Ecole team visit Geneva as Model UN delegates

Tuesday, 20. January 2015

by Daniel Davis Wood

Last Monday, four students from the Ecole’s American Program traveled with me to Geneva to participate in the Ferney-Voltaire Model United Nations (FerMUN) Conference. This was the second time that the Ecole’s Model UN team attended the FerMUN Conference, but this year’s team was bigger than last year’s team and more diverse in its representation of other countries.

FerMUN takes place at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) directly opposite the Palais des Nations, home of the United Nations General Assembly. Each student who participates in the conference is assigned a country to represent. Students must research the history, government, and political interests of their countries, then they gather together in committees with other student representatives from all around the world to discuss issues of global importance. Over three days of committee discussions, all representatives work co-operatively to draft formal resolutions that adopt a particular position on the issues, and a vote on each proposed statement results in the passage of a series of approved resolutions that are then submitted to the actual UN.

Led by Kebir Gadio, who took part in last year’s event, this year’s Ecole team was rounded out by Cassia Frazier, Sam Cowan, and Eddie Diller, all of whom were new to the Model UN. Kebir enjoyed the distinction of being selected as Chairman of the Health Committee, monitoring the behavior of various representatives to ensure that they were adhering to the UN rules and procedures. Eddie and Sam both sat on the Human Rights Council. Representing Morocco and Pakistan respectively, they discussed issues including violence against women in wartime and the protections of the rights of journalists in war zones. Cassia, representing the International Red Cross, sat on the Special Committee for Politics and Decolonization to ensure that the organization had a voice in discussions on the political status of Palestine and the independence of Kosovo.

All three of our student representatives negotiated with others to draft text for inclusion in their committee resolutions, and the final resolutions did contain the points they worked hard to make. And, in a crowning honor, Kebir was specially invited by FerMUN to deliver one of the final addresses at the closing ceremony. It was a wonderful complement to the offer for the Ecole’s representatives to address the opening ceremony of last year’s FerMUN Conference.

After three days of detailed, demanding political discussions, our students returned to their little school on the Hasliberg with a clearer sense of the procedural difficulties of making a real difference to the wider world – but also with a sense of how rewarding it can be when the hard work pays off.