|Monday, November 19, 2012|
UN Day 2012 at ODU: A Stormy Success
With Hurricane Sandy on the way, the ODU Model United Nations took over Webb Center for U.N. Day 2012 on Friday, Oct. 26. The annual event is the Model U.N. Society's largest on-campus activity. More than 150 students registered for the one-day simulation of the U.N. General Assembly (see photos below).
Secretary-General (chair) of U.N. Day was Gulshan Chattha, a junior majoring in political science and philosophy. She was supported by senior Rachelle Ampoyo (vice-chair), junior Will Deady (director/rapporteur) and junior Terrell Kingwood (secretary-treasurer). High points of the program included remarks by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Simpson and Dean of Arts and Letters Charles Wilson, congratulating the Model U.N. for promoting international education at ODU.
Deliberations focused initially on the "International Response to the Situation in Syria." Responding to criticism by several countries, the Syrian representative, Brian Rinaldo, senior English literature major, denied that his government was responsible for any humanitarian suffering in his country, which he blamed entirely on the violent opposition and its illegitimate foreign supporters. The only fair and legal response, he maintained, was for the U.N. to demand that all state sponsors of terrorism in Syria cease their illegal intervention and respect Syrian sovereignty.
Syria's effort to stop further discussion was blocked by the Assembly. Instead, it voted in favor of a compromise resolution, "Recognizing the Harmful Nature of the Syrian Conflict and the Impact on Surrounding Countries," calling on all states to increase humanitarian assistance and alleviate suffering among refuses and displaced people.
The Assembly then moved to the day's second topic of "Preventing Genocide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," focusing especially on the recent rise of attacks on civilians by the guerrilla group M23. The simulation saw Rwanda reacting angrily to criticism of its support for M23 guerrillas. Its representative, Steve Bunting (sophomore, economics), stormed out in protest against "absurd allegations."
Awards for best performance among newcomers were presented at day's end. Ireland representative Kaitlyn Clark, a senior political science major, won the award for Best Delegate. Awards for Outstanding Delegate went to Edward Barber (India), Katrina Tripp (Kenya) and Allison Bowman (Honduras).
Photos courtesy of ODU Model United Nations