Model UN at the 2016 Academic Festival
As the most powerful body of the United Nations, the Security Council is dedicated to maintaining peace and security on a global level. At this year’s Academic Festival, to help bridge the gap between theory and application, Daemen students participated in the History and Political Science Department’s annual Model United Nations simulation. This year’s resolution focused on the ongoing peace talks to end the 5 year old Syrian Civil War. The simulation was sponsored by Dr. Aakriti Tandon, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Daemen College. Students from PSC 121: International Relations class represented countries including China, France, Germany, Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Students from PSC 231: Global Governance class represented relevant non-state actors including NGOs, the Free Syrian Army as well as UN Under Secretary Generals (USGs) and debate moderators.
|Under Secretary Generals and Moderators: Nigel Haynes, Christine Kozlowski, Shane Clark, Christina Auguste, Jessica Maulucci and Brianna Zichetella (blog author)|
As Syria enters its fifth year of civil war, all sides in the conflict must consider the benefits of peace negotiations. This protracted conflict has destabilized the region and resulted in displacement and death for the people of Syria. With both sides accused of committing war crimes and the inability of humanitarian aid workers to reach those in need, it is in most parties’ best interests to end the violence and suffering in and around Syria. However, this is an extremely complicated matter, and any effective solution should involve the cooperation of all nations in an effort to promote global peace and stability. Problems of this magnitude are generally addressed at the highest level of diplomacy: the United Nations Security Council.
|Delegates from the U.K. and France: Jonathan Miranda, Michael Reilly, Casey Young, Amanda Best, and Andriy Lukomsky|
|Delegates from Iraq: Kelsey Gibson, Isabella Orgento-Romero, and Luis Ortiz|
|Moderators: Christina Auguste, Jessica Maulucci and Brianna Zichettella|
|Delegates from Germany, and Turkey: Kyle Munro, Natalie Ennis, Idania Ramirez, Jasmine Favors|
During the simulation, students debated several topics including humanitarian relief, the continuing presidency of Bashar Al-Assad, housing refugees, the state’s visions for peace in the event the conflict is resolved, and potential consequences for both sides’ human rights violations. A particularly contentious question asked representatives how they felt about bringing the Kurds to the discussion table: The Islamic State is a threat to all sides in this conflict. Thus far, only the Kurds have had any success in stopping the terrorist group’s progress. Would you consider including the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in this discussion in exchange for help against this threat?
Responses to this question were extremely varied. One of the potential demands that the Kurds may make in exchange for their help is the official transfer to Kurdish ownership of the land they currently occupy. The area with prominent Kurdish presence – known as Kurdistan – covers areas of Iraq Iran, Turkey, and Syria. In the debate, countries like Turkey that would lose territory were strongly opposed to this option. However, countries farther removed for the area, such as the United States, seemed to believe it would be a fair trade-off for help.
|Delegates from Oxfam (NGO): Ramel Haines, Torrence Dyck, Fati Haruna|
|The Syrian Delegation: Hannah Gerber, Jenil Bell, and Carlos McKnight|
|Delegates from Saudia Arabia: Jossette Allwood and Ebony Fripp|
|Free Syrian Army: Breanna Coolidge and Gabriela Andrade|
|The Russian Delegation: Imani Evans, Paige Casey and Natalie Chiodo|
|United States: Mathew Molnar, Zahra Nayyeri and Rachel Lewandowski|
|Representing China: Annabel Pietrocarlo and Shaquille Corrica|