UN Day 2016 – a Year in Review

by Caroline Bello on October 24, 2016

“In the 21st century, I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion.” – Kofi Annan, seventh Secretary General of the United Nations


October 24th marks the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the body that we as Model United Nations delegates do our best to emulate. Since 1945, the UN has been a forum for nations to come together has an international community and solve the world’s most pressing issues. From children’s health care to negotiating civil war treaties, the UN been at the forefront of global peace and security for 71 years.


“For the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.” – Emma Watson, Goodwill Ambassador


AWARENESS- In March of 2016 UN Women held the Commision on the Status of Women, or CSW60. The conference focused on the main theme of empowerment within the scope of sustainable development.  Awareness for women’s issues, specifically ending gender based violence, has skyrocketed recently. Social media campaigns like HeForShe and Planet5050 (pictured above) have made discussing high level problems like sexual violence in war, domestic violence, and access to education, accessible to anyone with wifi.

In October, the UN named Wonder Woman, a comic book hero, an honorary UN Ambassador. Thanks to other celebrities like Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie, and Beyonce, feminism has begun to associated with positive change, empowerment, and most importantly, equality.

“Of course I was scared for my life and my sister’s life. I was also scared that I would make it, for example, and something would happen to my sister, or that something would happen to one of us and what it would do to my mum.” – Yusra Mardini, Olympic Swimmer and Syrian Refugee.


A young girl is photographed inside her new home- a Syrian Refugee camp.


DIGNITY-  The global refugee crisis has quickly become the urgent problems the world is facing. Conflicts in Syria and Sudan have flooded the world with over 65 million displaced persons. According the the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, one in every 113 people are effected by the global refugee crisis. The 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics even featured an all-refugee team, a historic first.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis been pushed the the forefront of world politics as countries domestically struggle with how to support growing populations of resettled Syrians.Pictures of dangerously overcrowded boats carrying refugees across the Mediterranean are frequently seen on newspapers and media outlets around the world. On August 18th a picture of a 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh went viral. The photo shows the small boy with wide eyes, stunned, as he waits for treatment in an ambulance after surviving an air raid in the Syrian city of Aleppo. 


“We need a surge in diplomacy for peace. The international community spends much more time and resources managing crises than preventing them.” – Antonio Guterres, incoming Secretary General.


Antonio Guterres gives a speech at the United Nations.

CHANGE-  One of the biggest changes in the upcoming year will be the incoming of a new Secretary General. After serving two five-year terms as Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon announced that he will step down on December 31, 2016. Antonio Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal and current High Commissioner for Refugees, will succeed Ban Ki Moon. Guterres was overwhelmingly voted in as the new Secretary General. He earned 13 votes of approval and two non-opinion votes from the Security Council.  Notably, Guterres has been an outspoken advocate for Peacekeeper reform, particularly in the area of sexual assault reporting and prevention efforts. While there are still two months left until Guterres takes office, his vast diplomatic experience and ambitious goals are sure to make big waves in the upcoming year.





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