Spotlight: Delegate Interview

By Silvana Karamoko

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Hannah Lou. I am 15 years old and French of Romanian origin. I live in Paris, and I attend the International Bilingual School. I am trilingual so I speak French, English and Romanian. My parents have always encouraged me to learn the maximum in order to be able to open myself more easily to the world.

Why did you come to YMGE, and what do you think this trip will bring you?

All my life I loved talking to have the power to change things with simple sentences. Moreover the city of Budapest is beautiful; it is very important to travel to discover new culture and new person. I had never debated in English so it seemed like the right moment.

How do you feel about representing Jānis Dūklavs, the Latvian Minister of Food and Agriculture?

First of all, Latvia is very close to Romania so I am pleased to represent this country in a certain way. Minister Janis Duklavs' position is very important because it affects food and agriculture which are areas very important that determines the situation of the population. I just think it's important to respect the ideas that Janis Duklavs is trying to convey and try to listen to everyone's ideas in a vote, for example. come naturally to me or I discuss with other members to agree and try to have the best possible solution.

How do you think you can bring new ideas and proposal on the subject of agriculture and food in Lithuania?

I just think it's important to respect the ideas that Janis Duklavs is trying to convey and that you have to try to listen to everyone's ideas in a vote, for example. ideas come naturally to me or I discuss with other members to agree and try to have the best possible solution.

Did you need to prepare intensively for YMGE?

Since this was my first year, I was a little nervous so I tried to prepare myself a minimum but it was especially during the debate classes more presidents we really put our trust in explaining that the YMGE's goal is to exchange ideas with others. Plus I was reassured of the first debate.

Do you plan to return to Budapest for YMGE?

Budapest is an incredible city filled with culture and history. Everything is beautiful including the bridge of freedom which has a lovely architecture. People have welcomed us very well. So obviously I will come back.

Did you have time to visit the city of Budapest?

I was scared with this busy schedule which is complicated to visit the city but finally not at all thanks to the perfect organization of my teachers we could discover the city of Budapest as well as these magnificent buildings. I am really happy to know more about this city.

What would have been your other choice of committee?

Honestly I do not see myself in another council people are so nice, the subject really touches me more we respect all our different ideas. But the council of education would have pleased me because I think that education is something important and that it should be given to anyone regardless of their situation.

Do you think that Latvia have serious issues on agriculture and food ?

Evidently that Latvia has problems but which countries do not have, Latvia needs time but I am sure that the problems she has can solve it quickly with maybe more organization on the part from the ministry.


Spotlight: Chair Interviews

By Laura Feingold

Food and agriculture have always been a very important matter which concerns every single individual. I therefore interviewed the chair of the Food and Agriculture Council to get to know more about a person with such great responsibilities. 

Interviewer: Hello, it is a pleasure to meet you. What is your name?

Chair: Hello, I am Hailee Gibaldo. It is also very nice to meet you.

I: Where are you from?

C: Massachusetts, USA.

I: What are you studying at Yale and why are you studying it?

C: I am studying ecology and biology because those subjects deeply interest me.

I: What career do you plan on having?

C: I plan on being a researcher and especially focus on field research instead of lab research. 

I: What first made you interested in debate?

C: Well, I have always been interested in trying new things and some of my friend were interested in debate and talked to me about their experiences. So I figured I would just give it a try! 

I: What kind of a high school student were you?

C: I was always driven to do my best and to push and challenge myself. I have had a pretty relatable experience since I had a hard time and did not really enjoy public speaking. My first experience was a little scary but I started to gain confidence by attending several small committees. At one point, I won an award as a delegate in a less competitive conference. 

I: How did you hear about YMGE, and what made you want to take part in it?

C: My college roommate is involved in that kind of thing and talked to me about YMGE asking me to attend. I accepted since I wanted to have a different experience in a much bigger conference like this one which would bring me new opportunities and make me get out of my comfort zone.

I: How and why did you chose your cabinet and your council?

C: Well, my great-grandparents were Polish before immigrating from Poland to the US! It is the only one of my origins that I am sure of and so I got interested in Polish culture. Also, Poland is a very fragile state. Food an dagriculture, if not dealt with correctly, can destroy the environment. It is a very important matter and I find that it is basically the center of most of the issues nowadays. 

