At YMUN, each delegate will take part in a simulation of the United Nations or another international body and gain better insight into the subtleties of international affairs.
The wide range of YMUN committees will address pressing issues of global importance and provide original, compelling, and pertinent topics to suit each student’s interests. YMUN has five types of committees: General Assembly (GA), Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Regional Bodies, Specialized Committees, and the International Court of Justice. Click each committee below to read more about the topic areas our Chairs have planned for YMUN XLIII.
In 2014, YMUN debuted YMUN Procedure (formerly Hybrid) to create a conference that provides the best experience for our delegates. YMUN Procedure is an innovative MUN procedure that builds on strengths of both UNA-USA and international procedure: It expands on the UNA-USA strengths of collaboration and public speaking, while incorporating the international style's focus on content and writing.
YMUN Procedure is structured so that each topic is debated equally during the conference. For each topic, there is an initial speakers’ list or round robin debate followed by a lobbying period during which delegates write clauses and debate the topics. After chairs help delegates edit and improve their clauses, they are incorporated into working papers. Delegates will then work to merge their working papers into one to two draft resolutions on the topic, which are then debated and voted on. By the end of the conference, delegates will have debated and voted on one resolution on each topic, worked directly with their Chairs on the content of the debate, and improved their writing, public speaking, and debating skills. This procedure allows delegates to focus in on specific aspects of the topic and then incorporate all of these concepts into one resolution for the issue. Hybrid procedure returns MUN to its original spirit: diplomacy, collaboration, and solving world issues.
International court of justice
YMUN XLIV will feature our inaugural International Court of Justice. In this unique judicial body, delegates will get the chance to debate a real contentious case in the ICJ and will serve as either advocates or judges. This committee will be assembled through applications. Applications can be found under "Registration" on the "Form, Applications, and Documents" page of the website.
New Delegate Committee
In line with our mission to educate, YMUN XLIII will offer a New Delegate Committee, UNICEF, for delegates who have just entered the world of MUN. With a focus on optimizing learning outcomes, the New Delegate Committee will equip delegates with the skills to succeed in future committees in a challenging and fun environment. Applications can be found on the "Form, Applications, and Documents" page of the website.
United Nations Security Council
For our most seasoned delegates, YMUN offers the application-based United Nations Security Council. UNSC provides delegates with the most dynamic committee experience: engage with the best delegates on the circuit, learn from our most experienced Chairs and debate in a high-intensity, high-stakes setting. To facilitate mentorship and the learning experience, this year’s UNSC committee will be Chaired in rotation by senior members of our Secretariat Committees team.
Admission into this committee will be competitive to ensure the highest quality debate and to encourage a deep focus in content-driven debate. Applications can be found on the "Form, Applications, and Documents" page of the website.
The General Assembly committees are the largest of YMUN and some of the most intense. This year's committees will be unprecedented in their scope and substance. In addition to requiring research from delegates, these committees will be the ultimate test of delegates' ability to share their ideas and work with other delegates. To ensure the best experience for delegates, GA committees will have a maximum of 100 delegates.
+ DISEC (Disarmament and International Security Committee)
Chairs: Adam Gerard & Nicholas Religa
Topic 1: South China Sea The South China has been an area of territorial contention in recent years. Several countries have made territorial claims over the regions islands and maritime boundaries have been disputed. Different nations are interested in the region for varying issues, which include fishing rights, exploitation of the oil and natural gas reserves that are suspected to be present, and shipping lanes. The People’s Republic of China and Taiwan both claim the region as entirely theirs, while other countries claim different pieces of the sea as their own, creating a very complicated situation in which nine different countries are claiming different and overlapping pieces as their own. This committee will be tasked with the responsibility of trying to understand the root cause of the dispute and an understanding of the different areas of dispute within the South China Sea. The committee will then be tasked with bringing about a solution to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea in a peaceful manner!
