Students and staff at Li Po Chun UWC are happy to announce the successful completion of the first ever United World Colleges Virtual Model United Nations (UWCVMUN) conference. The conference, which successfully connected over fifty UWC students on the 28th January, 2012, aimed to link all UWCs and allow students to discuss important world issues in the context of three United Nations affiliated committees.
This event marks the 50th anniversary of the UWC movement, through linking 11 UWCs and students worldwide, including Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong, Mahindra United World College of India, United World College in Mostar, Red Cross Nordic United World College, United World College of the Adriatic, Untied World College Maastricht, United World College of the Atlantic, United World College Costa Rica, The Armand Hammer United World College of the American West and Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific. The more than fifty UWC students who participated in this conference come from over 40 countries, acting as delegates representing different member states in a UN context.
The event was inaugurated by speeches made by the director of the UWC International Office Keith Clark, principal of Li Po Chun UWC Arnett Edwards, teacher at Li Po Chun Sylla Cousineau, and UWCVMUN organizers. The rest of the conference was hosted using GoToTraining, an online platform service that allowed the approximately twenty delegates in each committee to speak, share documents, and send text messages. Three LPC students served as chairs of the committees and moderated the discussions by muting and un-muting delegates who were recognized to speak. Although occasional technical difficulties arose, school administrations were very generous with their support and delegates were generally able to have a quite smooth and effective conversation.
The discussions were based around simulations of three UN committees: The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) committee, the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) committee, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of directors. UNEP’s discussion focused on sustainable development in post conflict situations, and the delegates were able to draft and pass a draft resolution about the issue. Perhaps appropriately given the virtual nature of the discussion, DISEC discussed the largely new and still evolving issues of cyber-warfare and cyber-crime. Although DISEC’s delegates did not finalize a draft resolution in time for it to be passed, the very new and undeveloped nature of the discussion about Cyber Warfare meant that even the discussion and debate of the delegates was a valuable addition to their understanding of the issue. Finally, the IAEA simulation centered around a debate about the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. After a discussion which touched on many pressing issues including the flaws of the NPT, the movement were able to pass a resolution in support of eventually moving towards a NWFZ in the MIddle East.
UWCVMUN was an exciting opportunity for all involved; not only were they able to participate in or help to facilitate a high-level discussion, but they could also to take part in a brand new opportunity for UWC students to connect with each-other. The organizers hope it will begin a process of increasing exchange between UWC students through similar events. Organizers look forward to holding the next UWCVMUN in September as part of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UWC movement.