Between March 13th and 15th, nearly 1,000 high school and university delegates from all around the world attended the Change the World Model United Naitons (CWMUN) Conference held at NYC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel and the United Nations. Organized by the Associazione Diplomatici, CWMUN is a Model UN project held in two countries (Italy and the United States), and is one of the few academic simulations run in New York by a non-American Association.
Featuring committees such as the UNDP, ECOSOC, GA, and Security Council with topics ranging from sustainability of energy to access to clean water, CWMUN brought together over 600 delegates from Italy as well as 360 “international delegates” from the United States, Spain, Brazil, Venezuela, and Mexico. The Opening Ceremonies also hosted a number of impressive speakers including: Cesare Maria Ragaglini, the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Scott Harrison, the Founder and CEO of charity: water, Philippe Kridelka, the Director of UNESCO in New York, Salvatore Carrubba, the President of Change the World Model UN International Board, and Francesco Paolo Tronca, the Chief of the Italian Fire Department, Public Safety and Civil Protection, who spent the week in meetings with his American counterparts at the FDNY. Best Delegate was also not alone while covering the event and was joined by a large Italian media presence in the form of journalists and camera crews from Oggi, the National Broadcasting Agency of Italy, and La Repubblica, Italy’s largest newspaper.
CWMUN was also elevated Model UN to a very unique level. “International Students” or those students not from Italy, were required to prepare a position paper on their topic while Italian students were required to write a “handbook” on the country that they represented. Another unique feature of CWMUN was the Delegate’s Award; at the end of the conference members of each committee voted for the delegate who they believe did the best job. Lastly, in an unexpected announcement, the winners of the Best Delegate awards were invited by the Prefect of the Italian Fire Department to spend some days at the Institute for Firemen in Rome.
The Flagship committee at CWMUN was the High School Security Council. The committee topic began as the security implications of climate change, however, after an hour, the atmosphere became tense as the topic pivoted to the nuclear crisis between North and South Korea. Although none of the delegates were prepared for the subject, they quickly adapted with the help of 50+ pages of in-depth crisis dossiers about the crisis provided by the conference staff.
The members of the High School Security Council were quite realistic in their initial response to the crisis. Among the 5 permanent members, China and Russia broke off and created their own draft resolution, while the United States, United Kingdom, and France broke off and built a different block.
Vitriolic rhetoric flew as Russia accused the United States of being power hungry, stating, “It took the entire morning session to convince them that diplomacy was the best way”. The Representative of China was also quoted at saying, “We are trying to solve this problem together…but it is difficult because I, as China, have an opinion and I will not change my mind”.
Sitting in on an advisors meeting, I became quite aware of how dedicated the Conference Staff and Associazione Diplomatici were to communicating with advisors each day. Their constant meetings and presentation of plans for next year will ensure that this conference continues in the future.
The conference itself ended on an optimistic note as each committee adjourned until 2014 and the Secretary General announced “Connect with us, stay with us, because when you are together, you can change the world.”