Topic 2: Biological and Chemical Weapons In August 2012, US president Barack Obama made a statement that if the Syrian regime were to use chemical weapons, it would be crossing a “red line” that would cause the United States to intervene in the conflict. However, when it came to light that the Syrian regime had indeed used chemical weapons, which have been outlawed since the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, Obama did not act immediately. Chemical weapons are especially fatal due to their long-term effects on those it did not intend to harm. Like chemical weapons, biological weapons can have similar long term effects, but instead of using chemicals, pathogens and organisms are the active agents. Biological weapons were outlawed in 1972, with the rationale that using them would likely result in high numbers of civilian casualties. This committee will be tasked with trying to build an international solution to building a protocol for action if chemical or biological weapons are found to have been used.
+ ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Committee)
Chairs: Aman Kabeer & Jack Hilder
Topic 1: Geopolitics of Fossil Fuels First developed into a major energy source during the Industrial Revolution, oil has rapidly turned into our primary source for fuel and as such has taken on an increasingly large role in the global economic sphere. Since its development into a major energy source, oil has become the driving force in many countries' economies, most notably Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, Angola, and Kuwait. Recently, the effects of pollution created by using oil as our primary source of fuel have sparked intense discussion and action towards a transition to alternative, or cleaner, energy sources. As a result, many of these oil-dependent nations have realized a time limit on their economic dependency on oil, and have to think of ways to maintain a strong, functioning economy despite such a high reliance on an expiring fuel source.
Topic 2: Tax Avoidance and the World of Dark Money Exposing billions of dollars from some of the world’s most powerful individuals lying hidden in offshore accounts, the “Panama Papers” leak of private legal documents, beginning in April of 2016, awakened the world to the truth of global tax avoidance. The political and economic spider web that is tax avoidance touches every corner of global policy, threatening to sharpen income inequality, hamper efforts at international financial regulation, and allow dangerous criminals to cloak income in a veil of secrecy. The perils of letting the rise of this so-called “dark money” continue are tremendous. Developed countries cannot meaningfully redistribute wealth if their most prosperous citizens are hiding income overseas, while small developing nations will never grow into diversified economies if their tax systems are continually abused. Tax avoidance is the thousand-pound gorilla in the modern global economy, and it will be the duty of delegates for ECOFIN 2016 to confront this issue, and forge meaningful, consensus-based solutions to the thorniest problems posed by dark money.
+ SOCHUM (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee)
Chairs: Mike Yoon & Victoria Loo
Topic 1: Improving Women's Reproductive Rights For many years, traditional cultural practices on women around the world have continued to be a prevalent harm to the health and status of women. Many times, women are subjected to different forms of sexual subordination or traditional practices that are in clear violation of women’s basic human rights. These practices such as female infanticide, child marriages, genital mutilation, and virginity tests continue to be large threats to women’s safety to this day. At the core of SOCHUM’s mission is to advance universal human rights to protect against discrimination, a key value of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are calling upon for a greater reinforcement of existing fundamental human rights, standards, and principles for women. And with that, most of all, equal and deserving respect for women in all societies.
Topic 2: Protecting Workers' Rights in Developing Countries Developed and developing countries such as the United States, European Union member nations, and China have become by far Africa’s biggest trading partner, exchanging about $160 billion-worth of goods a year. With this increase in trade, countries in Africa and Southeast Asia are experiencing record influxes of corporations from these countries. These transnational firms contract locals for their low cost of labor, however workers in these less developed countries are vulnerable. Workers are often minors, forced to work in unsanitary conditions, and often times not paid the promised amount due to the lack of worker’s rights and protections. The committee will seek to developing a standardized workers’ rights platforms to be adopted in countries that lack it and will emphasize practical solutions to protecting worker’s rights.