I: So far, what has been happening within your council?

C: We have been talking about decisions which could be taken to stop the disease from spreading more like quarantining life stocks, stopping trade and dealing with the infected pigeons.

I: What has your preparation been like?

C: So, I have been to other conferences like college conferences before so I had an idea about how it was going to be. I pretty much had a lot of meetings, did some research and wrote the topic guide. The preparation was not bad and seeing it all happening at once was a great feeling but it was also very overwhelming. 

Other important matters especially throughout the 21st century in which technology and resources have very much improved include transport, telecommunication and energy. So I also interviewed its chair. 

I: So, hello. It is very nice to meet you. What is your name?

C: Hello! Nice to meet you too. My name is Muriel Wang.

I: Where are you from?

C: I am from Singapore.

I: What are you studying at Yale and why are you studying it?

C: I am studying global affairs because I want to improve my skills in international relations and help solve some of the world’s problems. 

I: What career do you plan on having?

C: I am not sure yet but definitely something related to foreign affairs. 

I: What first made you interested in debate and public speaking?

C: Well, I always enjoyed those activities. I was a debater in high school and even became the captain of the debate team.

I: And what kind of a high school were you in general?

C: I always tried to do my best, to demonstrate leadership and take care of those in difficulties. Also, I always was a hardworking person and those skills helped me in college too. 

I: How did you hear about YMGE and what made you want to take part in it?

C: I was also involved in YMGE last year and it was an amazing experience. I really enjoy the crisis commitees because they make you think about worlds problems differently and really get you involved in them. 

I: How did you chose your council and your cabinet? 

C: When I did it last year, I chose UK as a cabinet. I really like France too so I chose it this year. 

I: So far, what has been happening in your council? What debates and discussions have you been having? 

C: We basically discussed ways in which transportation could be used to stop the spread of the disease. We also talked about cyber security and how cyber information could be more private. People who really need information could just hire spies in order to get it. 

I: What was your preparation like?

C: I did a lot of research on the topic, like a lot of reading and watching videos. I had already been a chair at a university conference so I already knew some things about it too. 

Spotlight: MUN and the Globalist Mindset

By Melina Joseph

An article encompassing the work, goals, and experiences of those who value MUN.

Recent news of nationalism and authoritarianism is particularly concerning when thinking of the impact of this exposure on students.  Often, the rapid rise of technology and inclusive curriculums is viewed to be conducive to the success of globalization, particularly the open-mindedness to cultural and ideological differences. I wondered if the educational endeavours of Model United Nations were enough to counteract the influential anti-globalization sentiments from public figures. I met with Yale Model Government Europe (YMGE) advisors and a member of the Yale Secretariat to discuss their own experience with international activities that promote global cooperation and critical thinking.

I spoke with Rania Dantsi, an English teacher from Greece. She was here with her delegation from Mandoulides Schools and had advised Model UN for 15 years. When I brought up the word globalist, she looked pensive. “It’s a double-edged sword,” she said.

She explained the battle of teaching her students the humanistic viewpoint of striving to help others, be they individuals or countries in need, as well as the reality of countries losing their cultural and historical backgrounds. Greece’s financial crisis was a major blow to the state of European affairs, harming the idealistic image of strength in unified states.

Nonetheless, Dantsi appreciated the knowledge from having her students participate in Model UN. In addition to the acquiring of life skills, she said that her students were exposed to something that the Greek curriculum could not offer: politics.

Monica Hall, a history teacher from Saudi Arabia, felt the same way. Having instructed for nine years and currently teaching at The KAUST School, she appreciated how debate pushed students out of their comfort zones. “It allows them to practice public speaking and look at issues from an empathetic perspective,” she described. She echoed Dantsi’s sentiments, describing the burden that globalism brought on countries: a loss of identity and resources when accepting the notion of being responsible for others.

Both advisors held reservations about how frequently words such as “radical” and “extremist” were used for public figures. They exchanged chuckles when I mentioned President Trump. Still, their faces grew solemn as they described how authoritarian and nationalist ideas appeared attractive to people desperate for change.

I asked Dantsi if she was concerned about her students falling prey to these kinds of political influences, and her response was that she wanted them to be well-informed citizens. Her position was not to force students to think a certain way but to challenge them to be open-minded, persistent, and ready to engage with other viewpoints.

