Meeting the World in China
Ruhina Rahman and Tousif Jamal
Asian International Model United Nations (AIMUN) is hosted by the School of International Studies of Peking University every year, bringing youths from all around the world who share a strong interest in international relations to Beijing, China - the new hubbub of Asia in the 21st century. It is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, race, religion and ethnicity and make our opinions heard on a global platform. This year, the student conference, which was held from April 1 to April 4, was attended by over 500 students from 40 countries around the world. Through the conference, the participants had discussions covering a spectrum of topics including politics, economics, society and culture.
This year, a team of five members (or delegates as they are popularly known in MUN conferences) from Bangladesh participated at AIMUN 2010 in Beijing, China. The participants were selected by the United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB), the largest voluntary organization in the country. UNYSAB is the pioneer in organizing Model United Nations in Bangladesh, having hosted MUN conferences at the national level on two previous occasions. UNYSAB has also had representatives participating in various international MUN conferences around the world over the last 6 years. The delegates from Bangladesh were Tousif Jamal, Ruhina Rahman, Hossain Mohammad Sarram, Sazzad Hossain and Farhad Rahman.
In accordance with the rules of the United Nations, each delegate has to represent a country in one of the many committees of the UN. Each delegate must research on given topics and write a “position paper” indicating their nation's standpoint. This is a critical task since it shapes the role that the delegate will play on behalf of the selected country. These papers were written a month in advance to ensure that the delegates had the time necessary to fully prepare for the conference.
We were given four different committees: Tousif represented China in the General Assembly, Ruhina represented Malaysia in UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), Sarram and Sazzad were Malaysia in ASEAN10+3 and Farhad represented Malaysia in ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific). The delegates from Bangladesh played significant roles in the development of working papers and the draft resolutions in their respective committees and their performances were well acknowledged.
In the General Assembly, there were 86 represented countries and the topic of discussion was 'Children in Poverty'. After five sessions with several moderated and non-moderated discussions, several debates and 10 working papers, the committee reached a final solution. China sponsored one of the working papers and was signatory to three other working papers. With the largest number of delegates in any single committee, the General Assembly was indeed an exciting place to be.
The UNEP committee consisted of 35 countries that eagerly participated in a much talked about issue facing our countries: Illegal Waste Trafficking in Asia. This topic was chosen after much consideration and debate amongst the countries involved in the committee. Malaysia played a significant role in the discussion and co-sponsored the working paper that was ultimately revised to form the Draft Resolution. The non-moderated caucuses were particularly interesting to watch, as countries tried to form blocks to support their position or tried to woo nations from other blocs to join their own. In the end, a Draft Resolution was written that was widely appreciated by the directors of the committee and the visiting ambassadors from the USA and China. Another interesting session was the crisis session, which gave us an insight to how such situations are practically handled in the committees of the UN. In all, it was an experience that created friends (and foes!) among complete strangers and allowed us to show our potentials.
In the ASEAN10+3 committee, there were double delegates from each country. From Bangladesh Hossain Mohammad Sarram and Md. Sazzad Hossain represented Malaysia in the committee. There were thirteen countries in this committee with delegates from Bangladesh, Germany, Singapore, Pakistan and China. The major discussion that took place was on the Chiang Mai Initiative- Multi-lateralization. In the sessions delegates discussed their points of view during the General Speaking session, moderated caucuses and the un-moderated caucuses. The second session, the organizers provided the delegates with a crisis situation in which the delegate from one of the countries was 'kidnapped by terrorists'. Although the committee was divided for most the time, the committee ended up passing two Draft Directives and one Draft Resolution. The Delegates from Bangladesh actively participated in the discussions and negotiations and were co-sponsors (i.e. co-authors) for all the Draft Resolutions and Directives. The hard work of the delegation of Bangladesh was rewarded when they were presented with the Outstanding Delegate Award from their committee. Although the committee was small, the delegates had a lot of fun.
Besides these sessions, we enjoyed the many sights of Beijing. The highlight of our visit was the trip to the famous Great Wall of China, where we stood breathless at the majestic view before us. We also visited the Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and many other historic sites in the city, and left with a great deal of appreciation and respect for the magnificent heritage of the Chinese people.
We had an amazing time in Beijing, making a lot of new friends and visiting places we had only seen on Travel and Living channel. Our performances in the Cultural Night, where we presented our culture to individuals from all across the globe, were highly appreciated. Our opinions on global issues were well respected. And throughout the conference, we tried to make the delegates from other countries know more about Bangladesh. In all, it was an experience that we can never forget.