CONFERENCE STUFF TO DO IN THE HAGUE
BEYOND THIMUN WHERE ARE MUNers NOW?
MOVIE TUESDAY NIGHT: RABAT
GREEN AMSTERDAM’S CARBON FOOTPRINT
Monday, January 28, 2013
One man’s Odyssey
THIMUN XLV: Energy and Sustainability
What is sustainability about?
It may not have struck BY CHARLOTTE SMITH many this morning, but as we ACS Hillingdon all tucked into our breakfasts, whether it was bananas or bacon and eggs, we were influenced by international policy of regarding energy and sustainability, the theme of the THIMUN XLV conference. It is different from our stock-standard thoughts of “recycling”, but the trip the bananas took to Europe and the gas that cooked the bacon only came to be because of debates and discussions our global leaders conducted. This week, as we model the discussions of the UN, the theme “Energy and Sustainability” has been woven into the week’s commissions; we will all be introduced to the complexity of this topic. Even though it happened “behind the scenes”, choosing this week’s theme was the shotgun to start the race that is THIMUN 2013. MUNITY spoke to co-chair of the THIMUN foundation, Mr. Alain Meidinger, who proposed the
Provisional Programme of THIMUN Events
Monday 9:00-17:00 -
Lobbying; Security Council, ICJ and Advisory Panel in session 15:00-16:30 - Formal Opening
BY MAIA ALFARO Balboa Academy
issue of Energy. The Board as a whole then combined this idea of Energy with Sustainability to complete what is now this week’s theme. Meidinger explained that this was a result of “long reflection”, coupled with media influence. Additionally, Meidinger stated that, “For myself, due to the fact that I am a History and Geography teacher, it has been a second nature to find and develop ideas for THIMUN”. The board seems extremely excited about the tangible possibilities for this theme, given that it is relevant to all nations and people in the world. As Meidinger put it, “for me, the most exciting part is that ALL countries, small or big, powerful or not, have something to say on this theme. No country, no one person can live without energy.” Like THIMUN, the UN has also placed a significant amount of focus on energy and sustainability recently. 2012 was named “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”. Through raising awareness, the UN hopes to achieve JACK BLETHROAD the following: “To ensure universal access to energy to modern energy services; To double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; To double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.” While it is obvious that this will take a considerable amount of time, we can also see the amazing impact these advancements will have on the world when accomplished. However, energy and sustainability is not only a vision for the future, but has affected the global community’s past. While not many delegates will remember it, Meidinger prompted an event related to energy and sustainability. In 1973, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) raised the price of oil. This economically limited energy source had a radical impact on global relations. The Arab nations of OPEC announced an embargo against the United States in response to the U.S. decision to resupply the Israeli military during the war. They continued to do this to other nations that supported Israel. Drastically... Theme, Page 2
9:00-13:00 Plenary sessions; opening speeches of GA 14:00-17:00 Committee & Sub-commission meetings
9:00-14:00 Committee & Sub-commission meetings 14:00-17:00 - Cultural Activity Day (no session)
9:00-17:00 Committee & Sub-commission meetings 17:00 - MUN-Directors meeting with Board of Directors
9:00-11:30 Committee & Sub-commission meetings 16:30 - Closing Ceremonies 20:00-24:00THIMUNDance
“I’ve been traveling pretty much non-stop (...) to try and be the first person to visit every country in the world without flying, and today I just have!” It took Graham Hughes nearly four adventure-packed years to be able to claim this. He finally yelled it into a camera, bursting with pride, on November 26th, 2012, after setting foot in his last and 201st UN country, Sudan. That day, the 33-year-old self-described adventurer, filmmaker, travel blogger and TV presenter from Liverpool, England, uploaded a YouTube video of himself taking a swig of champagne straight out of the bottle and shouting: “LOVELY!” Hughes certainly did not come up with the idea to traverse the globe while sitting on his couch eating potato chips off of his stomach. He had backpacked through about 70 countries and managed his own successful film company, Hydra Studios, before deciding to combine his passions for travel and filmmaking and embark on the record-breaking journey he named The Odyssey Expedition. Backed by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, and BBC, he set out with not much other than a camera to document this formidable trek through the world. He avoided planes, private transportation, restaurants and hotels, which, despite saving him countless dollars, made for a very difficult journey. To complete this nearly impossible feat he must have had some serious motivation, found in Hughes’
will to spread awareness and collect donations for WaterAid, a nonprofit organization that helps make much-needed toilets available to people all over the world. He advocates for the cause vigorously, speaking out about how a lack of sanitation contributes enormously to child mortality and how the issue is largely neglected. “You might just save a real actual baby human’s LIFE,” writes Hughes on TheOdysseyExpedition.com, encouraging readers to support the cause. Hughes’ drive also stems from a determination to stand out from the crowd. Described on The Odyssey Expedition’s website as “the squeaky wheel after the oil,” Hughes was said to never have trouble drawing attention to himself, even as a child. That little itch inside most of us that urges us to do something worth remembering appears to have dragged Hughes across 201 countries and into the book of Guinness World Records. It might be that his main goal, above immersing himself into unknown cultures and acquiring new perspectives, was to become a household name. But it gets harsher. “My worst moment was in Congo, when they put me in jail for a week for being a spy,” laughs Hughes during an interview in Australia’s Today Show. “I just had to pray to God that I didn’t get malaria,” he adds to MSNBC News, cringing with the memory. He admits that he never expected this kind of trouble when he set out on his journey, but also... Odyssey, Page 4
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
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MUNITY PRESS TEAM
Welcome to MUNITY XXI! TUESDAY
Editors in Chief Mariana Domingues, Carlucci American Int. School Vicky Liu, John Burroughs School Text Editors Suh Young Choi, Mont’Kiara Int. School Nora Stai, American School of Paris Charlotte Smith, ACS Hillingdon Reporters Zeina Abu-Hijleh, ACS Amman Maia Alfaro, Balboa Academy Jack Blethroad, John Burroughs School Gabriella Ciemny, Zurich International School Michiel de jong, Gymnasium Haganum Megan Johns, Grange Schools Antoine Lebrun, International School The Hague Nicole Lester, British School in the Netheralands Tiffany Mauth, American School of Paris Katelin Quanbeck, Brussels American School Thomas Rososchansky , ACS Hillingdon Anna Soer, Lycee Francais Vincent v. Gogh Ellen Smith, Grange Schools Alice Tow, Ellesmere College Irene Yu, Pacific American School Layout Noah Lehrecke, John F. Kennedy School Victoria Pairet, International School Brussels Tyler Payne, International School Beijing James Roh, International School Beijing Photography Tamara Bataski, American School of Kuwait Tomas Clarkson, British School in the Netherlands Daniel Cole, Dwight London School Christina Lennartz, John F. Kennedy School
Dear Reader, Welcome to the first issue of MUNITY of the THIMUN XLV conference! MUNITY is the official, daily newspaper that covers all things related to THIMUN. Just as all delegates will be working hard on their resolutions in their rooms, our reporters will be scurrying around conducting interviews, our photographers will be chasing down people to photograph, and our layout editors will be building the day’s template--all to help create the next issue of MUNITY from scratch. Within the pages of this week’s issues, you’ll find articles on everything from what was passed in what room to international flags and their meanings. You’ll also find candids of delegates hard at work, and even
Theme, continued from Page 1 cont’d from page 1...the price of oil per barrel doubled, and then quadrupled, leading to increased costs for consumers worldwide. The embargo coincided with a recession, centering around the U.S. Many European nations, as well as Japan, attempted to disassociate with the U.S. Middle Eastern policy. As a result, the US was placed in such a horrific situation that it was forced to negotiate an end to the embargo from a weaker position. This event ultimately impacts most energy relationships between nations that we see today. Now, compare this to an issue today. We are constantly told that oil reserves are dwindling, and therefore global economics will be strained even further. Let’s consider the Iranian wish for nuclear power, for instance.
DID YOU KNOW...
...that Greenpeace prefers to see countries using nuclear energy more than coal or oil? ...that 1.4 billion people still do not have access to modern energy, while 3 billion rely on “traditional biomass” and coal as their main fuel sources? ...that replacing outdated stoves and open fires with modern energy service would prevent 800,000 children dying annually.