On the other hand, advisor Zoeth Chalat’s perspective readily recognized the negative perceptions of MUN and sought to show that the advantages of student participation were far greater. Chalat, who is a sophomore at Yale University, served as a director for the Yale Model United Nations Institute (YMUNI) last summer. Having competed in Model United Nations throughout high school, he was excited to bring his knowledge of international relations to current high school students.

His work as an instructor for the Yale Hemispheres international relations program this past semester helped him do exactly that. He saw globalization in a positive sense as a process of “integration that puts emphasis on the celebration of diversity, dichotomies of thought, and differences in opinion.”

Chalat understands that because programs such as Model UN are generally opposed to nationalist trends, some may criticize them as “cesspools of liberal thought.” Regardless, the communication skills gained from these conferences can be a powerful tool moving forward. “It’s about being able to work with others, effectively communicating ideas in front of a group, and incorporating other ideas into your own thought and work processes.

“It’s given me a global perspective on what my career could entail,” he said. “I’m interested in working in law and I think that through programs like Model UN, I came to learn how much legal cooperation exists and how much jurisprudential facilitation that requires.”

Ornella Bayigamba, who serves as Director General of Operations at YMGE, was also positive about the future of global cooperation with the inclusion of international simulations like YMGE. Originally from Rwanda, she is now a sophomore at Yale University. Growing up in an area known for its historical complications with the UN is what piqued her interest in Model UN, leading her to compete at conferences since her sophomore year of high school.

She appreciated how these conferences allow students to put a perspective on issues that are not their own. “You gain respect for others’ opinions. You have to adopt this persona, you’re a country or minister and live in a different time zone or time frame. I think that’s incredibly useful, as being able to understand why someone may justify something you completely disagree with provides context,” she explained.

Personally, there was a change in how she perceived the relationship between the UN and Rwanda. Initially, she had viewed the UN as a harmful institution, one that had failed to prevent a genocide from occurring. Her exposure to rules and procedural format in Model UN helped her understand how institutional barriers can inhibit fast-paced action and well intent. Now, she understands more about the complexities of this institution and can consider reform and policy analysis through a wider lens.

Bayigamba felt that conversations about personal backgrounds could counter the negative connotations of globalization. “It’s about putting a face to a country,” she said.

On the topic of Model UN and nationalism, she recognized that sometimes it felt as though the argument of “national sovereignty” was thrown around. In committees, it might be the case that a strong and nationalist front helps, but doing so can also hurt the delegate. She felt that because the conferences are about diplomacy, the purpose of participating was to cooperate with others as opposed to maintain the same ideological dynamic as one might have individually.

A combination of competitive conferences and classes like the international relations program Hemispheres, Bayigamba believed, is what can broaden students’ horizons. Competition is not for everyone, and educational classes can provide a model for exploring perspectives. She hopes that the most important takeaway that students get from these sorts of conferences is the confidence in their voice and the belief that their role in the political sphere matters.

Ultimately, it feels as though Bayigamba, Chalat, Dantsi, and Hall understood the threats to globalization and the arguments for them. Their faith in creating diverse and open environments rests in education, which can make students the critical thinkers, well-informed citizens, and politicians of tomorrow.


Summary: Home Affairs, Environment, and Health

By Silvana Karamoko

Today, November 24, the councils tried to face different problems. Several decisions that seem fair were taken during the debates, thanks to the very productive Councils of Home Affairs, Environment and Health. The ministers seemed all in agreement and ready to come up with new ideas to improve the situation. The Home Affairs Council was talking about one of the most important news topics of the moment. Greece is seriously considering leaving the European Union. Returning to the case of the epidemic, the Council thinks that Iran is responsible for starting the epidemic and is preparing to sanction Iran. The Council of Employment asked the Council of the Environment for help to finance new projects with an ecologically lucrative goal. Finally, the Health Council made the decision to produce a vaccine using research from the Council of Environment. When the vaccine is developed, it will be available for every country in the world.


Summary: Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Refugees, and Education

By Laura Feingold

At this time, the world is very agitated, and many conflicts are occurring between several countries. 

