For those of you not in the know, UN Youth NZ’s premier University level conference is being held in the stunning city Dunedin this year! The committee is working hard to ensure that 2013 is the biggest, and the best year yet. Before we go any further, I would like to introduce myself, and my Committee.
Kia ora! I’m Mike Peebles, and as the title suggests, I’m the coordinator for NZ Model Security Council 2013! I was born and bred in the city of shakes, 19 and a half years ago, and currently reside in the beautiful student town that is Dunedin. I’m a second year medical student in the University of Otago, and have been a member of UN Youth since 2010, when I attended Canterbury Model United Nations, and got bitten by the Model UN bug.What do you like to do with your spare time?
I don’t seem to have much of it these days, but I am partial to a bit of “Afternoons with Jim Mora” and a nice coffee where I can.Cats or dogs?
They’re all so cute! But probs dogs. Dogs seem to appreciate my attention, rather than simply tolerating it.If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?
Definitely Anton Smith. I mean, like, wow. He just makes me speechless.What can we expect to see in August?
You can expect the best UN Youth event you will ever attend. You can expect to be exhausted. You can expect to be entertained. You can expect to make lots of new friends. You can expect to be well fed. You can expect to be educated, and you can expect to be empowered. Sorry high schoolers, but it’s Uni students only; you’ll just have to wait till next year!
ANU KAW (Assistant Coordinator)
Aloha kids, I’m Anu and I’m the Assistant Coordinator (and unofficial officer of swag) for NZ Model Security Council 2013! I’m not too sure where exactly where I hail from, having been a globe trotter from a young age, but I currently reside in the picturesque township of Dunedin (co-incidentally the location of the conference this year). You will usually find me sitting at my desk, savouring some sort of chocolate (usually Whittakers Hazel Nut) or climbing a hill.What do you like to do with your spare time?
Spare time – now that’s a phrase I haven’t heard in a very long time.Cats or dogs?
DUCKS– COZ I LIKE FEEDING THEM. But if you’re dying to know – then puppies. Kittens are plain weird.If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?
Chris Park – his swag level is one beyond achievable.
OLIVIA AITCHISON (Education Officer)
Kia Ora, I’m Olivia. Born and Bred in the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington! I’m currently studying at Victoria University in my 2nd year and am really looking forward to seeing everyone in Dunedin later in the year!What do you like to do with your spare time?
Being a master procrastinator, filling up and creating spare time is something of a specialty of mine. Mostly I like to bake and knit!
Cats or dogs?
I like both – I’m sitting the fence on this one.
If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?
TAMSIN ROBB (Registrations Officer)
Hey there! I’m Tamsin Robb, Registrations Officer for NZ Model Security Council 2013! You’ll be in touch with me when you register! I hail from the ‘Naki, but these days am most often found on the campus of The University of Auckland doing Cool Science Things (well, when I’m not buzzing off to Wellington /Dunedin / New Plymouth for other things, or nipping back to my apartment to do some baking or….). I’ve been involved in UN Youth since Year 12, when I got to attend the conference with the best name: ‘cinnamon’ or Central North Island Model UN (CNIMUN) as it was officially called.What do you like to do with your spare time?
Spare time? Sleeping, making dresses, procrastinating, list writing, baking, and of course eating, are things I do enjoy in my spare time though!Cats or dogs?
CATS! I’m not a crazy cat lady, but the bathroom of my apartment may or may not happen to have 132 cats, kittens, and puppies in it.If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?
There’s a chap called Emil Kiroff, he’s pretty famous around here. Carries quite an aura around with him, he’s known for on-the-mark witty comments, a crazy smile, some fluttery fairy wings, and even a dab of First Aid here and there. Top guy!
EMIL KIROFF (Finance Officer)
Hola! I’m Emil and I am the Financial Officer for NZ Model Security Council 2013 – sounds like a boring position? You bet. Wrong. The power is all in the numbers. One can easily sneak a new silver laptop, new crisp suit and even some blue bedding into the lattice of numbers. Besides that, I am a second year at the University of Auckland doing numbers and words. I am from Auckland and lived there most of my life. – apart from that weird year, where I hailed Rotorua as home. My parents thought it would be a good idea… I have been involved with UN Youth since 2011 and a keen bean ever since.What do you like to do with your spare time?
