UCMUN Liveblog: Opening Ceremonies and First Committee Sessions

by Emily on November 11, 2011

Keynote speaker, Donald Lee, giving the opening address

The University of Connecticut’s 13th annual UCMUN conference commenced this year on November 10. The UCMUN conference is a learning conference that prides itself on providing both novice and experienced delegates a like, with a productive conference they will never forget. Being that it is a learning conference UCMUN stresses the importance of parliamentary procedure, delegate’s accuracy and debate. UCMUN provides delegates with a learning center, a place they can go, even during committee, to research their country or topic. They can also speak with topic experts who have extensively researched the issue. UCMUN topic experts also give a presentation during debate to help inform delegates and give them new ideas for debates.

The 13th annual UCMUN began with Secretary General, Garrett Block, welcoming students, advisors and thanking the staff members of UCMUN who have donated a great deal of time and energy to make the conference possible. The guest speaker for opening ceremony was Donald Lee. Mr. Lee is the Chief of the Social Perspective on Development Branch in the Division for Social Policy and Development (DESA).

Delegates posing in IAEA

Mr. Lee structured his opening address in reference to Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford Commencement speech. He told three stories. The first was centered around the founding of the United Nations. The U.N. emerged from the ashes of World War II with the aim to prevent another desaster such as that. The second story focused around the principles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the fact that the U.N. promotes these rights. The U.N. “brings together the world’s leaders in one place, enables them to discuss and address issues and challenges that no country acting on its own can conceive or hope to achieve.”  Mr. Lee’s final story was centered around the U.N.’s millennium goals. Although it seems unlikely that many nations will be able to make these goals, it is important that progress does not diminish even in this pessimistic light. Mr. Lee concluded by urging delegates to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Never be satisfied and never rest on your laurels. Always strive to do more.”

UCMUN has a wide range of committees from the IAEA and Security Council to the World Health Organization and Commission on Science and Technology for Development. The IAEA began committee yesterday by debating Nuclear Trafficing. Pakistan was quickly called out by other nations for having not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Pakistan delegate, Rachel Laffite, defended Pakistan’s choice to not sign by saying, “We the delegation of Pakistan believes that national sovereignty is of the upmost importance. We feel it is offensive  that the international community does not trust Pakistan to monitor its own activities.” The committee then began to debate various working papers with ideas ranging from annual nuclear reports produced by nations who are members of the NPT to the use of sanctions to countries that do not comply with international standards.

The delegates in the IAEA negotiate during an unmoderated caucus

Delegates in the WHO working on a resolution

The delegate from Ecuador speaking during an moderated conference


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