The Council of Foreign Affairs is trying to avoid a Third World War and to manage Russia’s and Iran’s actions. The actions of the Iranian government are also being investigated. Russia has annexed the Baltics, and the Council will try to have a meeting with NATO to take any further decision concerning this issue. 

The Council of Immigration and Refugees sent a message to the Council of Justice concerning the corruption charges it is filing against the Council of Economy and Finances. It would also like to question the chair of ECOFIN Council since he could be the leader of the whole organisation. Throughout the course of this charge, the Council of Economy and Finances’ funding should be frozen, without access to important information and therefore will not be able to make any decision whatsoever concerning this crisis. The Council of Justice replied that ECOFIN Council has indeed violated EU laws. However, it does not have enough concrete information to arrest the ministers yet. 

The Council of Education debated about who should have access to the medicine depending on how the disease is spreading. For example, it could focus on adults over 70 and children under the age of 10 since they are at the highest risk of infection. The ministers also discussed how the medicine would be divided in Europe, but they cannot take any decision without the consent of the Health Council. 

Summary: Food and Agriculture & Employment

By Silvana Karamoko

Today the problem of the epidemic is still present. It has become a serious threat, and it is imperative for the ministries to act. Many ministries are trying to find solutions to fight the disease and stop its spread. But there are several problems that hinder this progress especially economic, cultural, social and environmental problems.

The Council of Food and Agriculture reflected on the status of American government. Like many other councils, it also faces financial problems and seeks solutions to them.

The Council of Employment became aware of the population’s lack of money and to so decided to create more work. This morning was fraught with the budgetary problems of the councils; many solutions were brought up to try to overcome the budgetary restriction.

Summary: NATO and NGO Forum

By Melina Joseph

In terms of NATO’s progress on Russian demilitarisation of the Arctic, it appears that delegates are focusing on collaboration with non-NATO states. Four working papers have been drafted to deal with the situation.

These papers range in proposals from open trade routes in the Arctic and sustainable environmental policies to the movement of populations and monitoring of Russian waters. Indigenous rights, Arctic infrastructure, and new forms of extraction are discussed in another paper, in addition to trade routes and cooperation between Russia and NATO.

This morning, NATO was working through amendments on two resolutions. A sub-clause related to housing and transportation was first proposed. This amendment stated that indigenous people would not be transported from Arctic communities that had natural resources available. No delegates found any issue with this amendment that sought to protect vulnerable populations.

NATO proceeded to vote on another amendment, one that fell under the Jurisdiction Over Trade Routes. This amendment would establish that natural resources of routes would only be available to the countries legally approved to own the land. The delegate of Estonia spoke in favour of this amendment by stating that, “Not all members of NATO have equal rights to the region. We want to prevent other countries from laying claims...and destabilising the region.”

The delegate from the United States spoke against this amendment, noting that the United Kingdom and Germany do not currently lay claims in the Arctic Circle but deserve to have access to trade routes. He spoke of Russia, which owns “within half of the Arctic Circle and would become a powerhouse” with this unprecedented access, creating a monopoly of sorts. The amendment failed to pass.

The NGO Forum is working on merging four resolutions addressing the European epidemic, with the topics of aid worker safety, database planning systems, creating a coalition of NGOs, and localizing efforts for efficiency.

The localisation of NGOs served as a point of focus for many delegates, who appreciated the fact that this area would enable employment opportunities in countries. When asked about the monetary allocations of external funding from organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the general consensus seemed to be that the specifics of monetary allocation would pertain to organizational fields.

“Consistent funding can be used for employment opportunities,” the representative from Norwegian Refugee Council mentioned, speaking to the community stability that would be engendered by health and medical care.

This merging indicates the NGO Forum’s commonly shared future goals in addressing the epidemic emergency. In previous days, concerns regarding worker safety and centralisation of efforts presided; they now appear to have manifested into a comprehensive response plan.

Summary: CJEU and Subcommittee on Terrorism

By Melina Joseph

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has come to a conclusion regarding the rise of an illiberal democracy in Hungary. Meanwhile, the European Subcommittee on Terrorism has moved on to discuss preventative measures against terrorism when dealing with the refugee crisis.