+ SPECPOL (Special Political and Decolonization Committee)
Chairs: Rebecca Persson & Anjali Bery
Topic 1: The Situation in Kashmir The Kashmir Conflict is an ongoing, highly volatile dispute between India and Pakistan (and to a limited degree, China) that has resulted in three wars and a plethora of violent skirmishes. Primarily centered on conflicting territorial claims, the situation has largely been unresolved, with the state of local autonomy left ambiguous. Peace initiatives were attempted in July of 2000, with a tentative framework formulated for reconciliation. Yet, unresolved differences, deeply-rooted insecurities and skepticism and the 2013 secret hanging of the surviving members responsible for the Mumbai attacks led to the reversal of such attempts towards reconcilement. This committee will be tasked with the responsibility of discerning the primary root causes of conflict that has catalyzed years of hostility and violence. The committee will then have to produce a viable, comprehensive solution to this predicament that has plagued the world for decades.
Topic 2: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict The Israeli-Palestinian conflict extends farther back in history than the United Nations itself. Israel, the world’s only Jewish nation, lies situated in the Middle East situated east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians, the Arab population that originates from the land Israel now controls, refer to this territory as Palestine, and want to establish their state over this disputed territory. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is over who gets which pieces of land and how it's controlled. Many tend to think of this issue as a matter of stubborn personalities, entrenched religious ideologies and tragic cycles of violence to which a solution remains elusive. The reality remains that the situation in the Middle East is fraught with uncertainty. The intense conflict and various internal pressures of both sides means that the peace process requires help from the international community in order to move forward. The United Nations and SPECPOL will be tasked with finding a comprehensive solution to resolving the conflict.
+ Legal Committee
Chair: Arvin Anoop
Topic 1: Establishing a Legal Framework for the Use of Military Drones As drone technology becomes more prevalent, its applications have begun to extend into every field and industry. Of particular concern is the use of military drone technology. With the push of a button, a drone flying over a certain region can target and destroy individuals, habitations, and strategic military sites. The lack of casualties from the drone-using nation has significantly reduced the costs of using drones. This committee will seek to regulate the use of drone technology in order to ensure that the relative facility of employing drones does not result in lower standards for using military aggression, that civilian casualties are minimized, and to ensure that civilian drones are regulated so that they are not modified for military use.
Topic 2: Countering Terrorism through International and Domestic Legislation The global threat of terrorism continues to be one of the most significant obstacles in ensuring global peace and security. With the massive immigration of refugees from the Middle East into Europe, the threat that terrorists may pose as refugees in order to infiltrate a nation is high. This committee seeks to establish both domestic and international legislation to minimize terrorist’s capabilities. The committee will focus both on strategic military and regional body legislation, as well as diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives to curb terrorism.
+ UNSCD (United Nations Special Conference on Drugs)
Chairs: Stephanie Smelyansky & Lauren Ribordy
Topic 1: The Illicit Sale and Use of Legal Drugs Certain drugs, such as antitussives and painkillers, are incredibly valuable to the medical profession, but they also have a high propensity to be misused. Commonly prescribed medications are often addictive and provide similar effects to the numbing effect of alcohol or the high of marijuana. Legal drug abuse is so prevalent that legal drug overdoses now contribute to more deaths in the US than cocaine or heroin overdoses. As such, the illicit use of legal drugs is a pressing issue worldwide due to the accessibility and ease of use.
Topic 2: The Global Cocaine Trade Cocaine is infamous for its strong affect and criminality with its influence expanding across the globe. Cocaine trading routes span entire continents and often heavily affect the geopolitics of a region. Drug cartels are commonly multinational organizations that hold significant sway in local communities as well as in target communities where their products are sold. Thus, the global community and the UN Special Committee on Drugs in particular are concerned with the political, social, and economic ramifications of the cocaine trade, which they seek to stymie.
Economic and Social Councils
The ECOSOCs are mid-sized committees (maximum 80 delegates) that offer a middle ground between the intimate, intense settings of the smaller committees and the diverse, dynamic nature of larger committees. This year, we are featuring many new ECOSOC committees that broaden the range of issues to involve human rights protections, scientific advancement, criminal justice and economic development. Delegates will challenge each other to think deeply about resolving not only global concerns, but also individual nations’ roles in an increasingly global world.
