently striving toward increased neutrality between Taiwan and the Republic of China, by proposing a resolution that requests the reestablishment of Taiwan’s United Nations membership.
“Reclamation of Taiwanese UN seat and liberation from China” reads the title of KUNA Resolution # 65, sponsored by Taiwan. This resolution has good intentions, simple implementation, little to no cost, and virtually no negative repercussions, but it continues to be defeated. Why? A possible answer could be that Taiwan as a country is not struggling on the surface. Other nations see Taiwan’s impressive unemployment rate at only 3.7% as of 2018, and the fact that they are the 7th largest economy in Asia, and these data are certainly commendable. Taiwan’s government has persistently pushed an agenda of self-improvement, passing legislation on issues such as environmental preservation, pollution control and prevention, food and health regulations, animal cruelty prevention, and human trafficking. “Taiwan has gone above and beyond, around the moon 6,000 times, with no aid from anyone,” states Chandrachood. It is no surprise that Sara Luckett and Brooke Hardin reported in an interview that when they were resolution sponsors for Taiwan KUNA 2016, they “could hardly find anything problems to do a resolution on.” Taiwan seems to be alright without the help of the United Nations, yet the KUNA resolutions sponsored by Taiwan have been similar versions of Resolution #65 for at least the past two years. Why would joining the UN be such a significant hurdle to overcome when it seems so unnecessary? The answer is simple: to improve inter-country relationships and treat Taiwan and its people with the respect it deserves. It is important to note that previous resolutions resembling Resolution #65 sponsored by Taiwan KUNA 2018 have been defeated. When asked why they would try again if their resolution was viewed as unnecessary, Chandrachood explains that although Taiwan would not be improved on a grand, extravagant, visually seen scale, it would help them and that Taiwan not only seeks to improve itself, but to also extend its aid, knowledge, and resources to other countries. A recent poll indicates that 93.5 ±0.5 percent of the general population of Taiwan (determined by a random sample) would support the obtainment of independence from China, and reports show that the newer generations are more actively pursuing this freedom and supporting resolutions like Resolution #65. Taiwan is attempting to expand global diplomacy already in the nearly passed 2018 United States travel bill between the
two countries, igniting anger in the Chinese government. Bills such as these could lead to alliances, which benefit both countries. Taiwan can stand isolation no longer. The sponsors say this resolution will improve Taiwan socially, starting new relationships and establishing its role as an independent entity that should be respected like every other country. “Taiwan would likely be more apt to help because they know what it’s like to hurt,” says Luckett solemnly, bringing the mood of our interview to a more serious conversation. “No-one’s been nice to Taiwan,” states Chandrachood when asked what he wanted to make sure made it into the article. Taiwan not only suggests this resolution to take a step forward to complete independence from China because they want to gain more allies and gain neutrality with China but to stop the unfair treatment they are and have always received from its ruling country. “If it’s not passed this year, whoever has Taiwan next year has to do a similar resolution. This problem has to be solved and this resolution is a perfect solution,” urges Hardin. The sponsors of Resolution #65 say that they are proposing the resolution although its similar predecessors were denied because this time, they are shedding a light on the overlooked oppression of the Taiwanese, whereas before, emotional and moral arguments were not thoroughly explained. “You have to look at people not as world leaders or delegates, but as humans,” says Chandrachood. Taiwan’s situation is unique. It is a plea for independence. It is an offer of friendship. It is a hope for freedom. Just as the KUNA representatives are stressing, the world must embrace its humanity to stop the cycle of oppression. Stay rational, but remain human.
Breaking Borders: How KUNA Inspires Students to Make Change Written by Sarah Potts KUNA serves as an opportunity to learn and understand for students of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone who attends the conference walks away with a better understanding of the culture they are representing as well as the culture of others. But some leave the conference having taken away so much more. For those lucky few, KUNA is not only a connection to the world’s cultures and the Commonwealth’s students but their future, because KUNA has helped those lucky few realize that their passion lies beyond the borders of their home country. Sam Showalter, a candidate for Presiding Officer from Scott County, has always been passionate about unity and wants to explore that passion through linguistics. “I feel like we can’t achieve unity if we don’t understand each other,” he said. “Ideally I’d like to be a translator for the United Nations for French and Russian. My mom used to live in Russia, so she’s taught me a little bit of Russian, and that’s where I got my interest in the language from...[linguistics] just feels right to me.”