The nation says that they will use this power to supplement their people’s growing energy needs, but other nations, particularly the US, are concerned that allowing the use of nuclear power for energy will result in nuclear weapons. This highlights the power of energy, and the effect it is having on global politics. The world strives to move past the disaster of the OPEC crisis, and the only way to achieve our goals and resolve issues of energy and sustainability is through international cooperation. For the sake of the future, we should be mindful about human rights, and the morals that holding or withholding energy has. Is it fair that one person could have the ability to control someone else’s energy? Does everyone have the right to access energy? Should it be international protocol to share energy? Will we have enough energy in the future to sustain the health care that is required worldwide? We, the international community, need to use our energy sustainably to maintain future stores. Imagine a world where there is no gas for your oven, no MRIs, no showers… let alone computers, televisions, or your iPhone. The impact of the decisions made worldwide, especially by the UN, is going to determine the near future. We need to take a stand to ensure that our nation’s policies are going in the direction our world needs. As Meidinger put it, “As an MUNer you proclaim yourself to be a citizen of the world. Prove it! Prove it now by thinking, acting, and merging ideas with the other delegates. This point is at the base of sustainability”.
a few Sudokus. This year, we’re continuing last year’s format of emulating papers from all over the world. Each day, we will emulate a paper from a different country for a total of five different papers. THIMUN isn’t defined by individual countries, but rather by the cooperation of all of them. By framing the daily happenings of the conference in the newspapers of five different countries, we hope to embody this. We are confident that our reporters will successfully capture that essence of cooperation and dedication to achieving resolution that defines the main goals of not only THIMUN, but also international relations as a whole. Your editors, Mariana Domingues and Vicky Liu
Furthermore, our Secretary General, Thomas Evans, divulged his own opinions on the theme. He is interested on the impact of the keynote speaker and speeches on how the theme is interpreted by commissions. Though Evans stresses all issues are important, he believes that “the development of sustainable agricultural practices in the context of a green economy” is a very important topic to be discussed in the Environment Commission. As he explained, this is because it deals with “a clash of interest between food provision and sustainability,” two factors, which often do not smoothly go hand in hand. If we apply the theme to our lives outside the conference room, it still dramatically affects us. Evans states that the nature of this topic will be “much closer to the participants”, directly affecting every single one of our lives. From simple things like recycling, to a game played by myself and many fellow Londoners called “spot the Prius”, it is evident that sustainability is attached to much of our lifestyle. Every time you rush out of a room and leave a light on, every thirty-minute shower you have to unwind, every bottle you don’t recycle; these are seemingly minor actions that greatly affect the future of sustainability. Hopefully, while we are all thinking from the big picture during the conference, we will all begin to notice the smaller things we can do ourselves, and perhaps the simpler ways we can compel our own local governments or organisations to think about energy and sustainability as a “healthier” trend to follow.
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013 3
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THIMUNewbies BY ZEINA ABU-HIJLEH ACS Amman
Welcome to THIMUN! If you are reading this article, you most likely would like a few tips on how to make your conference experience smoother and just that much better. First, a run down of the conference. THIMUN was first or-
ganized in 1968 by Paul Sand from the American School of The Hague. Ever since then, it’s been a place where students debate UN issues after months of research and preparation. The first day at the conference is set aside for “lobbying and merging.”In the past couple of years, lobbying at the conference has become less and less popular. As of recently, students have been lobbying online beforehand through social networks and the THIMUN discussion forum. However, during “lobbying and merging”, delegates find other delegates to impress or merge with and start working with them to make sure their resolutions get enough signatures to be debated. As soon as a resolution has enough signatures, it is taken to the approval p a n e l where it is looked over b e fore
Confused? Don’t be! This article will explain everything.
it is debated. For the rest of the conference, delegates will be debating resolutions in their commissions. On the last day, the Ambassador and another delegate are invited to go to Plenary, the final debates on passed resolutions from the committees of the General Assembly. Before you leave your hotel, go to the bathroom! Trust us-the hotel bathroom will be much cleaner than those at the conference and much less crowded. You don’t want to waste any valuable time outside of your room at THIMUN looking for a clean bathroom! Just in case, on the day before the conference when your school stops by the THIMUN building, check out the closest bathroom to your room so you know where it is if you need it. If you’re looking for a clean, uncrowded one, you should check for remote, hidden ones at the ends of hallways. Of course, cleaner ones will be farther away, so go to the bathroom before you leave your hotel! Also before you leave your hotel, double check to make sure you have your jacket. Your most important possession on your way to and from the conference is definitely your coat. Do not underestimate The Hague’s cold weather; there is a reason THIMUNers all talk of the Hague
Plague. Without the proper outerwear, you will end up sick. The coat check at the entrance of the conference only costs a euro if you don’t want to keep carrying your jacket everywhere you go. A word about how to dress: THIMUN does have a pretty strict dress code. Men are expected to dress in suits and women in skirts, dresses, trousers, or blouses. Although THIMUN is a fashion show to some, make sure to dress properly. Tennis shoes, colored hair, and facial piercings are not allowed, but the restrictions don’t stop there. In the past, admins have asked people to go home and change out of inappropriate clothes; many of whom were girls with too-short skirts or low cut shirts. Regarding shoes, all THIMUNers should either wear comfortable yet formal shoes to the conference or have them in their bag for their way to and from the conference. A word to the girls: although the attraction to high heels is hard to resist, last year, girls who didn’t resist could barely walk by the 5th day of the conference. There are many options for your daily lunch. Everyone at the conference will be given tickets for the conference-provided food, but the food doesn’t appeal to many delegates. However, it is still a good idea to go to the caf-
eteria and scope out the food--it is free, after all. And even if you don’t see anything you like, use your ticket to grab a free soda or maybe a muffin. The food you can buy from cafes located inside the World Forum usually consists of pizza, fries, and candy bars, most of which is quite expensive. There are also a multitude of small cafes and restaurants close to the conference that would work beautifully--that is, if you have enough time. Students often only have around 40 minutes to eat lunch, hardly enough time to choose a restaurant and order. The recommended plan is to bring your own food. On your way to the conference in the morning, look for a conveniently located grocery store. There are a couple of Albert Heijns located just a block away from the World Forum. Here, you will find more choices at lower prices. Get ready to lobby, merge, debate, and meet new people. Throw yourself out there--seize all of the opportunities you can! Your THIMUN experience will be what you make of it.
The world outside the Forum BY NICOLE LESTER British School in the Netheralands
The Hague is a place with attractions for every type of person. As the third largest city in The Netherlands, it is also the seat of the Dutch government and parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State, leaving it with the duty of developing socially and economically whilst maintaining its beautiful, historical appearance. During the time of participation in THIMUN there will be many opportunities to enjoy, the different culture and surroundings, or simply to appreciate what The Hague has to offer. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge whilst staying in the Hague, you may want to take a visit to some of the most visited tourist attractions. The recently-built Louwman Car museum has quickly become a spectacle of interest throughout tourists and citizens alike, attracting many with the world’s largest and most famous collection of historic automobiles on public display. The Gementee museum, located around the corner from the World Forum where THIMUN is held, is filled with art and historical knowledge that is completely free for students. The Madurodam park contains 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch castles, public buildings, and large industrial projects as found at various locations in the country. The park was opened in 1952 and has been visited by tens of millions of visitors since that date. A personal favourite of mine is the Prison Gate Museum
in the centre of The Hague. A guided tour round the old dungeons leaves you with a haunting yet factual experience of the history involving torture, imprisonment, and laws. Even the locations of some of the rooms at THIMUN, such as Museon and WFCC, add to the list of intellectual and enjoyable places. There is much shopping to be done in the centre of the Hague. Of course there are your common clothing shops, but the atmosphere feels very different from anywhere else in the world with the aroma of the fresh stroopwaffels (cookies made from sandwiching two thin waffles with caramel) and delicious thick frietjes (belgian fries that usually come in paper cones and with mayonnaise). A daring visitor could take on the traditional Dutch culture by eating raw herring, sold outside the parliament buildings. For those looking for a good place to eat, Popocatepetl provides a varied menu of Mexican meals. The atmosphere of the restaurant conjures a feeling of Mexico City itself, adding to the enjoyable food and leaving you with a more than satisfactory dinner experience. For those who prefer Italian food V.I.P and Vapianos are both excellent restaurants to go for a pleasant meal. V.I.P is considered to be cheaper, but food-wise, Vapianos,with its tasty self-order meals of varieties of fresh pastas and collection of pizzas, has been acknowledged by many as slightly better. Throughout the youth in The Hague, SUMO is the latest hype of places to eat. SUMO provides customers with a five
round menu, the majority of which is sushi based. On each round you are able to choose a “small meal” for a great value. Upcoming debates or amendments may be taking over your mind, but fear not--The Hague offers a mixture of entertainments such as the cinema that are perfect for a small break . In The Hague there are two main cinemas called Spuimarkt and Buitenhof, both offering excellent quality movies with a latest addiction to an IMAX screen for an overwhelming movie experience. Another option is the Plein and Grote Markt , a square of bars/ restaurants with inside and outside seating (with outside warmers) for chatting and relaxing with friends. It’s both enjoyable at night and during the afternoon where warm snacks can also be ordered. Another pleasant way for one to spend an afternoon is a walk on the beach or a walk along the pier. The beach at Scheveningen offers not only that but also has upheld its traditional roots and is a great place to enjoy a Dutch pancake. As you can tell, during your stay in The Hague, you will never be bored. Its mixture of beautiful history and Buitenhof
modern facilities allows for a city of entertainment and delight. A chance for broadening cultural knowledge is in store for students participating in THIMUN. The Hague awaits your exploration.