+ UNDP (UN Development Programme)
Chair: Jason Hu
Topic A: Children's Rights In 1989, the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provided the framework for recognizing the human dignity of children and adolescents, establishing that families, communities, and states are the guarantors of children’s rights. Despite much progress over the past few years, many children still live in poor conditions: persistent poverty, social inequality, and social exclusion, all of which directly impact their welfare. As such, the UNDP must take action to improve the conditions in which the children of the world live.
Topic B: Chronic Poverty Reduction in Rural Areas With over 702 million people below the poverty line globally and one in nine people not having enough to eat, combatting worldwide poverty can seem difficult. And while the issue of poverty is ubiquitous--both rural and urban--there is no doubt that rural populations are deeply affected by chronic poverty as most of the world’s poorest live in rural areas. Therefore, many argue that poverty alleviations programs in rural areas are the first step in reducing global poverty and are pivotal to combating the larger issue. Implementing these programs, however, first requires that the overall environment (infrastructure, government services, security) is secure. Therefore, the UNDP should establish guidelines on promoting these conditions and regulations on when areas are stable enough for the aforementioned programs to begin. Once there is a suitable environment, the UNDP must decide which program(s) to implement. Key areas of focus, as already established by the UNDP and other UN bodies, are education, skill-building, empowering women, and strengthening community-based organizations. Thus the UNDP seeks to build a framework for countries to follow to address rural poverty that focuses on those key issues both within and outside their borders.
+ WHO (World Health Organization)
Chairs: William Cheung & Monica Trallieno
Topic 1: Combating Emerging Infectious Diseases As communities throughout the globe mobilize in efforts to exchange perspectives, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture for the sake of rapid innovation, society has become more interconnected than ever before. Despite the accelerated advancements within our communities, society remains vulnerable to certain persistent threats, such as infectious disease, which poses an unparalleled threat to the welfare of society on not only a public health level, but also a socioeconomic one. Globalization often leads to under-planned expansion of urban areas, rapid population shifts, and weakened healthcare infrastructures, which provides the ideal landscape for the spread of disease to new geographic regions, the emergence of new infections, and the reemergence of old infections in newly resistant forms. Since the 1970s, emerging disease have been identified at unprecedented rates. In fact, there are now nearly forty diseases that were unknown just a generation ago. These diseases pose a distinct threat to individuals of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses, for, as scientists struggle to swiftly develop strategies to combat the disease, entire communities are left vulnerable. Therefore, the WHO seeks to develop a framework to continue surveillance, improve research and training strategies, develop better facilities, and strengthen healthcare systems to combat emerging diseases and safeguard the future prosperity of society.
Topic 2: Distribution of Pharmaceuticals in Developing Countries Unreliable sanitation resources, poor nutrition, and faulty healthcare infrastructures plague many developing countries, forcing their populations into a state of perpetual disease. These nations must then depend on pharmaceuticals as their primary defense mechanism. Although approximately 80% of the world's population lives in these developing nations, they only account for 20% of the consumption of pharmaceutical products, revealing a discrepancy in which poor nations face a disproportionate burden of disease. There are many obstacles in the distribution of pharmaceuticals in developing countries, one of which is access. Corruption and inefficiency can and often does occur at any point in the distribution chain, from ordering medicines from larger companies to consistently distributing pharmaceuticals to patients. The perpetual vulnerability generated by lack of proper pharmaceutical distribution greatly hinders nations from reaching their development potential; therefore, efforts must be made to focus on researching affordable pharmaceutical production and to discover more effective methods of reaching individuals within communities that lack a successfully established healthcare infrastructure.