Plan my non-spare time. Or if that’s done, I enjoy mountain biking in the mud at Woodhill Forrest in the winter. Just gotta love wiping mud from your mouth! My favourite however would be, getting chicken and cranberry burger and chips from Burger Wisconsin with friends, walk down to beach, goss-bag for an hour, and occasional choke on my chip, from
trying to laugh and eat at the same time!Cats or dogs?
Mhmm… dogs. Pretty easy choice.If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?
Taylor Swift. Cause I wanna feel 22! And the long hair. I have heard that would be fun
This blog post is a compilation of stories that people have sent to me about their NZ Model UN experiences. No one could better describe the experience of NZ Model UN than these passionate alumni. For first time delegates who are feeling apprehensive about whether to register – read on to get a feel for what the conference is like and see what you have to look forward to at the event. And for past participants who are feeling nostalgic, relive your favourite memories and register this year as a conference assistant.
My last NZ Model UN was in 2012 in my final year of high school. Imagine a room of 250 overly excited high school students ready to engage in debate, eager to interact with each other and most importantly, expand their knowledge on a varied range of topics. NZ Model UN is what many call the flagship event of the year and 2012 did not disappoint. I was representing World Vision, a non-governmental organisation, and this new group of representation would expand my ideas and ultimately my knowledge on how another facet of the United Nations functions. I had two major highlights for my 2012 NZMUN experience. The first was being selected as one of the New Zealand School’s Delegates to The Hague International Model United Nations. The second was Harry Tothill’s (this year’s coordinator) impression of Voldemort and Jerome (last year’s coordinator) as Captain Planet in their epic battle on the plenary session in the last day. UN Youth and New Zealand Model United Nations has always meant for me a week of socialising, in depth thought on topics I had never thought of and connections with so many others. NZ Model UN truly fulfils the purpose of inspiring global citizens.
After attending NZMUN 2011, applying for the next conference was a no-brainer. The chance to catch up with all of the amazing people I had met the year before was not something I would have passed up easily. Plus, this time I had an ulterior motive; I was gunning to be a part of THIMUN 2013 (a trip everyone should definitely look into). It was just as I remembered, the people, the laughs and an overall amazing time. This time I was representing North Korea (DPRK), providing me with a lot of great chances for intense and rewarding debate. But as well as all of that, the dinners, the ball, everything about the conference was geared towards creating such an amazing few days for the delegates. It was one of the most entertaining weeks I have had and when I look back to how apprehensive I was before my first conference I can’t help but laugh a little, and to top it all off, I got in to THIMUN.
My favourite memory from NZ Model UN is a hard one to choose because those four days were one of the main highlights of my year. The best moment would have to be when my name was called in the plenary session when I was announced as a member of the New Zealand Delegation to THIMUN 2013. What NZMUN gave me was the opportunity to meet like-minded people and participate in some challenging debate. The outreach program taught me that giving up a few hours of my time to volunteer really does make a difference and is something I’ve continued to do whenever I can.
One of my highlights of NZ Model UN last year was having a diplomat from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who was our committee’s expert speaker, go over the resolution I had written with the delegates, as if it was at the real UN. His session really helped inform the debate, and it was so rewarding to see the delegates engaging with the issue of democratisation, especially after a diplomat had just talked them through what he thought were its faults, from his perspective and work experience. Another, unrelated, highlight, would be getting to be Paula Abdul when judging the interpretative dance contest- UN Youth members are talented across the board.
My favourite NZ Model UN memory is always Regional Grouping Dinners. After debating resolutions all day, there is nothing more exciting than going out for dinner with people in your regional groups – every year I’ve met heaps of new people. It’s also great to get a taste of the food from your country’s region – in the past I’ve slurped noodles and whirled lazy susans in Asia Pacific, burnt my tongue on hot chillies with GRULAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) and eaten a bizarre cinnamon-flavoured lasagne creation in Northern Africa. It’s always exciting wondering what weird and wacky experience each region will bring!
I’ve had a lot of magic moments during the 5 NZ Model UNs I’ve been to, a particularly memorable feeling is that of waking up after the final day conference and missing everyone like crazy also known as the post-Model UN blues! I keep coming back to NZ Model UN as it is an unparalleled educational and social opportunity where you can meet like-minded people from all over the country. It always amazes me how often I bump into people from NZ Model UN a year or two or even more down the track and seeing the amazing things they have accomplished since I last saw them. NZ Model UN is a place where global citizens emerge through the intensely enjoyable few days of the conference and for that it will always have a special meaning to me.