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4 MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013
PAGE FOUR Odyssey, cont’d from Page 1 ...makes it clear that he was never short of remarkable experiences.“Sailing through the Atlantic, there was a day when about fifty dolphins swam with us for two hours,” he gushed to BBC. “It was awesome. It was just awesome.” On the Today Show in Australia, Hughes raved about how he met “so many amazing people.” In Iran, a country with a government hostile to the British, strangers constantly offered him food and housing.“I’ve slept on a lot of couches,” he recounts to BBC News. “I’ve slept in a lot of shared taxis in Africa where, you know, the taxi’s designed for seven people and they somehow fit sixty people in.” His journey provides ample evidence that in “some countries, you really can’t judge them by the governments,” a fact that needs to be kept in mind for the success of international cooperation and the United Nations. The memories of the Odyssey, both good and bad, provides for quite a collection of stories. And apparently even episodes: National Geographic agreed to compile Hughes’ self-recorded video blog into a TV Series named “Graham’s World” that has already begun airing. Give the show a watch; if reading about The Odyssey Expedition did not inspire you to trot the globe yourself, seeing Hughes in action just might. Or perhaps his reflective words to the Associated French Press will do the trick: “If you’re American you can’t go to Mauritania, you can’t go to Cuba, if you’ve got an Israeli stamp on your passport you can’t go to Arabic countries, if you’ve got a Malawi stamp on your passport you can’t go to Algeria.... The world’s not open to everyone, but if it is open to you, you know, I think it’s worth exploring.” Lucky enough for us at THIMUN, we don’t even need a passport to explore cultures from all over the world. This week, cross oceans just by crossing your room!
Delegate 101 better than you do.” She also stresses the importance of research. While research might not be too fun, the more you know Today begins the XLV session of The about the topic, the more interesting the Hague International Model United Na- debate will be. She concluded with some tions! People have been buzzing with ex- wise words: “You will not regret speaking citement and enthusiasm for weeks and at THIMUN!’ You should not be afraid even months, and now the moment is of speaking. Seize the opportunity--evfinally here. After conducting endless re- eryone remembers what their first MUN search and writing draft resolutions your experience was like and understand that hard work is about to pay off. Thousands delivering a speech for the first time can of delegates march into the World Forum be frightening. Convention Centre, full of adrenalin and For the newbies, a delegate from Spewith a distinct mission in mind; a mission cial Conference 1 advises to begin with that encapsulates THIMUN’s core: unit- submitting a small amendment, and then ing, negotiating, solving, speaking, criti- giving a stunningly powerful speech. This cizing and peacemaking. For years, THI- tactic will give you the opportunity to MUN has been a place where the world’s show the other delegates your rhetorical youth assemble to discuss global affairs, abilities, something that might help you meet new people, and attempt to change later on in the week. He also suggests to the world, one step at the time. However, respect the admin staff. They are indeed to achieve this you must challenge and the backbone of the conference; without push yourself to be the best delegate you them, THIMUN would not be possible. can be. To help you be the best delegate Another delegate from GA 2 recommends you can be, MUNITY has gathered some to “never, ever insult a country,” as it is valuable advice. neither wise nor appropriate to offend “Know your country’s policy by other delegates or their respective naheart,” advises tionalities. He also recommends bethe Deputy friending delegates who represent Chair of GA5. the G20 countries; they can become She continprecious allies when deues, saying bating and assembling a that, “There is resolution. nothing worse However, one must than other delalso acknowledge the egates knowfashion aspect of THIing your policy MUN. Many boys and girls put a lot of thought into what t h e y w e a r during the conTAMARA BATASKI Are you a confused delegate seeking advice? Look no further! ference. BY MICHIEL DE JONG Gymnasium Haganum
But guys, please remember to tie your tie correctly! Girls, remember that your legs can still be stunningly beautiful when only half of your thighs are visible! Moreover, a Human Rights Committee 1 delegate recalls the shame when the admin staff kindly asked her to wear a more appropriate skirt. “Bring a pen...and bring sufficient paper,”a delegate from GA 3 advises, who adds “bring a water bottle--it will become essential to your survival at THIMUN!” She concludes by stating, “You should always be on time.” After interviewing several delegates it becomes evident that even the most experienced are not as intimidating as they may seem. They, too, have dealt with overcoming their fears, and pushing themselves to the limit in competing with other ambitious delegates. Although competition is prevalent in MUN, you should try to remember that the goal of the United Nations, and therefore MUN, is to collaborate with people from the entire world to make the world a better place. Instead of giving up when your resolution is rejected, amend it. Try to compromise by changing clauses or conditions. You should remember that no resolution has been passed without changing parts of it. No one is born a delegate--like a good resolution, we have all developed through our experiences, by changing and adapting. Because by being an honest, diplomatic, and courageous delegate, one will ultimately succeed. The bravery to defend that what you believe in and the ability to constructively criticize that which you do not agree with, will be your greatest tool both as a delegate and as an individual. This courage, along with unfailing motivation, will undoubtedly aid you in achieving your goals at THIMUN 2013.
Where are delegates from?
A red dot means a THIMUN school
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013 5
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
Meet Thomas Evans, Secretary General of THIMUN XLV The story behind the most famous face of the Conference By ANNA SOER Lycee Francais Vincent v. Gogh
Meet Thomas Evans, THIMUN 2013’s Secretary General (SC). You could describe Thomas as the kind of student who does everything perfectly: impeccable language, followed by a very neat attitude and top grades; making him much admired by his fellow Year 13 schoolcomrades. The position of SG awarded by the Board of Directors has deep meaning for Thomas, as he is a senior and this year’s THIMUN conference will be his last. His position suits him well; Secretary General is the most distinguished position one can obtain at a MUN conference. The person holding this position is responsible for informing and training the students taking part of it. While the Board of Directors takes care of renting the building and any other logistic issues, the Secretary General makes sure that all students know what they are doing in accordance to their position. In short, Thomas is an essential pillar of this conference. Since 2008, Thomas has been going to the International School of the Hague. During Year 9, the school (which happens to be one of THIMUN’s co-ordinators) offered him a place as delegate at DeMUN, Demonstration Model United Nations. As this conference was his first, Thomas was a bit reluctant to speak in the beginning. He, however, gathered some courage and managed to take the floor several times during the debates. He recalls this conference to have been a “good experience”. This event, spent debating heavy and complicated issues, led him to pursue his MUN career in other conferences, such as MUNISH (Model United Nations
at the International School of the Hague). The tremendous amount of effort Thomas put into these conferences resulted in his nomination as Deputy Secretary General for his first THIMUN conference in 2012, where he was charged with supervising ECOSOC. Even with the jogging between the two THIMUN buildings that managing ECOSOC calls for, he still considers THIMUN 2012 as a great and fun experience; the walkie-talkies proved to appeal to him very much. The effort that culminated in Thomas’s nomination as Deputy Secretary General last year was joined by the hard work necessary to achieve the position of Secretary General. To become part of the Executive team, of which the SC is an essential component, one must go through an interview with three members of the Board of Directors. “I think that there is always a certain amount of nervousness involved with events of this kind of size, but I very much enjoyed the interview; the Board members are all very nice people.” However, being the Secretary General makes Thomas’ week at THIMUN far from easy. His role is divided into two parts: pre-conference preparation and work during THIMUN. The pre-conference preparations mainly consist of conducting the Student Officer Training, organized by the Executive team, formed of one Secretary General and four Deputies, Xiaman, Guilherme, Jek Jin and Océane; as well as organizing the research reports processes. Each deputy is in charge of one or two committee(s) and thus collects the research reports written by the chairs of each committee. When all have been corrected by the Executive Team, the research reports are put at the disposition
of each delegate online, approximately side the Netherlands. However, even with one month before the start of the confer- this challenge, Thomas managed to put ence. “We had no major difficulties, ev- together in an orderly, functional and eryone worked well and now that the re- structured manner all aspects of this consearch report creation process is coming ference, making his pre-conference works to a close, I can say that I am happy with a huge success, as of course was expected how it went.” by all by Thomas’ excellence. For all asDuring the conference, Thomas’ work piring Secretary Generals, Thomas Evans as Secretary General is to ensure that is definitely an example to follow. Precise, everything runs smoothly, whether it re- polite, professional, available at all time, quires running through the THIMUN easy to talk to, knows what he’s talking building with his walky-talky (to make about, and last but not least, caring. Look sure he is available at all times) or mak- forward to a spectacularly coordinated ing sure debates go along the rules of week. procedure, answering all the questions regarding the conference. If there is anything worth knowing at THIMUN, you can be sure that Thomas can point you in the right direction. For Thomas, organizing the world’s biggest and most exciting MUN conference can be very tricky, stating that “the most challenging aspect about organizing a conference like this is bringing all the individual elements together. For every function that needs to be performed, there are many individual tasks that have to be done, and in my opinion, making sure that everything gets done smoothly and in a timely manner is one of the most challenging things about the organisation”. This year’s THIMUN is the first one to be organised by an Executive Anna Soer Team with members out- Secretary General Thomas Evans
THIMUN Badges: What does it all mean? Amidst the excitement and fast-paced atmosphere at THIMUN, it is easy to forget seemingly insignificant details: where you placed your placard; in which pocket your pencil is; where that lost-looking cosubmitter wandered off. However, one must never underestimate the vitality of your official THIMUN badge; literally opening the majestic door to the THIMUN world, your badge is instrumental to your participation at this conference. No badge, no entrance to the World Forum. Yet this is merely a facet of your badge’s function. Other than the obvious, the large, laminated badge you wear around your neck is the first impression fellow MUNers will have of you. Your badge and the scorching color so loudly printed upon it, is the screaming symbol that disseminates your MUN-identity to your peers. To put it briefly, the color of your badge transmits a mesBy NORA STAI American School of Paris
acce ss can go wherever conf to all e they choose, room rence s under any circan and e nte cumstances, any foru r m regardless of the an y tim at situation e.