+ UNEP (UN Environment Programme)
Chairs: Eric Margolis & Deline Lee
Topic 1: Sustainable Development Goals for Climate Change The landmark definition of sustainable development, as defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In the 21st century, countless societal obstacles threaten the planet of present and future generations, including mass deforestation, socially and economically crippling levels of pollution, and rising rates of climate change, which has become an exponentially devastating reality. In response to these mounting threats, UNEP wields the incredible ability to utilize the resources of nations around the globe and create a united plan for environmental defense. At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, the UN met to set the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Among other goals, this Agenda aims to protect the planet’s resources through sustainable consumption and production, strengthen global solidarity, and foster peaceful societies free from the threat of environmental destruction. Whether we meet these goals or not depends on the ways in which state leaders balance the four interconnected domains of ecology, economics, politics and culture. In this committee we will discuss the ways in which UNEP can best promote sustainable development within and between nations today in order to preserve a clean, healthy, thriving planet for tomorrow.
Topic 2: Urban Development Sustainability One of the most important areas of focus for countering climate change, especially for developing countries, lies in cities. Cities cause more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, while 54% of the world’s population lives in cities today, the UN reports that this number is expected to expand to 66% by 2050, with 90% of the increase occurring in Africa and Asia. Developing countries have incredible challenges but also opportunities to improve economic and environmental quality of life and combat climate change through smart urban development. The U.N. is in need of a concrete, detailed framework that outlines how developing and developed nations can build and expand cities capable of reducing emissions and dealing with issues of air pollution, water quality, energy needs, agriculture and food production, and infrastructure and transportation. The cities of the future will have to deal with the ever-changing conditions brought on by climate change, by anticipating and adapting to more storms, rising sea levels, and climate refugees. Through discussion of this topic, the UNEP will create concrete solutions that cities around the world can adopt to fight and live with climate change.
+ UN WOMEN
Chairs: Jake Colavolpe & Stephen Mettler
Topic 1: Intimate Partner Violence Though arguably hidden from the mass media, intimate partner violence (IPV) is grievously prevalent in almost every country, including those on either extreme of the developmental spectrum. The majority of these case are perpetrated by men against women, but it is not uncommon to hear of situations outside of this convention. In 2012, the UN report that 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family, and despite the fact that 2/3 of all countries have outlawed domestic violence, only 52 countries have explicitly criminalized rape within marriage. Regulations, however, are not enough. There has to be a worldwide restructuring of how governments deal with IPV: from eradicating local stigmas to re-energizing national campaigns and grassroots programs that promote healthy relationships within households. This committee, therefore, will deal not only with the harm that IPV inflicts upon its victims (such as adverse effects in health, education, and unemployment), but how to strengthen younger generations in upholding gender equality and social justice.
Topic 2: Women in Government In light of globalization and rise in standards of living worldwide, the increase in women’s political participation has been marginal, which is upsetting because the percentage of women in national legislature has become a new standard measuring a country’s achievements. Though there have been in reforms in many nations, they is still lingering disparity between women in government and women in society. This can be seen on the local, regional, and national levels. As of 2015, 11 women have served as Head of State and 10 have served as Head of Government. This committee will take command of how women can take greater responsibility in their State. Regional differences are high, with European countries doing the best in terms of seeing an increase in female participation, and the Pacific countries offering the least amount of proportional representation. Regardless, it is important to note that different social situations in areas such as the Middle East maybe inhibit women from obtaining governmental positions. Moreover, developing countries will be paid special attention to since the building strong foundations for democracy must encourage the activeness of women citizens. Things to consider for debate are how to give women greater access and legitimacy in political participations. What repercussions do geography, education, and warfare have? How can we continue to see more female leaders of state?
+ UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees)
Chairs: Lily Wu & Nitya Rayapati
Topic 1: Reallocation and Reintegration of Refugees Media coverage has focused on refugees entering Europe-- according to the EU statistics agency, 1.26 million people applied for asylum in the EU in 2015. But the current crisis also involves refugees entering countries like US and Turkey-- it is a global problem. When refugees enter countries in large numbers, they are likely to encounter broken systems that involve overcrowded camps and general hostility. The UN needs a framework and plan for how refugees should be allocated. How should the UN work with countries receiving refugees to develop a more functional asylum system? Should countries be required to take in refugees to meet quotas based on the resources they have to provide for refugees? This committee will focus on creating policy that works to redistribute refugees in the best way possible.
Topic 2: Macroeconomic Impact of Refugees Anti-immigration sentiment has historically stemmed from citizens’ fear of economic and social competition. Therefore, it is important that we examine the economic impact of new arrived refugees in different countries. From 1991 to 2008, refugees in Denmark did take the jobs of low-educated natives, but rather than becoming statically unemployed, those natives obtained higher-skilled, often higher paying jobs (Foged & Peri). Similarly, refugees in Turkey have taken low-education, agricultural jobs, coinciding with an increase in higher-paid native employment rates (IMF 2016). The IMF predicts that newly arrived refugees in Europe will contribute to higher GDPs in the future. Will these patterns and predictions play out in the European Union? If they haven’t, why not? After research and analysis, the UNHCR should be better able to implement policy that meets the needs of both refugees and host country economies.
+ UNESCO (UN Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization)
Chairs: Mikaela Rabb & Yasmeen Akonou
Topic 1: Educating Marginalized Communities: Women In 2013, an estimated 31 million primary aged girls and 32 million secondary age girls were out of school. Despite recent progress, young girls continue to suffer severe disadvantages and exclusion from the education system. Lack of education creates a vicious cycle for women and girls worldwide, often making them more vulnerable to economic, political, and social discrimination. Education is often the root of many other social issues like health, human rights abuses, sexual trafficking, and gender-based violence. Beyond just the impact on females, educational inequality hinders growth for a nation, particularly economically. While globally there has been a greater push to encourage girls to attend school with greater legal norms, many structural barriers still remain linked to girls marginalized position within society. Within the Millennium Development Goals, Goal 3 aimed to promote gender equality, specifically targeting education. Though there have been successes, there is still much more to be desired. As members of UNESCO, we are tasked with understanding these structural barriers and creating concrete solutions to address them. Particularly as this is a pressing and relevant issue for our generation, we hope to utilize our perspectives as students to think critically about these issues.
Topic 2: Educating Marginalized Communities: Refugees Nearly 50 million people have been forced to leave their homes behind, a phenomenon that impedes their chances to adapt to new host societies. As part of this integration, the urgency to provide greater access to education is at the forefront of refugee communities around the world. However such access is extremely limited, inconsistent and underfunded, especially as one considers the larger emphasis placed on providing these individuals with the basics - food, water and shelter. Particularly among refugees, better quality and more comprehensive education is a necessity. This is especially true for the vulnerable young women and subpar secondary programs in these areas of displacement. As the year 2030 approaches, the United Nations’ 4th Sustainable Development Goal to guarantee “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” only gains importance. Therefore, our committee aims to explore ways in which UNESCO may not only improve upon but also expand such education possibilities within refugee communities worldwide.
+ UNICEF (UN Children's Fund) -- New Delegate Committee
Chairs: Alison Primak & Nikola Habloud
Topic 1: The Use of Child Soldiers in Armed Conflicts In the last fifteen years, there has been a considerable rise in the amount of young children recruited as soldiers for military campaigns. While it is impossible to define an exact number, thousands of child soldiers can be found in almost every region in the world and within both sides of an armed conflict. Some children are under ten years old, forced to become part of the military as a means of survival and protection. Others join it voluntarily, hoping to find some sense of community in the absence of a stable home. Though UNICEF previously called for the “systematic demobilization” of all child soldiers, it is currently seeking to address the challenges of implementing its policies. Though several countries, like Yemen and South Sudan, have signed an action plan committing themselves to the eradication of child soldiers as a practice, they have failed to align their domestic legislation with international norms of fairness and humanity. With this problem in mind, this committee will consider how UNICEF may improve its strategies to implement its initiatives more effectively in countries wrought with internal conflict.