Thank you so much to the contributors. The NZ Model Un 2013 committee can’t wait to recreate the experience for a new group of people in July.
Registrations are open from now until the end of April. Places are filling up so register as soon as possible to secure a place at this year’s conference.
See you there!
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to have been the sole New Zealand delegate at Harvard Model United Nations held in Boston. As the representative of Oxfam, I was placed into the High Level Meeting where we discussed Failed States. However one of the committees that appeared in my Study Guides was the ‘Coca-Cola Board of Directors’. One may wonder “How on earth does the Coca-Cola tie in with the UN?”
Firstly, here are some UN+admitted facts about Coca-Cola:
Coca-Cola and Pepsi together have earnings greater than 40% of the GDP of the world’s poorest states combined (i.e. 80 member states of the UN).
Coca-Cola’s $35.1 billion in revenue makes it the 84th largest economy in the world, just ahead of Costa Rica. (As the delegate of Costa Rica for AMUN 2013, I can say that this surprises me)
During the Nazi regime, Coke was banned because it contained too much sugar so Fanta was created in 1936 so that Coca-Cola wouldn’t have to stop trade with Germany.
Coca-Cola has over 3500 beverages and it would take the average person 9 years to try each one.
Coca-Cola is an example of a Multinational Corporation (MNC) willing and able to expand their firm so that it operates in more than one country and because they are so large, they can produce more output at a lower cost. One may think this is great because they can expand into developing nations and reduce unemployment in order to train and educate people to improve efficiency and knowledge. Moreover, globalisation allows us to make a shift towards democracy. But at the same time many problems arise. Here are some UN+canny facts:
MNCs are responsible for economic exploitation. They can expand into developing nations because it is cheap to do so due to weak laws and regulations. They also risk polluting and damaging the environment.
Developing nations receive very little profit as it gets sent back to the country of origin (e.g. the CEO of Starbucks receives an annual salary of $2.15 million USD whereas coffee producers in Ehtiopia receive less than $1 USD a day which is 1-3% of the profit earned) and as a result we are seeing an ever-increasing gap between developed and developing nations.
Water is a key ingredient in its beverages and the future stability of its company depends on the management of water.
Believe it or not, 94% of the world’s population can recognise the popular red and white logo we see in supermarkets. People purchase Coca-Cola because they see it’s affordable and represents a Western lifestyle.
Cary Folower, the economist for the UN Commission for Checking Transnational companies stated that: “Poor people in the third world can see the company’s advertisements how Coca-Cola and Fanta is equalled to happy, well-off, often white middle-class families. The poor that want the best for their children consequently buy Coke or Fanta for their children, or even worse, they start buying it for their infants. Instead of breast milk, the children get Coca-Cola!”
However, children who are raised on these soft drinks are likely to suffer from malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies because they are missing out on essential vitamins.
Multinational Companies have the potential to destroy environments and cultural traditions by their Western Influences. However at the same time multinational companies such as Coca-Cola are striving to make a change.
The Coca-Cola Board of Directors plays a major role in the public face of the company by deciding which philanthropic efforts the company will change (e.g. in 2012, Coca-Cola donated $3 million to conservation efforts by the World Wildlife fund)
Coca-Cola also has a water stewardship program aimed to protect and conserve water and has also teamed up with the UNDP. Perhaps this occurred as a response to allegations about poor water treatment and abuse in India. Like several NGOs that work with the UN such as Charity Water and World Vision, Coca-Cola is trying to help developing nations in Africa get clean water by installing water pumps, etc. As a delegate at HMUN 2013, I contributed to one of the water pumps being built by Charity Water as my committee fundraised $862.54.
In 2011, Coca-Cola paired up with UN Women to form a global partnership aimed at improving Women’s Economic Development. This partnership generated the ‘5 BY 20’ initiative which aims to empower the 5 million women entrepreneurs within the Coca-Cola chain by 2020. Together they will be providing increased access to business skills training, mentoring and financial services, focusing in growing markets such as Brazil, India, the Philippines and South Africa.
So next time you participate in a MUN, take note of how multinational companies (not limited to Coca-Cola) may impact your country’s cultural tradition, the environment and the wellbeing of its citizens. Multinational corporations have a great impact as they contribute a lot to the economies of both developing and developed nations. Though economic development and expansion is important, one must look after their environment as this will impact the stability of our member states and their industries in the future.