sage to admin, as well as to everyone else, about which MUN category you fall under and where you are permitted to go. With the follow information, you’ll be able to identify and distinguish a student officer from a press member, ICJ participants from delegates, and so on. In terms of some practical information, here are a few extremely important tips. First of all, everyone must wear his or her badge at all times; if you do not have your official THIMUN badge, you will not be permitted to enter any THIMUN building or forum. If you have an additional smaller plastic badge: you must always be in possession of both badges, as your smaller badge cannot be used for identification. Secondly, If you have lost your badge, Conference Management will
access to “public”, or rather, “general” areas in the World Forum Center (such as the cafeteria etc.) as well as their respective committee rooms
give you a replacement badge that costs 30 Euros. Bring your passport photograph and identification proof when acquiring a new badge. Furthermore, Visitor badges are available at the Visitors Reception Desk at the Convention Centre. To conclude, for aforementioned reasons as well as other obvious reasons, wearing your badge at all times in the THIMUN buildings is imperative. Not only is your badge your pass to both the buses and the trams for the week, in doing so, you’ll undoubtedly avoid embarrassing scenarios, such as not being permitted to enter the conference and consequently having to run back to the hotel in heels. Embarking on such endeavors are clearly not recommended. So, above all else, remember ac your badge!
ce str ss i ca icte s qu lim n on d, a ite ite ly s th red a ent ey to d re er as tte foi . l g rm r al n e p te s lo en s, a g is in m ru vot prog as in . t no ress
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What is happening in the committees? he First Committee of the General Assembly deals with disarmament and threats to international security, seeking to find solutions that promote it’s principle of cooperation whilst considering matters that challenge global stability. At THIMUN XLV, the First Committee, chaired by Yasemin Akcaguner, will be addressing the impact that disarmament has on development, as well as the impact of missile development on global security. They will also be discussing the problem of unexploded ordnance and looking to solve this through international cooperation. The committee will additionally debate the establishment of nuclear free zones in the Pacific Ocean. The First Committee will be looking for solutions that maintain international peace and security, without threatening development.
he Fourth Committee of the General
Assembly addresses a variety of issues, including decolonisation, refugees, human rights and peacekeeping. The Fourth Committee will be chaired by Arthur Shin, who will be expecting “thorough research of the topics, as well as country policy and the preparation of novel ways of solving issues”. The committee will be hoping to decide upon appropriate measures to create a socially and economically secure Somalia, primarily through supporting the creation of a stable government. The committee will be hoping to solve the question of New Caledonia, which still remains a French colony. They will also be discussing possible ways to break the apparent link between the illicit trafficking of rough diamonds and armed conflict. The Committee will be considering countering restrictions on the dissemination of information on decolonisation.
he Economic and Social Council,
or ECOSOC, is concerned with global economic, environmental and social matter. It debates operations related to issues such as universal sustainability and economic growth. Lead by it’s President Evangelos Chakatsis, ECOSOC will discuss the international use of biofuels and the impact this will have on food security. They will also be addressing the promotion of youth employment and the creation of jobs for a more sustainable future, as well as promoting sustainable economic growth for social development. ECOSOC is also going to consider how to bridge the gap between grass roots movements and the UN. Discussion will also include the possible introduction of new criteria, which would allow the UN to better consider the success of country, including the well-being of the nation’s citizens and its protection of the environment. They will also discuss the International Year of Family Farming (2014), involving enabling effective programmes of sustainable development by women to be carried out, ensuring global access to innovative forms of energy and working to improve the achievements of the Millennium goal, which looked to the “eradication of extreme poverty and hunger”.
BY IRENE YU & ELLEN SMITH
Pacific American School & Grange Schools
he Second Committee of the General
Assembly will be chaired by Victor Dewulf, who is looking forward to “finding financial solutions to some of our everlasting global problems”. This year they will deal with the role the UN plays in promoting development, in the context of globalisation and interdependence. The committee will be considering the measures that can be taken to promote and support the use of renewable energy in less economically developed countries. This committee will also discuss the financing of research into new technologivs which will reduce the carbon footprint made by household activities. Furthermore, they will look to implement a sustainable development agenda in all Member States’ institutions. The Second Committee aims to bring about resolutions which do not stifle economic growth, particularly in countries in special situations.
ll administrative and budgetary responsibilities are entrusted to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, chaired by Cemre Paksoy (this year marks his fourth and final THIMUN). The committee will “consider the budgets of UN Programs and work together to up with more efficient administrative and financial policies for UN Missions”. At this conference, the Fifth Committee will address the financing of missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Abyei. They will be hoping to find solutions to financing initiatives that promote accessibility to clean water. They will also be discussing the scale of assessments for the appointment of the expenses of the United Nations.
measures to combat plastic waste dump in the oceans, development of sustainable agricultural practices in the context of a green economy, and measures to make Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) a standard solution to global warming. The Environment Commission is divided into two sub-commissions due to the number of issues to be addressed. The President of the Environment Commission, Kay Lee from Shanghai American School, hopes to make this year’s debate intriguing; “I’ve heard of committees where when debate lulls sometimes the Chairs put up a song at a delegate’s request while they have a caucus. There have even been occasions where Chairs have put up episodes of TV shows, like Glee, during lobbying!” said Lee. Lee and the rest of the chairs hope that all participants will gain a better understanding of the various environmental issues in the world and that in time, we will all work toward solving them together for this generation.
he Security Council aims to maintain and promote global peace and security. It identifies threats to peace and acts of aggression, by calling upon those involved to peacefully settle the dispute. It specifically encourages cooperation through adjustment and settlements. When necessary, the Security Council will impose sanctions or authorise the use of force to resolve these matters. The Security Council will be presided over by Laurent Hooimeijer. This conference, it will address the situations in Syria, Somalia and Libya, as well as the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. The committee hopes to maintain and restore peace and security on a global level.
T he Disarmament Commission
measures to fight the spread of terrorism in LEDC, ending the embargo on DPR Korea, and establishing a code of conduct for activities in outer space are all controversial topics in the world today that will be discussed in the Disarmament Commission. The President of the Disarmament Commission Meric Atelsalp from the American Robert College in Turkey will be leading both of the sub-commissions and wishes all delegates to participate.
the EnCommission include
he main issues to be debated in
he Third Committee of the General Assembly will be chaired by Maximillian Kehlan, and will be discussing a range of issues relating to social, humanitarian and cultural affairs, notably considering global issues of human rights. This particular committee seeks to address important questions of social development and to promote fundamental freedoms throughout all Member States. This year, they will be specifically examining suitable protection for minorities in South American Nations from the effects of deforestation. Another topic the committee will be debating is the promotion and protections of human rights when considering the context of peaceful protest. They will also be addressing the encouragement of education about environmentally sustainable lifestyles in less economically developed countries, along with looking towards the abolition of female genital mutilation.
he Sixth Committee considers all of the GA’s legal questions. It is the primary forum for dealing with the adoption of resolutions concerning international law. Chaired by Charlotte Bunemann, the Sixth Committee will try to reach consensus over how much assistance to provide to the survivors of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The committee will particularly be considering the orphans, widows and victims affected by sexual violence. This committee will also determine a code of conduct for the UN Dispute and Appeals Tribunal judges. They will exchange ideas on how to implement these universal jurisdiction principles applied in UN legal institutions. The sixth Committee will be aiming to define and monitor the legal responsibility of international organisations.
he focus of the commission will be human rights violations and the welfare of those facing abuse of their basic human rights. The Human Rights Commission will be addressing current issues, such as the events in Syria, Cote D’Ivoire and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The issue of human rights is of utmost importance internationally. Human Rights Commission President Ayse Unluturk said she “truly believes that a group of educated young persons can have a big influence on the course of events in our world, … the youth of today are the adults of tomorrow.” When asked about her approach in chairing, she shares that “the most important thing for chairs is to know when to smile and when to draw the line.” Unluturk and the rest of the HRC chairs would like to remind delegates that challenges have the power to bring success to those who are prepared to confront them.
he Special Conference, focusing
this year on Energy and Sustainability, will address many of the environmental and ‘green’ problems, including promoting awareness of the importance of sustainable energy when creating jobs, supplying energy in rapidly expanding cities in LEDCs, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. President Adam Willems wants to remind delegates that if they come informed, the debate will go off without a hitch and will make THIMUN the best conference attended. The chairs from both sub-commissions are excited to create constructive solutions to all the issues. Willems would like his committee to be professional yet interesting to the participants. “Once your conference tally runs into the double digits, you don’t remember a conference for the questions you debated, but for the fun and quirky things that “went down” in your committee,“ shares Willems.