Showalter feels right at home at KUNA, where unity between countries is encouraged, and immersion into culture is part of the norm. “I am actually embracing the culture of the different countries that I’m trying to represent by learning their language,” he said, “because language is absolutely essential to a country’s culture, and their political culture, and by understanding their culture and the problems that the country faces, I feel it’s easier to understand the language of the country, and vice-versa.” Allison Miller, another candidate for Presiding Officer, has also discovered a passion for language but is planning on applying it differently. Miller, who plans on double majoring in international affairs and Spanish, said: “I hope to work in South and Central America with victims of human trafficking, as well as doing some sort of legal work with the prevention of child labor in large industries.” Miller has always been passionate about children, and after discovering her love for the Spanish language and culture, the path seemed clear. “When I was thinking about what issues are important to me, I thought of the exploitation of children,” she said, “and I would really love to have a job in the future where I can make a difference in these children’s world.”
Allison Miller analyzing a resolution
KUNA has provided Miller an opportunity to not only realize her passions, but connect with equally passionate students from across the state. “When you live in the middle of nowhere, it’s kind of hard to find other people who are interested in what you’re interested in,” Miller said. “Through KUNA, I’ve been able to find so many other people, and learn so many different perspectives about these issues...it’s just furthered my love for this.”
Other ambassadors have discovered their passion for helping others at KUNA. Natalie Sendelbach, a candidate for Presiding Officer, realized her desire to go into international social work with an emphasis on children’s justice while on a trip abroad in Africa. “Over the summer, I went on a program to Ghana, and I was able to work with a group that supports a lot of child justice and social services and that sort of thing,” she said. “It really sparked my interest.” KUNA has helped Sendelbach realize the scope of the issues going on in the world today. “It’s a very eye-opening experience for all nations.” Haley Buchanan, who is serving as the Chief of Staff for the conference, has also found her calling through KUNA. Buchanan wants to go into the communications field, with an emphasis on international affairs. “I just want to be able to bring a new perspective to the table,” she said, “and help, kind of, mediate controversy wherever it may occur.” Buchanan wants to use her foundation in communications to spread ideas beyond the borders of our country. And like so many other Y conference attendees, the time spent here has influenced her to become the best possible version of herself. “The Y really opened up my voice,” Buchanan said, “and I now want to use it as much as possible in any way I can, to help those that need it.” It is undeniable that the Y has a profound effect upon its members, and for the ambassadors at KUNA, it is certainly no different. KUNA is home to the greatest minds in the state and in this generation, and wherever its students go, traversing borders and forging bonds, their impact will most definitely be felt around the world.
Y-Moments: A Reflection Written by Sarah Potts Students who attend the Kentucky United Nations Assembly experience the conference in a myriad of ways. From Security Council to the International Court of Justice to the nearly eighty resolutions being debated in committees, summits, and in front of the General Assembly, delegates are able to be fully immersed in the ways of the United Nations. For some, this KUNA is the first of many Y conferences, but for others, this is their last. And as the conference draws to a close, many students reflect on the impact that the YMCA and this conference, in particular, have had on them, and upon many of their most memorable Y-moments. For Allison Miller, her KUNA conference in seventh grade was not only her first but her school’s first as well. The experience was memorable not only for Miller but for the students she met during the conference. “I dressed up like Kate Middleton and carried a baby doll around, and everyone thought it was a real baby...I really liked confusing people with my baby doll,” she said. The conference was also memorable for a more concrete reason. “Our delegation won the best global village display, which was super hype because we’d never gone before, and we had so much stress over our stupid building thing,” she laughed. For Haley Buchanan, KUNA may be one of her favorite conferences because of the confluence of cultures and ambassadors from all over the world, but the experience she has gained has proved invaluable to her personal growth. “Before I joined the Y, I was a very timid and quiet person; I did not like to speak in front of groups,” Buchanan said. When asked what advice she would give to herself at her first KUNA, Buchanan said, “Speak up more. Seriously. This is the place to do it. I sometimes worry, you know, about how people might feel, because sometimes you have those opposing arguments, and you don’t want to seem offputting, but I’ve now seen that when people give negative or positive feedback, it really does Haley Buchanan (left) alongside a fellow delegate