Drink drivers, boy racers, troublemakers, popping pills, with the highest rating of STDs, unemployed and a burden on society…
I know I have missed a couple of dozen other “job descriptors” of the young people / youth today.
That is my age group. I know and work with many within this age. I come across many more every day. The large majority of them do not fit in the above ‘descriptions’. That made me wonder; if we really did have to label them with ‘descriptors’, what would they be?
Debunking the myths
They belong with the young volunteers who contribute 2.4 billion hours of their time to helping their communities – the likes of the Student Volunteer Army that rose within hours of the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake in NZ. This ‘army’ of young people gave 75,000 hours of their time to help their communities from scraping sludge from the liquefaction-drowned roads and properties to aiding in the rescue and support teams.
Across the ditch in Australia, the Oaktree Foundation is made up of 73,000 youth volunteers who work across the various states in Australia to not only raise awareness about extreme poverty in the Asia Pacific region, they also raise funds for their cause. One of the largest youth organisations in NZ – UN Youth New Zealand, is completely led and run by the youth of NZ.Why youth?
More than half of the world’s population is under 25 years of age – and they are the fastest growing demographic, especially within the Asia Pacific region!
Being a young person may be synonymous with inexperience, irresponsibility and/or laziness. But hold on, the Arab Spring is very fresh in our memories. The fact that youth, disillusioned by the system and demanding change, was the driving force behind is clear proof how young people are aware, are engaged and take responsibility for what happens in their communities in positive ways. Our thinking needs to be reassessed. That is the right way for youth justice.
Young people are without a doubt the heartbeat of a society, therefore the backbone of a country’s development. Developing and sustaining their development across the globe is rooted in the development of today’s youth. That is true investment for the future.
The foundation for youth development for any government should be investment in youth programs. Starting from education, competency and skills development, right across to civil society, social issues are key areas that require and would benefit from investment. Supporting youth working in the critical areas of environment and climate change is the way forward with the protection, awareness and sustainability needed in these areas.
A clear example is the many NGOs who are made up of energetic and passionate youth who are in need of support to carry out their missions. Youth are the sector of the populations that have vibrant, innovative entrepreneurs. Supporting the budding SMEs, startup businesses will see the benefits in future economies of nations.
Short film on youth stereotypes made by the UNHATE Foundation for their Unemployee of the Year campaign which supports youth entrepreneurship
Asia has the fastest growing and the largest youth population. The 2.4 ratio growth of Indian sub-continent and the population explosion of China at a rate of 1.2 make Asia the “happening” region. Lessons need to be taken from the past and present.
One of the drivers for the Arab spring was youth unemployment propelled by social upheaval due to lack of opportunities created for youth; similar undercurrents were pointed out by experts for the events that unfolded in London in 2011. On the other hand, benefits of investing in youth development are evident from Germany as compared to other European countries that have failed in this critical aspect. To carry on the German success story, to avoid incidents as the likes of Arab Spring or London, Asia needs to take the lessons on board to invest in youth development.
Opportunities need to be created to avoid brain drain from Asia to other parts of the world and to ensure the talent of Asia returns to their homeland where it is desperately needed. For Asia some areas that are in immediate and great need of investment include mathematics and science. Building ethical values within the youth so that these values are carried and ingrained in the future generations is another area of paramount importance for this region of the world. Now is the right time for and to take the initiative to invest in youth development – to invest in the future of nations. While this is implemented, processes need to be in place to monitor and scrutinize that the funds reach those deserving and in need – channeled to the grassroots and not wasted by the governments.
It has sometimes been suggested that even the term ‘Asia’ may be a false concept, bestowing an artificial homogeneity on the vastly diverse economic and political geography of the region. But labels matter less than the reality, which they represent, and it is the reality of Asia, which is of essential importance for the EU.
I think one of the best things about university, and the debate that UN Youth promotes, is that it makes you ask important questions. What does it mean to be European? What is Asia? These questions are the sort that do not have clear-cut answers; they are sometimes frustrating, but quite often fascinating. Discussion is one of the best ways to understand these issues, and I was lucky enough to have a chat with Dr Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre and former British diplomat.