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INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, London School of Economics, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and King’s College of London is a list of elite colleges with reputations highly regarded enough to make eyes widen. Yet one is left to wonder if MUN still influences the college-life of these ex-MUNers. It is evident that MUN makes up an indisputably significant part of all our individual high-school experiences. After high school, while some may go on to work in the UN, others may decide to pursue something DANIEL COLE entirely unrelated to MUN. We’re not all here at THIMUN with a common goal; MUN serves each individual in a different way. Nevertheless, it is clear that, whether it be making a first speech, typing away in the press room, bonding with other delegates over the bone-chilling Hague-weather, or listening attentively in the back of a large conference room, owur experience here at THIMUN will set its mark on our lives. So where are MUNers now? Has MUN become a mere relic of their high-school years, or is it an important facet of their present? Participating in MUN also provides students the opportunity to develop eloquence, charisma, and leadership. Take Lara Laila, for example. She participated in THIMUN 2011 as a Delegate of Germany and believes that because of THIMUN, “I am now able to appreciate the skills of lobbying, negotiating, consensus building, and compromising, [as well as how to] apply those skills in other... situations as well as becoming a more confident speaker.” THIMUN has aided in sculpting Laila’s character, and has influenced her to value the world of politics, to eagerly take responsibility, and to make a difference. Nadim Atalla, a THIMUN delegate for the past four years, elaborates, “Attending THIMUN has given me the skills of debating, thinking quickly, and social skills. Delegates must be able to pitch their ideas in a concise but intellectual way in order to attract people.” A person can be incredibly knowledgeable, but if they lack social skills to effectively communicate their information to society, their knowledge becomes stagnant. Skills gained at THIMUN are further evidenced by Helena Carreras, a freshman at the International University of Southern Europe, who participated in the THIMUN conference last year. She is confident that attending THIMUN also improved her ability to communicate her ideas effectively. She explains, “I learned to improve my writing, and listening skills. It also taught me to be more patient.” Not only are these social skills essential to the conference, they are skills that Laila, Atalla, and Carreras will be able to use throughout their careers and lives. These lessons gained from MUN of leadership skills and exposure to international affairs are prominent qualities that emanate among MUN participants. But MUN does more than just develop an individual’s skill sets. For Alexandre Kleis, Brian Carden, and Sietse Goffard, their experience at THIMUN has left a clear mark on their view of the world and their career path. By nora stai & gabriella ciemny American School of Paris Zurich International School
Alexandre Kleis, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, began participating in MUN in 2009 as a delegate in several conferences around Europe and was offered a chair position at PAMUN twice. It is clear that MUN had a significant impact on Kleis as he explains, “MUN is a true passion for me, and it became an integral part of my life in high school. It gave me wonderful leadership experiences and it shaped who I am today.” Kleis is currently pursuing engineering and international affairs at UPenn. After years of participating in MUN, his desire to study in an international atmosphere began to emerge, and justified his decision to study at UPenn -- a university which has a 12% international student population. Although, Kleis is studying systems engineering at UPenn, he is also active in several extracurricular activities to “further [his] interest in international affairs”. He says, “While I don’t think MUN has influenced my decision on my major, it definitely gave me an openmindedness that is extremely useful in university, and it has given me the desire to travel and live abroad in the future in order to gain a better understanding of certain cultures.”
While many simply attend THIMUN because they enjoy the intensity of a heated debate, or merely because they want to meet people from all over the world, many are driven by their interests in international affairs. The combination of such interests and the taste of the real world THIMUN provides can steer us to our future pursuits. Brian Carden, a freshman at Georgetown University, belongs to the latter. After studying business for the past year, he has learned that an ardent passion for politics plays a key role in his understanding of business. “International economics,” Carden states, “as well as politics, plays a large role in influencing business practices. The world is interconnected now more than ever; what one country does can both directly and indirectly affect business in another.” That being said, an understanding of international affairs and the way in which one country’s actions can affect the rest of the world, is vital to fully developing a deep understanding of other areas of knowledge. The acknowledgement of this dependency is what ultimately influenced Carden’s decision to study business in the US capital. His experiences in MUN have also molded his present. Last fall, Carden´s knowledge of debating and chairing led to his appointment as one of the directors for “The Prague Spring Committee” at the annual National Collegiate Security Conference at Georgetown. Cleary, his MUN experiences have been the instigator of current positions, as well the genesis of many valuable skills. Carden affirms that the most important thing he has learned from MUN is adaptability: “Being thrust into debate on topics on which you have limited knowledge, can be challenging, but through experience one finds that these situations become less frightening and more alluring as time goes on. Don’t be afraid to fail and give it your all. Chances are that not everyone will be an expert, so be confident in your ability exude poise and eloquence, despite restricted knowledge on the issue at hand.”
For Sietse Goffard, a sophomore at Harvard University, his MUN experiences collectively shaped his perception of global affairs and of the habitual procedures of international politics. Entering the world of MUN at the age of 12, he quickly immersed himself in multiple facets of MUN. It was here that Goffard developed an ardent passion for global relations, economics, politics, and international law. Chair of GA5 at THIMUN, Deputy Secretary General twice at PAMUN, and a participant in over a dozen additional conferences, Goffard has been involved in most areas of MUN. These experiences greatly influenced his decision to study economics and government: “All those years debating, researching and writing resolutions truly cultivated my interest in diplomacy and international affairs.” He further explains that as a result of experiences like THIMUN, he feels more optimistic about international relations, particularly supranational institutions like the UN: “I believe that the UN can indeed make a difference when it comes to preventing conflicts, protecting human rights, or promoting global development. It is for this reason that I feel that international relations is indubitably a field worth studying.” However, MUN´s effect on Goffard stretches beyond an increased understanding of global relations. Participating in MUN has taught Goffard countless lessons, one of the most significant ones being the importance of audacity. There are no easy solutions to global problems, and the challenges we face are often far more complicated than it seems on the surface: “This is precisely why it´s so essential to be audacious, even a little daring, when it comes to resolving these challenges. Think big. Be creative. And never be afraid to speak.” Furthermore, Goffard affirms that being exposed to a stimulation of the the UN proved useful in multiple ways: “For one, they helped me grow as a leader; chairing committees and running conferences in high school left me more self-confident and prepared for the activities I currently do at Harvard.” Yet this is merely one aspect of MUN´s benefits, as Goffard additionally acknowledges the importance of the acquaintances and friends he made at MUN conferences: “My MUN experiences connected me to a network of like-minded peers who are all passionate about international relations, government, and global development.” He goes on to say that while it may be difficult to keep in touch, he has upheld many friendships created at conferences--- the gravity holding them together being the mutual fervor of global affairs, debate, public speaking, and much more.
No matter where our journey leads us, our experiences at THIMUN will take root and lay the foundation for who we will become. The blueprint to collaborating effectively with strangers and future confidants will be imprinted in our minds-- as will an understanding of debating, global relations, and of the ways in which one communicates one’s ideas potently and articulately. Acquiring these qualities, however, is a long and crooked road; staying firmly on the path is an achievement in itself. These accomplishments cannot be measured or quantified; we will not be able to grasp the full extent of MUN’s impact for years to come. For now, however, it is up to us to ensure that THIMUN 2013 becomes more than just a memory-- whether that involves improving our debating skills one step at a time, or simply following the path of our shared passion for international relations wherever it may lead.
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INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
PAGE eight Thomas Rososchansky ACS Hillingdon
THE TUESDAY NIGHT MOVIE
“Rabat” is the film chosen by as THIMUN’s Tuesday Night Movie. The directors will have this special evening on the 29th of January, where in the schedule we are told that there will be “evening entertainment”. The Dutch film, by Jim Taihuttu, follows the story of three young friends on a road trip. Nadir (Nasrdin Dchar), the protagonist, is asked by his father to drive their old family taxicab from Amsterdam to his uncle in Rabat as the car is emotionally treasured, when his two best friends decide to invite themselves along. This comedic drama portrays the theme of overcoming xenophobia, a message quintessential to the mission of THIMUN. Producer Julius Ponten and the main actor Nasrdin Dchar will be present during the screening and after the film for questions and answers with the public. The film’s different tensions highlight this xenophobia and discord, which are the main themes of the film. Characters resent one another and hold back secrets. Situations present themselves that underline the international issue of foreign policy--such as when the dynamic trio are rejected from a club merely for being Muslim immigrants. These situations depict the obvious themes of the film, characterizing distaste, stereotypes and unaccepting attitudes towards strangers. While the movie considers many serious issues, the movie is also filled with comedy and also reinforces the positivity of unity and friendship. The comical trio (Nasrdin Dchar, Achmed Akkabi, and Marwan Kenzari) constantly portray to audiences their 17 years of friendship. Despite the struggles and secrets kept from each other, the long-
time friendship and loyalty between the three best friends is evident, bringing a light and endearing sensation to the film. THIMUN’s message of
Screenwriters Taihuttu and Victor Ponten fight the stereotypes of the immigrant youth through delivering the three friends’ ups and downs.
characters, their relatable personalities and true friendship continue to illustrate the theme of acceptance, which is an attitude that is necessary
ideally working in harmony ties in excellently to this film. The humorous back and forth and amusing situations create the idea that with laughter in our lives, racism and chauvinism can be overcome and that cooperation is the true way to success.
