Politics and Policy- Summit Manipal’17
For its tenth edition, Leaders of Tomorrow’s flagship event, Summit Manipal saw delegates simulating five different committees of the United Nations. Rife with debate, directives, and nuclear war heads the three days of the conference witnessed faux political discourse at its best.
By Shreeya Konnur
The Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee, is the third committee of the United Nations General Assembly. In Summit Manipal’s simulation of the committee, it was one of the larger ones. Created to be ‘beginner- friendly’ it also had an influx of relatively inexperienced delegates. The first day of the conference mainly focused on explaining the Rules of Procedure to the delegates so as to make them aware of the exact proceedings of the committee. The main agenda of the committee was anti-immigration sentiments, and fortifying of an immigrant doctrine. Over the course of the three days delegates discussed various issues pertaining to the refugee crisis particular in the European Union as well as the impact of many political decisions on the refugees.
The Chair and Vice Chair of the committee were very experienced and helped the delegates at every step of the conference. Slow at first, the pace and quality of debate picked up subsequently. What the delegates lacked in experience they made up for in enthusiasm. At the end of the three days, five working papers, and one resolution were submitted to the Executive Board. Unfortunately the committee failed at its objective as the resolution that was submitted did not pass, and due to time constraints a new one was not drafted.
All in all, it was an exemplary learning experience for all the delegates and events like Summit Manipal provide eager students with the platform to learn about the proceedings of the United Nations.
Futuristic Security Council
By Nida Khan
The Futuristic Security Council was held over a span of three days from the 31rst of March, 2017 to the 2nd of April, 2017. Dealing with emergency sessions, the delegates had to think outside the box and come up with resolutions to issues taking place in the future. The committee was voted to be a crisis committee over a general assembly by a clear majority. The crisis committee tested the delegates’ critical thinking and impromptu debating skills. The clamor of notes, constant updates, the scramble to write something intelligible before the scenario completely changed rendering the solution vain, kept the delegates on their feet, as they tried to come up with feasible solutions.
On the first day of the committee, various political and military developments around the World were narrated by the chairperson. These issues were extensive, ranging from the Travel ban to America for citizens of countries like Iran, Iraq and Palestine coming into effect, Russia shooting down an American sniper, Iran developing weapons, Latin America forming a trade Union, Kim Jong Un being sent to prison with an ensuing threat of releasing China’s secrets, test firing from North Korea to South Korea and Brexit coming into being. In the midst of Global Conflicts, various alliance systems were being formed. In a pre-war like status, the delegates had to debate on issues like the question of the power of the P5 nations in the United Nations, reforms like the Brexit, and even changes in the United Nations Charter which is considered to be the elementary framework, governing the function of the organization.
On the second day, the delegates made statements pertaining to the developments around the World. The debate took place from the perspective of their respective countries, a few years into the future. Political scenarios being ambiguous, there was no set outcome and solutions had to be based on safe and diplomatic recommendations. Questions like their nation’s policy towards the war, how the Futuristic Security Council could be more effective in stopping the war before more lives were taken, how the war could be resolved in a peaceful manner, guided the delegates as they tried to quell the fighting, constantly under military, political, trade and economic restrictions.
The zenith of the second day was a political conundrum boiling into an interesting conflict as Israel and Iran played the blame game. Israel stated that Iran blamed Israel for the attack in Tehran, in retaliation to the attack on Jerusalem. Israel pointed out how this demonstrated that Iran was behind the attack in Jerusalem. Soon after, intriguing updates came as blots from the blue taking Russia under the spotlight for testing fusion reactors that lead to an earthquake.
On the third day, one of the issues that the delegates debated on was the existence of veto power for some countries in the United Nations. Israel focused on how it was more important to have checks and balances instead of the complete removal of veto power, USA stressed on how important equal representation of all countries around the World was, Russia spoke about the urgency of concentrating more on long term reforms and the rudimentary working method. Iran suggested that the limit of using veto power should be increased to two P5 nations, instead of one. China wrapped up the discussion by stating, “Removing veto power may seem like a good alternative to a lot of countries. However, conflict is extant in numerous places around the world. Conflicted countries might be biased or may not be in the right position to make decisions for International Peace.”
Amidst heavy discussions, moderated and unmoderated caucuses, the delegates were able to come up with substantial reforms. They stated how conflicted countries should be granted a separate category and voting power should pertain to the agenda relating to the conflict, equal representation of countries should take place, the UNGA should be more transparent and a treaty should be placed to regulate nuclear research and development.
Even though the issues were with regard to an indistinct future, the passionate outcries and considerate recommendations made by the delegates made it seem like present day scenario. Arriving at a definite conclusion in the end, FSC proved to be an effective simulation.
By Tejas Umesh
ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council),one of the six main organs of the United Nations, deals with social, economic, health, and cultural matters. The committee covers human rights and fundamental freedoms as well. The executive board (EB) was chaired by Saisri Akondi, with Hriday Chhabria being the Vice-chair and Shikhar Singh the director. The first day started off slow with the board elucidating the ROP’s (Rules of Procedure). The board also informed the delegates that this committee would not be passing any resolution. A unanimous report was to be made at the end of the summit. Observing that a sizable percentage of the delegates were first-timers, the EB was understandably lenient and even encouraged them to make mistakes. After all, committing errors was an essential part of the learning process.