With the growing role of the EU and the infamous ‘pivot’ towards the Asia-Pacific, not to mention the wealth of photo opportunities the European continent offered our THIMUN delegation over January, I thought a brief discussion of European Union foreign policy and the dynamic between the EU and Asia would be of interest. Read: I am a massive International Relations nerd.
But firstly, can you name these people?
It’s no secret that the European Union’s structure can be confusing. Here is a very rough guide:
European Commission = the executive, can propose legislation
European Parliament = 750 directly elected members, arranged by party not country
European Council: summits of the Heads-of-State throughout the year
The Council of the European Union: meetings of national ministers meet adopt laws and coordinate policies. This is the main forum for the cooperation in external affairs.
If you have represented a country that is part of the EU lately, you would have likely discovered that the European Union has its own foreign policy and what is, essentially, an EU Minister for Foreign Affairs: the CFSP and HRFA- The Common Foreign and Security Policy and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
But what does it mean to have a ‘common foreign policy’? And why would sovereign states want to have one?
The Council of Foreign Ministers from all Member States will discuss an issue and come to a consensus on an area in all the countries’ interests, known as a Common Position. This then has to be unanimously approved by the European Council (Heads of State). Joint Actions then operationalise this agreement and are binding on the Members.
This is only when an agreement can be reached, and some experts question the true extent of foreign policy cooperation. Smaller states especially, however, clearly have a lot more clout when acting as a unit.F+UN fact: The EU is the largest provider of international development assistance and the largest contributor to the United Nations budget.
Dr Cameron says that “Asia” is of essential importance to the EU, and although it is mainly a trading relationship (18% of EU trade), the region is important because of its sheer size, in terms of global population, economic power and being the centre of many of the world’s “hot spots”. Most global issues cannot be resolved without Asia. While there are clear common interests in growing their global leadership respectively, there is a clear divide between progress in trade and progress in other areas one might deem “values”.F+UN fact: The EU continues to impose an arms embargo on China and refuses to grant it Market Economy status.
How does Association of South East Asian Countries (ASEAN) compare to the EU, and is it looking toward following the “EU model”?
ASEAN would like to follow the EU model – it has a 2015 programme for an ASEAN community – but the member states cannot agree to share sovereignty like the EU. Its focus is on economic integration, not political, and one of its key principles is the non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
Further, the driving values of the European Union, such as tolerance and consultation, are relevant to the future of Asia. You can draw a comparison between France/Germany in the early part of the 20th century with the current Japan/China territorial dispute. Reconciliation depends on truth and forgiving past wrongs, and there is a great reluctance to so in Japan and China, as both refuse to come to terms with their recent history, and therefore this poisons their bilateral relations.F+UN fact: the EU recognised “Asia” as an equal partner in 2001. This is part of a concept of the ‘triangular world order’; Dr Cameron feels we are moving towards a world of major blocs in which the US, Europe and Asia (with China at the core) will be the key powers.
Could you please explain the scale of EU-Asia cooperation, with the TREATI initiative and Asia-Europe Meeting?
ASEM is the major region-to-region talking shop for leaders held every two years with a ministerial held the alternate year; there are also regular EU-ASEAN meetings; but the most important part of the relationship are the bilateral ties – especially with the four strategic partners – China, India, Japan, Korea. TREATI is a technical initiative with ASEAN alone, aiming to improve trade and investment flows, and as a result, foster understanding in areas of mutual interests.
What do you see as the changing role of diplomats in Europe?
The role of diplomats everywhere is changing due to the revolution with TV, YouTube, Twitter and blogs reporting instantly on events. Leaders also talk directly to one another which means the role of foreign ministries are downgraded. Diplomacy is also much broader – currencies, climate change, terrorism, cyber security, energy and piracy all new issues. But never underestimate the vanity of diplomats- they won’t negotiate themselves into oblivion.
Personally, how have the experiences of working for a national government and working for a supra-national organisation differed?
National government one dimensional – i.e., how to promote national interests; working for EU is like a multi-dimensional chess game as have to take into consideration 28 viewpoints and come out with a compromise acceptable to all.
It seems that more I learn about the EU, the more question marks loom above its precise classification as an international actor. Will there one day be a UN seat for the EU? Before we start printing a single EU placard for events, I think there are a lot of developments to watch out for, don’t you?
Assistance from Dr Cameron and his book Introduction to European Foreign Policy is gratefully acknowledged.
You can read more about this think-tank here.