This reveals a more human side to these “foreigners”, expressing their grounded morals of friendship, love, honesty, acceptance, laughter and loyalty. Contrasting to the denouncement of these characters as immigrants who are negatively received by many
for the MUN state of mind. Additionally to the theme of Xenophobia, the film depicts the struggles of being a foreigner, as director Alain Meidinger was able to give us feedback on why the film was chosen. He told us the film
an inspiration to him, most students who came to these conferences did not live in their country of origin and therefore regularly faced the clash of two cultures. Meidinger said the multicultural situation of students “might have advantages but as well downsizes. But both advantages and downsides are elements for a young person to grow… and as it is shown in the film, to become a better person.” This coming THIMUN conference can only exist with the cooperation of fellow MUN participants. This film’s message of eradicating xenophobia and foreign seclusion is essential for success, reached by a unified approach to tackle issues and foster international cooperation. But the message of acceptance doesn’t stop there--it extends to apply to everyday situations. For true collaboration and progress to take wing, one should always greet others with an open mind in their daily lives. “Rabat” is a bittersweet movie about a road trip. It takes the audience on a journey that delves into the lives of three childhood friends and the rise and fall of their relationships. It shows us not only the dangers of xenophobia, but also the bonds and maturity that are necessary to pull through. The charisma and humanity of the film will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly evaluate your own life in a way that will make you consider and approach situations differently, as well as treasure the relationships that matter in your life. Every now and then a film is released not to force its way to a high grossing figure, but to remind us that love and respect will always triumph in the end.
But before Tuesday...
A word about Monday’s Keynote Speaker The title of this year’s THIMUN 2013 Zurich International School conference is “Energy and Sustainability.” Lucky for us, Mr. Philippe Benoit, who has over twenty five years of experience in energy matters in both the public and private sectors, has been selected as this year’s Keynote speaker. Despite Mr. Benoit’s French name, he is American. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. By Gabrielle Ciemny
He then went on to earn a Juris Doctor (JD) from Harvard Law School and a DESS (similar to a master’s degree) in Law from the University of Paris. Mr. Benoit is currently working in Paris, France at the International Energy Agency (IEA) as Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division. The division he heads at the IEA analyzes carbon capture, climate change, and storage and energy efficiency policies. Prior to working at the IEA, Mr. Benoit worked at the World Bank as the Sector Manager for the Energy Division in the Latin America and Carib-
bean Region. Mr. Benoit also worked at SG Investment Bank as Director of the oil and gas division. In addition, he has worked on Wall Street focusing on the financing of large scale energy projects. He has held various leadership positions focusing on energy matters throughout Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Benoit is also an accomplished author and has written a book about energy sector financing, titled: Project Finance at the World Bank. *The next issue will hopefully feature an interview with Mr. Benoit
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
opinions By suh young choi
Mont’Kiara Int. School
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013 9
THE QUESTION OF
Not a day has gone by this year without hearing about the atrocities occurring in Syria. The conflict that began in the country in March 2011 has expanded to agitate not only the civilians of the nation, but the international community as well. Although the Arab Spring in 2011 triggered a general atmosphere of uprising and revolt, the question of Syria roots back to much deeper causes, and still remains unanswered. The revolts from the Syrian people first began in March after a group of teenagers were imprisoned and tortured for expressing views of opposition toward Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Syrian masses were infuriated by such a violation of the freedom of speech, and reacted in the form of protests that began in the city of Deraa. By late July, the revolts had spread to all corners of the country, especially after the formation of the leading rebel party, the Free Syrian Army. Although the revolution’s direct cause was the imprisonment of these teenagers on that fateful day of March, it was the maltreatment from President al-Assad and the Baath Party for over a decade that was the true instigator of this civil unrest. President Bashar al-Assad rose to assume his position in 2000 after the death of his father. Initially, he seemed eager to provide reform for the Syrian population, declaring that the nation’s people deserved their own “democratic experience,” despite remaining under the same political party’s views since the 1960’s. Once appointed, he stood by his word, providing leniency for the country’s media and freeing previously jailed political activists. This image of reformism, often referred to as the “Damascus Spring,” however, was short-lived. By the second year of his presidency, al-Assad had already reduced the freedoms that were once provided. Moreover, throughout the whole first term, he had failed to repair the economic system in Syria that worked in favor of the upper class as well. The resentment only intensified as President al-Assad was appointed again in 2007, which is internationally believed to be the result of a political sham. By this time, the president’s views had been highly influenced by Baath party loyalists and his own family members, who fervently supported previous meth-
ods of civil repression. Signs of reform had disappeared. Oppression permeated so much that the populace was left no choice but to fight back. Since March of last year, demands for President alAssad’s resignation have grown to become such a violent ordeal that the United Nation’s attempts to pacify the conflict have not been entirely successful. In April 2012, former Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a proposal for a ceasefire within the country in hopes of preventing further violence from the government’s forces against its people. Much to his dismay, both sides of the Syrian conflict defied this request. The infamous Houla killings in May, which raised the death toll to over 15,000, became unquestionable proof that the problem was still unresolved. On June 1st, President alAssad worsened the situation by vowing to exterminate all opposing forces, adding fuel to the already scorching conflict. This statement created a rift within the UN. Nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom officially condemned Syria’s government, while others like China and Russia decided not to do so. Such internal disagreement has prevented a concrete decision on a solution, and because of this failure to act unanimously, the UN’s influence on the Syrian conflict diminishes. Whilst analyzing this increasingly desperate situation, one cannot refrain from pondering who bears the greatest fault in causing Syria to remain in turmoil to this day, as there are many parties who have become involved in prolonging chaos. This matter is difficult to judge, as all have contributed both liabilities and constructive achievements. Was it the international community, failing to reach a consensus on the issue, or the Baath party and its faithful, long term members? Was it the various rebel groups dismissing the advice of other nations, or simply President al-Assad himself? Each group has erred, aided, and overall contributed to the Syrian conflict. Due to their own diplomatic relations
with Syria, China and Russia seem blind to the mass killings that the regime is causing, and have refused to impose sanctions on the nation. On the other hand, the U.S and U.K have resorted to this very method, which represents an incentive for the Syrian government to surrender, but also deteriorates the country’s economy, plunging thousands of Syrians into unemployment. The Baath party members have also shown incongruence in opinion. Many officials such as Deputy Oil Minister Abdo Hussameddin abdicated their positions in March of this year, showing signs of the party’s possible dispersion. Nonetheless, other bodies under the party, such as the National and Regional Command, have remained dedicated to the president, ruthlessly murdering to express their loyalty. The rebel groups and civilians within them play even more integral roles in this ongoing conflict. Their enduring hopes of a democratic nation have helped them remain leveled with the government’s forces, yet their destruction has had a self-harming effect, with an estimated 200,000 Syrians having fled the country since the beginning of the uprising. Despite the various claims being made, the cause of the Syrian civil war is ultimately boiled down to President al-Assad. He deceived his people not once, but multiple times; before being appointed: once in order to persuade the Syrian citizens during the first year of his presidency, another time to cover his true methods of liberalized authoritarianism, and finally during the early months of the revolt, to temporarily appease the protesters. It is plausible that al-Assad’s initial belief was to move towards a democratic Syria. If this is the case, however, he was too easily influenced by the Baath party loyalists who had more conventional perspectives. As the president, al-Assad had the responsibility to remain steadfast to his own views and the changes desired by the Syrian people. As the president, alAssad holds the responsibility of protecting the citizens of Syria and leading them, rather than working against them. Until he realizes that this is the essential quality he lacks, the Syrian president will continue to see bloodshed in the country he promised to properly govern when he accepted his presidency.