Two rulings were voted on in the CJEU. The accepted ruling established that being illiberal and democratic does not disqualify a country from the EU. In terms of how Hungary is affected, there will be a six-month advisory period in which Hungary’s progress is monitored by the European Commission. If Hungary fails to change their behaviour, they will be temporarily suspended for twelve months.

Judge Juhasz of the majority opinion agreed that “this case was a matter of legal interpretation.” The ruling recommends changes to the Copenhagen Agreement to offer better legal specificity.

The rejected draft ruling outlined the articles and directives of the European Union that were violated by the Hungarian government. These breaches of law include inhibiting freedom of movement and passing legislation to help criminalize those seeking asylum in Hungary. Due to this, it was proposed that the state of Hungary would be suspended from the European Commission for a year.

Judge Larsen of the dissenting opinion sought to maintain a perspective that the court “applies the law, rather than make it.” He supported the idea of temporary suspension for a country that fails to follow EU rules but did not believe that the Copenhagen criteria, which enables a country to join the EU, is the criteria for a state to remain as a member state.

After the ruling on Hungary, the CJEU moved to discuss the issue of historical revisionism in Poland. It was determined that Poland had illegally repressed free speech by violating Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Polish government has been urged by the Court to accept the factual evidence that condemns its actions in murdering the Jewish people during World War II.

Additionally, the Court has proposed a subcommittee under the Council of Europe known as the “Historical Standardization Committee.” This committee would create a standardised curriculum to be used in educational systems throughout Europe, in which historical authenticity would be preserved through factual information regarding World War II specifically.

Now, the Court is considering a case concerning the right to be forgotten. During an unmoderated caucus, members began to argue the merits of global Internet censorship and state sovereignty.

‘The right to be forgotten must be done on a case-by-case basis, not as a blanket law,” Judge Blot stated. She drew upon comparisons such as corporate manipulation of governmental systems and individuals, as well as situations in which convicts seek employment. “The world has a right to know about people who endanger society.”

The Subcommittee on Terrorism has moved on from a discussion of how artificial intelligence (AI) can reduce radicalisation to how security efforts can reduce terrorist acts. Many delegates expressed the need to strengthen data information systems and focus on border patrol measures.

The delegate from Germany remained open to discussing the enhancement of border and airport security. In an effort to be clear that this conversation would not discourage asylum seekers, he added that “Immigrants are valuable to our economy.”

Several working papers share themes of security checks, from the increase of background checks and waiting periods for purchasing weapons to strict medical testing for said purchases. Many delegates are urging for the improvement of the Schengen Information System and the Visa Information System.

Summary: Cultural & Social Affairs, Justice, and TTE

By Laura Feingold

Throughout yesterday’s evening and this morning, several important matters were discussed in different councils.

First, the Swedish Minister of Cultural and Social Affairs was arrested by the Council of Justice for giving 15,000 dollars to Iran several months ago. He was not very cooperative since he refused to divulge who he met with and for what purpose exactly. When asked if he was aware that what he had done was illegal and that he would be arrested, he refused. He stated that he was a businessman before becoming a minister, and he was asked about his line of business. He replied that he used to own a big white board company which had several branches like production of markers. He was asked if he pleaded guilty for having sent funds to terrorists in Iran and money laundering, which he denied even though the Council found his timing quite suspicious. Finally, he was suspended of his voting rights. 

Concerning the Council of Transport, Telecommunication, and Energy, the ministers were visited by the Council of Justice who talked about a cure in Switzerland. They want to arrest members of Council of TTE because they supposedly stopped all power in Switzerland, which is considered to be a violation of human rights. They want to try the Swedish Minister of TTE. The Health Council had a discussion with the TTE Council concerning the distribution of the treatment and to whom and where they were going to provide it first. Finally, after obtaining a joint approval, the TTE Council passed a directive about it. The Council of Economy and Finance wanted to pass a directive concerning Council of Health but wanted to keep the matters private. 

Council of Immigration and Refugees: Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

To the Council of Justice:

The Council of Immigration and Refugees is filing corruption charges against the Council of Economy and Finance. If possible, the Council of Immigration and Refugees would like to see the chair of the ECOFIN Council questioned as he seems to be the leader of this organisation. While investigation is ongoing, ECOFIN Council’s access to funding should be frozen, and it should not be able to make any decisions.

Sincerely,

The Council of Immigration and Refugees.