This recap article and the accompanying photos were contributed by Sasha Sleiman, Secretary-General of Northwest Model United Nations – Seattle 2014.
The 2014 iteration of the Northwest Model United Nations conference (NWMUN-Seattle) brought together over 450 students from 25 schools to Seattle, Washington over the weekend of November 21st – 23rd. Students hailing from all over the United States and Canada participated in discussions on a wide range of issues, such as “Promotion of New and Renewable Sources of Energy” in the General Assembly, “Achieving MDG 5: Improving Maternal Health” in the World Health Assembly, and “Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” in the Human Rights Council. Over the course of seven committee sessions, the delegates of NWMUN-Seattle adopted several resolutions, including one addressing a coup in Greece that threatened regional and international peace and security.
At Opening Ceremonies, former Canadian diplomat and founder of Building Markets Scott Gilmore, addressed the delegates. Mr. Gilmore spoke with the students about his experience overseas in his capacity as a diplomat and his transition into the private sector. His keynote address centered around helping the audience understand how he got to where he is and what factors of life in public service led him to build a career in the private sector.
During the annual Opportunity Fair, students also had the chance to meet with representatives from 10 graduate schools from across the United States and Canada.
Unique to this year’s NWMUN-Seattle was the simulation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where delegates worked to draft a binding agreement on information technology and the digital divide. This simulation challenged delegates who have participated in Model UN conferences before by changing the format of debate and the resulting documents. At the end of the weekend, the Convention on the WSIS +10 was adopted, opened for signature, and signed by 44 member states.
In keeping with NMUN-Seattle tradition, delegates were also offered the unique and challenging opportunity to participate in a “Reformed” Security Council. Each year, NWMUN-Seattle changes the “rules of the game” by simulating a Reformed Security Council to see what would happen if different countries sat on the Security Council. This year in the Reformed Security Council there were 25 countries representing slightly different regional groups to alter the balance of power that exists today, and none of the countries had veto power. Both the Security Council and the Reformed Security Council committees discussed the topic of “Women, Peace and Security,” and were tasked with handling a crisis in Greece that unfolded throughout the weekend.
As in the past, this year’s conference focused on creating a realistic simulation of the United Nations. As each committee summarized their work during Closing Ceremonies, it was clear that the delegates had succeeded. Most of the 20 resolutions, two presidential statements, and six treaty segments adopted were adopted by consensus, and the delegates worked together to create strong documents that still had sufficient support to pass when consensus proved impossible to achieve. This mentality was reflected in the choice of the delegates who were recognized with awards for their conduct in committee and their position papers written prior to the conference. Closing Ceremonies also included the recognition of the conference’s strongest teams. NWMUN-Seattle 2014’s three Distinguished Delegations were Northern Arizona University, California State University at Chico, and the University of Texas at Dallas. The conference’s Outstanding Delegation was California State University at San Bernadino.
All of us at NWMUN-Seattle are grateful to our delegates, head delegates, and faculty, who made the conference such a success this year. We look forward to meeting all of the delegates at our sister conference, NWMUN-Portland, which will be held from February 13-15, 2015 in Portland, Oregon (http://portland.nwmun.org). We also have started planning for NWMUN-Seattle 2015, which will take place from November 20-22. Information on next year’s conference is being posted at http://seattle.nwmun.org. We look forward to welcoming you all back, and meeting new delegations as well, at NWMUN-Seattle 2015!