Today, Friday 8th of March, is International Women’s Day, and that’s pretty exciting. But one thing I found even more exciting lately (sorry sisterhood) is the cricket test between England and New Zealand in Dunedin. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to spend most of my day, in the sun, watching New Zealand, against all odds, completely dominate the English on the cricket field. A century opening partnership!! Last time that happened was a couple of seasons ago against Zimbabwe!! But before I rant about cricket for this whole post, I’ll explain where I’m going. As I sat there in mild shock and elation, I saw some little boys approach the boundary fielder to grab an autograph and a smile. The fielder was really lovely and signed every single one of them and even took the time to shake the hand of an intellectually handicapped boy which, touchingly, garnered applause from our wee section of the crowd. It made me remember haunting the boundaries myself as a little nerdy cricket fangirl. I must have about 17 copies of Daniel Vettori’s autograph.
As a little girl attending cricket holiday programmes, going to games, playing in mixed junior leagues, it is unthinkable how much casual sexism you encounter. I remember having to be taken home on several occasions from cricket programmes because the relentless teasing from the other kids (all of whom were boys) was just too much to cope with. You’d be standing at the crease and every boy within earshot would be yelling out things like “where’s your Barbie doll?” or “don’t get your dress dirty!” Needless to say cricket whites don’t come in dress form, but these are 7 year olds we’re talking about. Even gathering autographs you’d be stepped on, pushed out the way and elbowed with similar gender-related comments. To the players’ credit, often the sight of a lone girl would attract notice and I usually did pretty well regardless. But it isn’t hard to imagine that I was the only girl with such normalised behaviour going on. The same continues today with unabated fervour. My friend plays basketball for the Otago Nuggets and I’ve been known to terrify some of the many little boys who love to yell out “SHE won’t get it” and “throw like a girl!” at the opposing team. And we can hardly blame them when the court DJ plays “Do It Like A Lady” and “I Feel Like a Woman” when the opponents go for a free throw.
So sexism is alive and well, and right from the start of our lives. It’s tempting to not see gender equality as worthy of our attention here in New Zealand where, on September 19th 1893, Kiwi women became the first in the world to cast their vote. Women can drive, speak, run for parliament, hey, lead the country for 11 years straight, take CEO jobs at big businesses, keep their names, change their names… Things which millions of women not only can’t do but are encouraged to believe it is wrong for them to aspire to. But although no teenager is about to get attacked in New Zealand for wanting to go to school, there’s a dangerous acceptance of gender roles we need to be aware of. If I say to someone I’m a feminist, if they aren’t immediately terrified by the image of a 1970s hairy-legged bra-burner, than they will often ask – Why? In this place? This time? But women still earn 88 cents to a man’s dollar. Men are still made to feel like they can’t be the stay at home parent. Men still hold 72% of top management jobs, we still subsidise Viagra but not women’s sanitary items, a third of women still experience sexual violence and little boys still shout at little girls at sports games.
But International Women’s Day, as well as being a time to realise that there is still so far to go, is a time to celebrate. Celebrate the women and men who have worked so hard to bring about equality. Celebrate not only ways in which women are equal to men (and yes I know there are other genders out there but it’s a tight word limit), but ways in which we stand out, ways women are uniquely awesome. So I raise my glass (mug of tea) and encourage you to do the same, to these inspiring women, this tiny, tiny selection, who championed women’s liberation and celebrated their femininity instead of being constrained by its place in the patriarchies they lived in.
Julian of Norwich, rejected the outside world and lived as an anchoress in the 14th century. She was the first women to write a book in English.
The Queens – Elizabeth I and II and Victoria, who make up three of the ten longest serving British monarchs despite the patrilineal system meaning a tiny proportion of British monarchs have been queens. They also gave us some brilliant quotes, like this kick-arse quip from Lizzie the First – “No will in me can lack, neither do I trust shall there lack any power.”
Huda Shaarawi who founded the Egyptian Feminist Union, fought against British occupation, famously removed her veil in a crowded station and fought against the harem system she grew up in.
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the USA, whose attendance at medical school was treated as a joke by her peers and teachers and was refused work. She set up her own clinic instead.
The many, many, many invisible women who raised, were married to, mentored, inspired the great men who so dominate our understanding of history. We don’t know who they are, we can’t give them the credit they deserve, but they were there in their millions.