Of course it’s a democracy...if everyone agrees with me By alice tow
“What is the definition of a democracy?” When my teacher asked me this a few months ago, I replied, “When everyone has an equal say in the running of the country?” Well, that’s the most logical answer isn’t it? A democracy is when every citizen has an equal say in the decisions that affect them; when a citizen cannot be punished for arguing against a certain issue or policy. Looking back at that day, I can’t believe how naïve I was. We all know democracy goes back to Ancient Greece and has been developing ever since. However I believe John Ball, a priest at the time of the revolution in England, best described democracy saying,“From the beginning all men by nature were created alike. Therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come in which ye may recover liberty.” Surely most of us, certainly as a citizen of a democracy myself, agree that everyone is born equal. Therefore a ‘full’ democracy should be when we, the people, are free to express what we wish and be heard. In theory, this reflects many countries across the world, but how free are the people of those countries in reality? The Democracy Index, first started in 2006 and has been updated in 2008, 2010 and 2011, was produced by a private company, the Economist Intelligent Unit. It measures the state of 167 democracies around the world on a scale of zero to ten. It judges the democracies on the fairness of their elections, the security of voters, the influence of foreign powers on government,
and the capability of the civil servants to implement policies. There are many democracies that are considered extremely flawed in the Democracy Index 2011, such as Argentina, Brazil, The Dominican Republic, etc. However, I’d like to focus on the countries that are considered to be “Full Democracies” such as the UK, USA, and Australia. The UK is ranked 18 on the ‘Full Democracies’ list in the Democracy Index, and ever since the UK’s government was formed in 1707, it has insisted that it is a democratic state. The UK claims it encourages opposition when it comes to the scrutiny of its government. However, in December 2012, the UK’s claim to a “full democracy” got a cold, hard beating from reality. Over the past few years, controversy and outrage has been building up in the UK’s press industry. The dreadful scandal of ‘phone-hacking’ occurred. Journalists had been hacking into the phones of not only celebrities and politicians, but also those of missing persons. Hacking into the phones missing persons meant that the police were able to track whether there was any activity going on (also meaning the missing person could still be alive). The press has manipulated this ability in the past, most notoriously in the case of Milly Dowler, a missing 13-year-old girl. The family derived false hope from activity on her cell phone that was later found to be the actions of the press. The body of Milly Dowler, the missing girl, was later found six months later, dead (and had been dead for some time). How is this related to democracy you ask? In July 2011, Lord Justice Leveson was asked to investigate the role of the press and the
police in the phone-hacking scandal. On 14th December 2012, Lord Justice Leveson concluded his phone hacking inquiry by telling the government that restrictions should be enforced on the press to stop ‘any failure within the media’ therefore censoring the press. If a country limits free speech, can it really be a “Full Democracy”? The democracy of the US is ranked 19 on the ‘full democracies’ list, just after the UK. In spite of its excellent opening – ‘We, the people’ – the US constitution establishes a political system that severely excludes (even today) large sectors of the population. The problem with its democracy is REPRESENTATION. The US congress represents half of the population through just 18 senators, a ratio of around 155 million people to 18 senators. The other half of the population (primarily the conservative states) are represented by 82 senates, implying that the population has severely uneven representation. Professor Robert Dahl, the Sterling Professor of political science at Yale University, stated, “This makes the US one of the most under-representative legislative bodies in the world.” In other words, this means the US congress makes legislation without having a fair representation of the whole country. Taking this into account, does the US still seem very democratic to you? Australia is closer to the top of the ‘Full Democracies’ list, ranked number 6. It is a Liberal Democracy; Liberal Democracies operate politically under the principles of liberalism. Liberalism is known for its beliefs in equality and liberty. However, Liberal Democracies actually reject unlimited freedom. An example of this is Australia’s voting
system. Not the system exactly but the law on compulsory voting (Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924). Every citizen is required to go to a poll booth and vote. Even if they don’t want to vote for anyone, they are still forced to attend a polling booth. If they do not, they are fined $20. Forcing someone to vote is perhaps just as undemocratic as not allowing someone to vote. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea- it sounds like a fairytale! This is because North Korea claims to be a multiparty state, guaranteeing people’s human rights, when the truth is that North Korea is a single-party state under a totalitarian family dictatorship (also described as an absolute monarchy). They also have very strict restrictions on freedom of speech. According to the US Department of State on Human Rights, the state regularly detains thousands of political objectors without fair trials and punishes the family of the ‘criminal’. Since everything that North Korea does, goes against everything a democracy should stand for, North Korea should not be considered a democracy. Of course North Korea is not part of the ‘Full Democracies’ category in the Democracy Index. However, there is some truth to North Korea’s claimed equality-- everyone is equal in his or her ability to speak his or her mind. Therefore it makes the nation quite democratic. However, North Korea is clearly not democratic because they take away citizen’s free speech, but nor is the US, UK and Australia due to some imperfections that show that they are not quite as democratic as they might seem. Therefore I conclude with my final question- does democracy really exist?
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
10 MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013
Amsterdam treads lightly
level. The average Dutch person produces about 15.7 tons of CO2 per year. However, in total the The UN will confront these problems Netherlands emitted a mere 263.44 million in the Rio+20 Conference from metric tons during 2010. Although these the 20th to the 22nd of June results could be lower, the Netherlands is 2013, during which they doing quite well in keeping their emission will focus on Sustainlevel low. With solid evidence proving the able Development. dangers of excessive atmospheric CO2, This topic will action by the international community is also be tackcrucial in order to prevent an increase in led during ecological and carbon footprints. This is THIMUN why assemblies such as THIMUN and the 2013; the Rio+20 summit are of utmost urgency. 2nd ComAmsterdam is a city very committed to mittee of cleanliness and is very conscious of their the General ecological footprint. With a score of 83.03 Assembly out of 100, Amsterdam is ranked 5th overall will discuss in the European Green City Index. The city financing ranks highest out of all European cities in research into the water, waste, transport, and land use technolocategories. This makes it an ideal example gies to reduce for other nations to follow. Despite this, Amthe carbon sterdam still has room for improvement. For footprint of example, the city performs relatively poorly household activiin air quality, ranking 11th, and in CO2 ties. As a THIMUN emissions, where it ranks 12th out of 30 citparticipant, a visitor ies. The city’s main weak spot is the amount to Amsterdam, and a of CO2 emissions per person: 15.7 tons as member of our global comof 2010. This high statistic is mainly due to munity, it is of great relevance VICKY LIU transportation and traffic, although indusand interest to see how Amsterdam is try and building heating also contribute. By Tiffany mauth reducing their carbon footprint, and from a Amsterdam suffers particularly from traffic American School of Paris greater perspective: how the world is coping congestions and its proximity to heavy with the situation. industry; the main pollutants that lower air The matters at hand are questions Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy quality are fine dust and nitrogen oxides. whose answers are vital for the safe and once said, “Let us not seek the Republican In an attempt to decrease their carbon prosperous continuation of human life on answer or the Democratic answer, but the footprint, the city is highly committed to right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame earth. Our ecological and carbon footprint reducing traffic jams by encouraging public is a prominent topic of debate in today’s for the past. Let us accept our own respontransport. They plan on extending parks and sibility for the future.” It is through our pre- world. An ecological footprint is a meariding facilities, thus encouraging electric sure of the human demand for the Earth’s decessors that we learn from our mistakes, vehicles and bicycles. Additionally, to lower resources. It has recently been revealed often understanding our faults and miscalthe emissions from industry and building that our ecological footprint surpasses the culations when we are already in the midst heating, Amsterdam is set on using renewearth’s ability and capacity to regenerate of the messy result. However, as Kennedy able energy from the city waste incinerathe used substances. By using up more says so well, we must not quarrel and clash tors. The city already has one of the most in searching our past to find who or what to resources than can be re-created, nations energy efficient district heating networks in blame. Rather, we must face the facts and do increase their ecological footprint on the Europe—most of the heat is produced by the environment. what we can to ensure a better future. Waste and Energy Company, by converting As of 2010 the Netherlands is ranked This is much the case with the environbiomass and biogas from waste and sewage 25th in the world for their CO2 production mental issues our world currently faces.
Tip 3: Unplug all extraneous chargers and appliances when not in use. This tip goes
How to be more by katelin quanbeck
Brussels American School
Tip 1: Reuse your drinking receptacles. It’s hot, thirsty work pushing resolutions through the commissions, and no doubt delegates want to refresh themselves with a lovely bottle of water. But why not be eco-friendly while doing so? Buying a cheap disposable plastic bottle is easy, maybe, but is it worth the cost? It takes about 700 years for a regular, run-of-the-mill plastic water bottle to start decomposing, and if the petroleum used to make the number of bottles used each year was used to power cars instead, people could run about 500,000 cars for a year. Cars may be going down the path towards eco-friendly fuels, but just think-if people didn’t buy disposable bottles, they’d be giving us just that much more time to find the right source for their vehicles. And we won’t even get started on the evils of Styrofoam coffee cups. It can take around 100 years in order for a Styrofoam cup to biodegrade, and Americans alone throw away nearly 25 billion cups annually. But wait! We’re not saying people shouldn’t buy water bottles, or that they should never buy coffee to go. But instead of buying disposable bottles, they should try buying some that are reusable. They’re inexpensive, better-looking, and they probably hold more water than an average 8 fl. oz. bottle.
As for coffee mugs, many stores here in the Hague will give a slight discount for those who bring their own ceramic coffee mugs, which are easy enough to bring from home and are much more environmentally friendly.
Tip 2: Turn comers off completely night. People everywhere
Simple green tips are all over the internet; type in the word “green” and a hundred sites with various suggestions will appear. But here at THIMUN, a lot of the tips aren’t particularly…useful. It’s highly doubtful anyone here will be buying hybrid cars anytime soon, or looking into using cloth diapers as opposed to disposable ones. So what are some tips we can use?
into heat and electricity. Nonetheless, although Amsterdam ranks fifth in the energy category, the Netherland’s primary energy sources remain natural gas, coal, and oil— non-renewable resources. While Amsterdam does have a significant installed wind capacity, there is room for potential improvement in the consumption of renewable energy. Recently, Smart City Amsterdam—a collaborative project between the city, it’s inhabitants, and businesses—was launched with the intention of reducing energy consumption and lowering CO2 emissions. This includes the installation of smart energy monitors, shore power units to allow cargo vessels and river cruisers to connect to the electricity grid when in port rather than using on-board diesel generators, and finally, the establishment of a “climate street” including smart meters, an energy feedback display, energy scans, and smart plugs. All of these render a community more efficient and are implemented to encourage lower energy use, for a Smart City and a better future. All in all, Amsterdam is an exemplary city in terms of environmental and ecological concerns. Moreover, because the city has a reasonably small population, it can address these concerns with a tighter focus. Most importantly, after seeing tremendous results and progress, Amsterdam still strives to leave a lighter footprint on the environment. So whether you are an MUN member or a world leader, remember that even the smallest of things can have a huge impact on the environment. Next time you’re not using your computer, unplug the charger! It is with minute examples such as this one that everyone can participate in the act of reducing our ecological footprints and preserving our precious Earth! And what better way to do so than an international gathering amongst members of the future generation? The THIMUN ‘13 conference is a great and effective way to begin brainstorming for the solutions our world desperately needs. Good luck!
depend on laptops, especially here at THIMUN, and nobody likes to have to shut down their computer completely; it’s true. But apart from the health of a laptop, there still remains the concern of excess power drain. Take Macbooks, for example. A recent test showed that a charging Macbook, plugged in but simply closed, emits approximately 473 lbs. of CO2 emissions per year-and that’s less than when it’s on and running, which produces roughly 650 lbs. CO2 emissions are contributing to global warming, which is a heavy burden for the environment to adapt to, especially with all the forests being exploited for industry. Yes, it is a pain to have to reboot one’s computer, but aren’t those few minutes worth it?
hand in hand with the second tip, in regards to saving energy from the “phantom drain.” Phantom drain is the nasty trickle of energy that is wasted whenever unused chargers are left plugged in. Then again, exactly how much energy gets sucked up by the phantom? While this amount of drainage isn’t massive, it’s important to remember that it all adds up eventually…and that it really doesn’t take all that much effort to pull a charger out of its socket when done with it. An idea when one returns home might be to plug various chargers into a power strip, and turn the strip off when finished charging one’s electronic devices.