just advance the whole conference, and it really helps people see things in a new perspective.” For Sam Showalter, the Y has been a place of warmth and welcoming. “At my seventh grade KUNA, I was eating dinner with two of my friends, when I realized that I couldn’t lie anymore,” he said. “I came out of the closet that day.” He spoke of the anxiety he felt in that moment, as well as the homophobia and backlash he faced in the aftermath. However, for him, “the fact that I stated that within the YMCA in a space that is safe and is accepting and receptive of differences” was what made his Y-moment special. “I had these all these amazing people standing by my side, and I was able to overcome,” Showalter said. For Allison, Haley, Sam, and countless other students the Y has left an impact on, the adjournment of KUNA may signal the end of the conference, but it is most certainly not the end. As alumni of the Y travel across the borders of counties, states, and countries, they spread not only the Y’s core values but the lessons they’ve picked up from their countless Y conferences as well. And while the immediate experiences and memories of KUNA may fade, the Y moments had by the innumerable ambassadors that attend these conferences will last and inspire for a lifetime.
Miss Representation Written by Sophie Pennington Kentucky United Nations Assembly gives young men and women the opportunity to voice their ideas to try to change the world for the better. The seven presiding officers brilliantly executed organized and professional assemblies while also being role models to future KUNA leaders. Often people seek role models that they can relate to in some shape or form, be it a same favorite sports team, similar views or passions, or the same gender. Although all seven of (High School 2) KUNA’s presiding officers this year were phenomenal, aspiring female KUNA leaders want to see women holding some of these positions as well. Many proposals addressed the lack of representation around the world that women have in politics and composed solutions to this issue on a global scale. In speaking with KYA’s Commonwealth Speaker of the House, Ashley Barnette, she provided a closer look at what it’s like running for a leadership position as a young woman. At first, when she began campaigning for a presiding officer position fall of 2017, she was intimidated and nervous, but through female Y staff members and other Y-role-models, she found her confidence and support system. Although mainstream media tends to depict women as highly competitive against one another, Ashley’s experience with her female opponents was one of unconditional support and positivity. She stated that “all of us female candidates discussed amongst each other that we were all rooting for each other and it didn’t matter who won as long as we were well represented.” The ladies were united and helped campaign for one another which took away a lot of the stress from the election process and reassured them that no matter the outcome, their voices would be heard. When asked why she believes that some people don’t feel comfortable voting for a female candidate, she responded: “there’s a stigma that we’re [women] seen better in the background, everyone wants to applaud a girl who stands beside a man but not one who stands in front of him.” She then went on to discuss the different kinds of language people use in describing each gender, such as the word “bossy,” which has a feminine connotation. People should be thoughtful in the words they use when critiquing a
candidate or leader and be sure that gender should be excluded from someone’s leadership. Ashley then concluded the interview by proclaiming “problems with female leaders shouldn’t be related to them being women, but how successful they are at getting stuff done.”
The Importance of Voter Registration Written by Lexi Coulter Every KYA and KUNA, eligible delegates are urged to register to vote. Most delegates let it go in one ear and out the other, but my recent completion of this process has led me to realize its importance. Although we might not be voting on actual global resolutions as we simulate during KUNA, we can vote on representatives who make decisions for the good of our United States â€“ the very foundation of democracy. By electing leaders who share our beliefs and perspectives, we are indirectly able to make those global decisions. If people do not exercise this right, America will have no voice. Register or pledge to register to vote so that you can have a voice.
Editor: Audrey Fields Writers: Sarah Potts, Sophie Pennington, Lexi Coulter, Audrey Fields
Published on Mar 13, 2018
Published on Mar 13, 2018
Special thanks to all of the amazing writers and photographers who contributed their hard work to create this newspaper. And of course, our...