Model UN General Assembly

Students recently participated in a model United Nations (UN) General Assembly. As a part of this project, students, in small groups, were asked to choose a country to represent at a model UN General Assembly debate. Students needed to decide on a challenge that their country was facing and research the causes and history of the issue. Then then decided what form of international assistance the country needed and the were to draft a resolution to bring to the General Assembly – the resolutions included pre-ambulatory clauses, which describe the background of the issue, and operative clauses, which ask for international assistance from the UN.

The First Debate

Model UN general assembly meeting - Team, HaitiThe first debate opened with a speech by our “Secretary General.” This student introduced guiding principles of the UN, explained how the UN was created to “repair the world after the ravages of Second World War,” and how they continue to fulfill a similar role today. Then, each group presented their draft resolutions. Issues presented included:

  • Lack of access to clean water in Haiti
  • Impact of drug cartels on the people of Mexico
  • The refugee crisis in Iraq that has resulted from the war against ISIS
  • Child poverty in the United States
  • The need for humanitarian and military assistance in Ukraine
  • The prevalence of malaria in Sierra Leone
  • The lack of adequate health care services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada

To get a feel for the success of the project, here are a couple quotes from different resolutions:

Iraq: “Calls for military assistance to engage in combat against ISIL” and “encourages countries to provide humanitarian assistance for Iraqi refugees”
Haiti: “Encourages that the United Nations collaborates with Haitians to build 4,000 wells throughout Haiti that are accessible for all locals” and “calls upon trained personnel to educate Haitians on how to maintain the wells”

After the debate, students had three days to review everyone’s resolutions and prepare questions and rebuttals. They also revised their own final resolutions and formed alliances with other groups, promising to support each other or work together to argue against another group’s position at the second debate.

The Second Debate

Model UN general assembly meeting

Students had the opportunity to question other countries’ resolutions and defend their own during the second debate. For example, representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo questioned whether military assistance was simply a “band aid” solution to Iraq’s issues. The delegates from Iraq countered that ISIS is causing problems on a global scale and must be stopped.

After the debate, a vote was taken by secret ballot – each group had one vote, and was not allowed to vote for their own resolution. In the end, Iraq received the most votes, with the Democratic of the Congo placing second.

Our debate ended with a closing speech by Secretary General, who emphasized the importance of working together to find solutions to these challenges.