Tip 4: Try out a stainless steel soap bar.
It probably sounds like something out of a crazy, “Back to the Future” kind of movie. Stainless steel soap? Actually, these bars have little to do with actual soap, but they are incredibly useful for removing nasty odors from your hands. Scientists don’t really know what causes the steel to remove odors, although they hypothesize that it has something to do with the ions in the odors bonding with the odors in the steel. Why would using stainless steel soap be any better than using a regular, store-bought soap bar? Aside from the odor-removing part, regular soaps are full of harmful chemicals and lab-produced fragrances that contaminate our oceans every time we wash them down the drain. Antibacterial soap has its own evils, as well. Not only does it kill off certain kinds of helpful bacteria, remain on our hands (thus helping nasty bacteria grow more resistant), and poison our aquatic systems in millions of trace amounts a day, most brands contain MIT, or methylisothiazolinone. This anti-bacterial ingredient is a proven nerve agent, and is actually related to Agent Orange, a nerve toxin used in the Vietnam War. This doesn’t seem helpful, though...
Green, Page 11
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
Product Sustainability her new “green” line to solve two problems at once: waste in the clothing industry and cigarette waste. One may logically question how these two issues could be in any way related. Guerrero discovered that when cigarette butts are thoroughly sanitized in a machine called an autoclave, rinsed in a solvent, and are shredded into tiny fibers, they can be made into a durable and stylish fabric for all types of clothing. Although the idea behind this clothing line might
practical commodity for some, for much of the agriJohn Burroughs School cultural world, farm equipment plays a key role peoEvery year, thousands of ple’s lives and businesses. new ‘green’ products flood The importance of farming malls and grocery stores in Africa cannot be underworldwide. We’ve all seen stated, and its sustainability the specially labeled goods will be essential for Africa’s and heard the up-beat future success and developslogans that promise we’re ment. Sulaiman Famro, a doing the “right” thing by 65-year-old farmer and engibuying a more sustainable neer from Nigeria, has develproduct. While it is true that oped a machine he believes many of these goods are, in can save his country money, fact, more environmentallytime, and valuable resources. friendly alternatives to their According to AfriGadget, his traditional counterparts, it Farmking, a “4-in-1 farming device,” is capable of chipping, milling, grating, and filtering 2.5 tons of milled cassava into starch. In addition to saving fuel (one fuel source for what would normally require four), his machine also saves incredible amounts of time and is hard to call labor. It has the ability to them revoluprocess remotely, meaning tionary. The it can work all night without term product human supervision. Not only sustainability that, it saves Nigerian farmis a measure of ers the enormous waste of how envicurrent machines. Instead ronmentally of falling to the ground and friendly an item needing to be picked up by is. These days, farm workers, his machine the word green not only catches the cassava sells product, but fully processes it within but doesn’t minutes. Hopefully, Famro necessarily VICKY LIU will be able to convince the guarantee innovacome across as slightNigerian government to tion or truly eco-friendly ly bizarre, the environmental implement the Farmking on design. The most exciting benefits of the clothing are a much larger scale. and influential sustainable enormous. According to the Finally, we must conproducts are imaginative, U.S. National Center for sider how all of futuristic, and modern. That said, they must also be Biotechnology Information, these exciting, easy to access and come at a polyester is the most widely sustainable products are justifiable cost to truly make used manufactured fiber in the world. Unfortunately, going to get a difference. Today, a steady polyester is made from pestream of interesting green inventions are coming onto troleum, a finite and rapidly depleting resource. In the scene that have not yet addition, cigarette butts been perfected enough for are one of the most comeveryday use for the massmon forms of litter seen es. The inventors of these in urban areas, and can products have questioned norms, taken financial risks, take up to ten years to and have taken a look at the fully decompose. Luckitems people use most from ily for the consumer, Guerrero’s clothes a completely different persolve both problems, spective. Of course, there is noth- and in addition, are stylish, relatively affording that people everywhere able, and unrecognizable as use or need more than a bunch of stitched-together clothes. Chilean fashion cigarettes. designer Alexandra GuerWhile clothing is a more rero saw an opportunity with JACK BLETHROAD
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PAGE eleven Green, cont’d from Page 10
where we really want them...Yes, of course we don’t want to -from the facpoison ourselves, but even with a stainless tory to our front steel soap bar it isn’t as though we can go doors! Luckily, without using soap. So what can delegates do to help keep these chemicals off our GreenWrap, a skin and out of our oceans? There are protective wrap many common brands of vegetable soaps for products bein supermarkets today, which contain far ing shipped, is less chemical mix-ups than regular brands. working to take Castile soap is an option, as well. This soap the waste out contains no animal products and is usually made out of plant oils, which ends up beof transporting ing all-around better for the environment goods. Geami, and your skin. the U.S. based company that Tip 5: Recycle your papers. Here manufactures at THIMUN, delegates most likely start GreenWrap, is on out with anywhere between 30-40 pages a mission to take of printed paper for resolutions and policy statements, then print more and more the waste out of throughout the week. The timeworn transportation. A cliché “save the trees” may get old after a recyclable alterwhile, but the point still remains: it takes native to bubble approximately 24 trees to make a ton wrap, GreenWrap of paper, and the U.S. alone uses about provides even 90 million tons of paper a year. That’s more protective nearly 2,160,000,000 trees! But paper can survive between four and seven trips cushioning for through a recycling plant before it beroughly the same comes no longer reusable…which means price. Not only is that the deforestation for industry can be it recyclable, but slowed. Recycling lessens the amount of it is made from trash going into landfills, saves money in responsibly manthe long run, and is all around good for the environment. And yes, you know what aged forests that that means: if you don’t intend to keep this are geographilovely issue of MUNITY, recycle it! cally close to the factory, meaning less fuel is used ity of products consumed in transportation. and used on a daily basis With more and more purchases being made online ev- worldwide are not designed ery year, it is necessary that with sustainability in mind, a green way to protect items the tide is turning due to the work of inspired designers. being shipped is available. With GreenWrap now on the While it is true that it will market, it will be up to retail- take time for these cuttingedge products to become ers to utilize it (or similar mainstream and reach their products) in the future for delivering online purchases. full potential, it is exciting to Although the vast major- see their development and implementation happening now.
INTERNATIONAL THIMUN TRIBUNE
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PAGE TWELVE fun page! ACROSS
THIMUN Crossword Puzzle
6. A delegate representing
Test your knowledge of some essential conference vocab!
either an organisation or a country that is not a fully recognized UN country 9. Delegates hold this up to be recognized by the chair to speak or to make a point of information. 15. A change (addition, removal or adjustment) to a clause or a resolution. 17. Delegates who might not support the resolution, but want it to be debated. 18. When a delegate gives the floor to either another delegate or gives the floor back to the chair. 19. A question raised by the delegate pertaining to the resolution or to the committee. 20. Name of the press team at THIMUN.
1. Something called out by a
Solutions in the next issue!
THIMUN’S Lighter Side:
Because sometimes it IS all fun and games!
delegate who agrees with a motion. 2. The order in which resolutions, breaks and other events will occur in. It is the committee’s schedule. 3. When a delegate does not support or reject a resolution, they can choose to _________. 4. A group of member states who share similar views, or are of the same culture, political policy, language, trade group, geographical region, etc. 5. Someone who assumes the role of a representative of a nation or an organisation in a specific committee. 7. Documents written by delegates, which aim to solve a specific situation. 8. The minimum number of delegates required for debate to start. 10. When the debate session _______, it means that session time has ended. 11. A metaphorical area, which delegates can obtain to be able to speak on a resolution or clause. 12. The most experienced delegate who is in charge of their delegation. 13. If a delegate doesn’t agree, they call out "_________!" 14. For a resolution to be ________, it means that the resolution has the power to be forced into action in member states. 16. The group of people who form the chairing team. They consist of a Head Chair President and deputies.