On Wednesday April 12, spectators gathered to watch a Model UN simulation in the Wick Social Room. Students participating in the event represented various countries and political philosophies while debating global and domestic issues pertaining to the Arctic region.
The simulation touched on many different subjects including land distribution, environmental impact, militarization, natural resources, economic development and indigenous populations.
Representatives for each country were given time to introduce their collective concerns and debate them in a civil and policy-oriented manner.
The debate was laced with many different exchanges that seemed to mimic different concerns that are present in the real world. In particular, a conversation about the environment became contentious.
Russian representatives came on the defensive when the United States representatives pointed to a recent oil spill that transpired due to negligence of Russian leaders. The US representative scolded Russia and doubted their efforts to maintain the environment of the Arctic.
Green Peace, a world organization concerned with the environment, repeated claims of negligence to both Russian and Chinese representatives. After several back and fourths, Russia tried to diffuse the conflict by saying, “we’ll clean it up;” a response that elicited laughs among simulation members and the audience as well.
Another source of conflict within the simulation was in response to Russia’s placement of three military bases in the region. Finland representatives argued that this was an aggressive act that threatened stability and the prospect of peace in the region.
Russia claimed that the bases were strictly for training. Other countries (Finland, US, Sweden) chimed in on the issue, describing a sense of skepticism and pointing out that the Russians could have used the space unoccupied in their own country for training.
With the recent surge in relations between Russia, Syria and North Korea this military question seemed to fit the current global climate. Nearly every country represented at the simulation spoke intently about the potential for conflict, and prospect of peace.
A spirited debate between Daemen students helped to conceptualize the complexity of international relations, while demonstrating the importance of global issues.
Just as the simulation was on-going, CNN and other news outlets reported that Russia vetoed a draft resolution condemning the chemical weapon attack in Syria. The news served as a reinforcement of global tension and close analogy to the Daemen UN simulation.
Overall, the event contributed to the entire concept of the Academic Festival. Daemen students came together to display their knowledge of global issues in an entertaining, and intellectually stimulating setting.