And my beautiful colleagues, Nurain Janah who set up this post, Suzy McKinney, aspiring doctor and your VP Governance, Portia Holt and Chelcie Lutton who run the Wellington and Otago regions, Sarah Wilson, lawyer and THI-MUM, Sally Wu who’s leading Pacific Project, Lizzie Chan, our pocket-rocket IPP, Charlotte Falloon, Dipti, Olivia Payne, Pooja, Eve, Yanjie, Anu, Kirsty, Victoria and Brittany Rea, Mary D-C, Amelia Lamb, Hadae Kim, Alex Gimour, Maanya, Gayathiri, Margot Shanahan, Emma C, Megan D, Kohe, Tamsin, Taylor, Forrest, Claire B, Sylvie, Amelia Nichol, Liv K, Camille, Catherine and Sara of Columba, Courtney B, Kaitlyn W, Kaylee, Sarah A, Emma P, Rebecca W, Cherry Mo and Sun Lee. These are our female officeholders and they are a mightily impressive group and inspire me every day.
Making the jump from Delegate to Officeholder is, to say the least, a strange one. We are bridging a strong divide, gathering not as simply younger and older, delegates and Conference Assistants (CA’s), but as colleagues and equals in the organization. Those mysterious forces working behind the scenes to facilitate our enjoyment are revealed as human beings, each as distinct and opinionated as any delegate in a conference. The committees and groups of CA’s, so often seen by a new delegate as a seamless and professional force, become a many faceted and complex web of individuals. The calm and somewhat stern Coordinator of my very first UN Youth Event, Jerome Cameron for NZ Model UN 2012, becomes an entirely different person. The National Executive, who I hadn’t even heard of until my election, is a tangible and relatable body of people. And nowhere is this more apparent than your first National Council.
While the Officeholder Training Hui (formerly known as National Officeholder Development Conference) was a far more formal affair and new Officeholders were simply struggling to keep up, our first National Council is where we really got to know the people who made up our organization. During session, I not only learnt about the web of politics that invariably comes with such a large organization of brilliant people, but also how the varied opinions of the officeholders affect the direction in which we are progressing. At the social event held at the marvelous Tothill Mazes (a stunning venue for any social events I may add), I got to witness the wilder and more carefree sides of the otherwise serious and professional Officeholders. Through the brilliant billeting arrangements, I got to forge very close relationships with people whom I may never have ever gotten to know well. I know that with these two people I have firm friendships and people within the organization that I can turn to if things get too heavy.
My own perspective and that of the rest of the new Officeholders have probably been miraculously changed by this experience. All in all, National Council: Canterbury 2013 has turned a large and mysterious organization into an organization of true, relatable people and perhaps even a group of friends that I am a part of.
No more hiatus
Fortunately, the UN Youth NZ whanau then survived a rather anticlimactic non-event on the 21stof December.
In the last few months, we also held an exciting UN Youth NZ National Executive election in Wellington. Former Vice-President for Communications and UN+Censored blogger extraordinaire, Chris Park, moved on to the position of THIMUN Assistant Director, and we welcomed a new Editor for UN+Censored.We celebrated the New Year while scattered across the globe, à la UN, and came back together for the first National Council for 2013 in Christchurch this month.
Having survived this supposed apocalypse, UN+Censored is now back to keep you fully informed, entertained and provoke you into discussions on everything and anything!
Introducing the UN+Censored Editor
Oh hello there! I’m Nurain Janah (that’s me over there <<), the current Editor of UN+Reported (UN Youth’s bi-monthly newsletter) and newly appointed UN+Censored Editor.
Veteran readers of UN+Censored will already know why we started to blog in addition to our pretty website, and active Facebook and Twitter communities. For readers just joining us, as our ex-VP Comms Chris Park put it rather aptly in this blog post, we will be striving towards three things on this blog:
INFORM: can you wipe the smirk off this guy on a topic because of UN+Censored? We’re on the right track.
DISCUSS: impassioned you into online debate that makes you feel like this*? We like that.
ENTERTAIN: find yourself adding UN+Censored to your daily browsing, amongst those cat videos and memes? We’re doing our job.
Does this get you excited?
Yes? Give us your suggestions/ideas to make it even better, or let us know if you want to contribute!
No? Do you have ideas on what we should be writing about? Would you like to see other kinds of content on UN+Censored? Let us know by commenting below
*Disclaimer: UN Youth NZ is not responsible for any damage to your computers/laptops/tablets.