The second day was more intense with fruitful debates and active participation. ‘Migration Integration’ and ‘Terror Financing’ were just some of the more stimulating agendas put forward by the delegates. Towards the end, the slight monotony that had set in was broken by a sudden update from a representative of Trump Industries who informed the delegates about the substantial pollution caused by the corporation.
The third day was sluggish at first but quickly shifted gears with nine different updates being given throughout the session. A particularly hilarious update was about Vladimir Putin getting a hair transplant due to his fondness for Donald Trump’s hair. Being a relatively smaller committee, almost all the delegates were present. As the day progressed, one could see that the monotony had sunk in once again and it looked like the dreariness would stay for the entirety of the day but thankfully, the Vice-Chair injected much needed humour when he gave them an update by acting as Justin Trudeau’s wife. The final leg of the committee had the Press Conference and the submission of the report. The former was wildly entertaining with delegates of France, Pakistan, and USA facing the heat on decisions taken by their respective governments. Unfortunately for the representative of USA, the Press grabbed the opportunity to grill the representative on almost every pronouncement taken by them and it was no surprise that the delegate refused to comment on most of the questions put forward.
At the end, a unanimous report was submitted by the delegates and after receiving a positive feedback from them, it was safe to say that the committee was a successful one.
By Sriya Koduru
With nearly thirty delegates, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was one of the largest committees at Summit Manipal. The executive board, with Dhruv Suri as the Chairperson, Aditya Muralishankar as the Vice Chairperson and Aditya Jain as the Rapporteur, was efficient, helpful and knowledgeable. The agenda for the UNHCR was the Syrian Refugee Crisis, with special emphasis on Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The first committee session was brief and rules of procedure were discussed in detail. With the agenda in mind, day one saw active participation from almost every delegate, as they stated their country’s stance on this pertinent global issue.
The committee found itself struggling to find direction on the second day of the MUN. While certain countries strayed from their foreign policy, topics such as xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the definition of the word ‘refugee’ were discussed in excruciating detail. The ‘Flaws and Faults of the 1951 Refugee Convention’ was introduced as a moderated caucus, and this helped steer the committee back on track. Delegates cited articles from the convention, and then proceeded to explain the fallacies behind them.
Delegates, on the final day of Summit Manipal, came well-researched and prepared with facts and logical assumptions to base their solutions to the agenda at hand. However, midway through the first session of the day, the Office of the UNHCR was under crisis. It was reported that over 10,000 innocent people had been taken as hostages by ISIS. Among those taken hostage were noteworthy UN officials as well as several women. Delegates were expected to find a way to meet ISIS’s demands, or one woman would be killed by their members every hour which turned into ten minutes in the accelerated time line. With this impossible task at hand, the committee found itself in need of dire help. They were allowed to negotiate with representatives from ISIS itself, and bargain with their heavy demands. The organizers did a splendid job of executing the crisis, with quips and jolts of wit here and there to keep the session lively. Although the committee eventually failed to resolve the crisis, this did not stop them from having a fruitful session after lunch.
With a highly qualified executive board, and an efficient organizing committee, the Office of the UNHCR was undoubtedly one of the best committees at Summit Manipal this year.
Joint Crisis Committee
By Afridi Majeed
Hostility was rife in the corridors of NLH as participants in the JCC congregated at the headquarters of their respective intelligence agencies – The KGB and CIA. The agenda was to recreate the 13-day debacle that nearly brought the United States and Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war. This particular confrontation between the two global superpowers was due to American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba.
What set the Joint Crisis Committee apart from any other Summit Manipal had to offer, was its complete renouncement of the bona fide rules of a Model U.N. The need for a peaceful resolution to diplomatic conflicts is not set in stone here. This is a place where no one would so much as blink an eye at the mention of nuclear warheads.
Chairs of KGB and CIA respectively, Dhruv Verma and Abhishek Sarin, knew all too well that this unorthodox mode of operation would take some getting used to. It is precisely why they had the onus of ensuring that delegates learned the rules of the rope in the first two days. Towards the end of the second day, they began to act on plans of escalating the tension levels by lobbying for more aggressive directive-writing.
A directive is an order proposed by a member of the Intelligence Agency, requesting the government to take the action proposed in it. These usually involve deployment of submarines, fighter jets or artillery from a chosen base to a specified target. These, if passed by the Chair, would be sent to the opposing committee who would then be obligated to respond in kind. It is this sort of ad hoc thinking that is expected of one, if they wish to succeed here.
The culmination of the final day’s happenings transpired in a victory for KGB. They emerged triumphant in not only bombing Miami, but also conspiring to take over the United States as a whole. This was a far cry from the aftermath that took place in reality; where the Soviet Union was made to dismantle their weapons in Cuba and the United States signed an agreement never to invade Cuba unprovoked ever again.