Saturday, January 27, 2007

More on ECMUN

Yay for ECMUN. I'm sitting in the ICJ at the moment and they're discussing...fruit? Bless the above average American high school student. I'm a bit confused, but have already had to use my vast Wikipedia powers to determine that both the eggplant and the coconut are fruits. Riiiiight.

I'm very, very impressed by the organization this year. Jenni's incredible and so organized. I mean, my year was pretty good (of course!), but Jenni's got all the little details under control that I didn't notice until the very last minute. Anyone remember Jules making flags all night? Or the frantic work in the social sciences office to make placards where I was dumb and new name tags. These are the things that Jenni's totally gotten under control and I'm also really impressed by the new bus plan. They used a whole bunch of Roseview transit buses (Richmond's public buses), instead of the incredibly expensive bus that always caused us a lot of headaches.

Ok, update. The kiddies are doing a pretty good job. I'm impressed at their grasp of these really, really complicated issues. It isn't an LSE dissertation, but it's still pretty cool and they're doing a whole lot better than I ever thought they would. I'm not bragging, but this statelessness case study (Bihari, Bangladesh v. Pakistan...sort of) was a really great topic for them to be working on. There are enough different issues to think about and different ways to look at the case that they can spend a lot of time speaking in moderated caucus in a very normal, GA committee, Model UN way. They do need to find something other than the UDHR to rely on, but it's nice to see a bunch of midwestern students (a decent number of whom are probably hard core conservative, by statistics) treating the principles in the UDHR like it's the most important law in the world. Woot.

This is why I love ECMUN and Model UN in general. I love helping with LIMUN, but there's something much, much more rewarding about this conference. These students are from Indiana and Ohio. Quite a number have probably never been out of the midwest. They're often conservative and support the US' current attitudes toward international law, the UN, and international dimplomacy. Then, they come here and they have to treat the UN like it's real and rely on its institutions and instruments and recognize some of the organization's limitations (and understand why those limitations exist). I don't know how long that attitude lasts once they leave here, but I'd love to think that it rubs off, even a little, little bit. And that's more rewarding than seeing (relatively) wealthy, (largely) European, liberal university students being delegates. It doesn't feel like it has the same real impact on improving the world's opinions of the United Nations.

I feel like THIS is the most useful thing I could be doing to help the UN right now. Yay Model UN!