Topic 2: Combating Child Labor in Developing Counties Child labor is prevalent worldwide, but it is most commonly instituted throughout developing countries. According to the ILO’s Statistical Information and Monitoring Program on Child Labor, over 211 million children are economically active worldwide. This means about 18% of children aged 5-14 are subject to labor on a frequent or even daily basis. The consequences of child labor do not only constitute long hours spent working before a child reaches working-age, but there are also physical and social repercussions that child workers are exposed to-- disabilities, death, and disadvantages. Not only can children be subject to manual labor and harsh working conditions, but they are also subject to verbal abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse that take on many different forms. In most severe instances, children can experience disabling/fatal work accidents, and children can also be forced into child prostitution. Finally, many underage laborers are put at an educational disadvantage, barring them from social mobility later on in life. The leading causes of underage labor worldwide are low income, poverty, and poor educational institutions. This committee will consider changes that can be made to prevent the exploitation of children as underage and forced laborers, whether through UNICEF or within developing countries’ own political frameworks.
Regional Bodies represent a fresh style of committee – small-to-medium sized, each with their own regional focus – that surely won’t disappoint. Featuring both traditional and non-traditional UN committees, this year’s Regional Bodies will undoubtedly keep delegates on their toes as they are confronted with some of the most pressing issues of past history and the modern day specific to particular regions. Our seven incredible Regional Bodies are distinct in their focus, select in their representation, and direct in their goal.
+ ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
Chair: Yixuan Yang & Larry Fulton
Topic 1: Targeting Human Trafficking and Forced Labor in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia has long been an epicenter of human trafficking, supplying, receiving and serving as a transit hub for the illegal buying and selling of persons into forced labor and exploitation. Not only is trafficked labor a huge part of the region's underground economy, it often plays an open role in industries such as the sex trade, which are integral to the tourism industry of countries like Thailand and Cambodia. The roots of the problem are complex, ranging from an increased demand for cheap labor in the region and the desire for upward mobility to enforcement issues, such as a dearth of accurate monitoring measures and rampant political corruption. All these intersect in a region where the population is especially vulnerable to trafficking whilst authorities lack the will or capacity to clamp down on such criminal acts. In debating this issue, the association aims to determine how multilateral regional cooperation can work to stem the flow of trafficked labor, identify and protect victims of trafficking as well as punish offenders, ultimately curbing the flagrant proliferation of human trafficking in the region.
Topic 2: Reviewing ASEAN's Regulation of Transboundary Haze With rapidly growing economies, modernizing workforces, and some of the largest and most highly concentrated population centers in the world, Southeast Asia is -- and will continue to be -- uniquely susceptible to environmental threats in coming years. Since a series of environmental crises in the 1990's, the ASEAN has already taken steps to curtail its production of greenhouse gases. Since 2014, all ASEAN states have agreed to regulation of Transboundary Haze. Yet, as the "haze" returns annually, many question whether or not current regulation is enough. ASEAN, in discussion of this issue, will have to balance concern for the health of the environment and its people with implications for its rapidly emerging economies. How the ASEAN moves forward in its agreements on Transboundary Haze could shape the lives of Southeast Asian people for generations to come.
+ AU (African Union)
Chairs: Desmond Amuh & Timothy Rawlinson
Topic 1: The Situation in Libya Libya is the Middle East’s unsolved puzzle. Libya has yet to achieve stable governance following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The African Union has a crucial role to play in shaping Libya’s future. The AU must decide which of the two competing governments to support, and how to respond to a country increasingly controlled by militias and Islamist groups. The AU is also faced with the growing humanitarian crisis in Libya. 400,000 people have been internally displaced with the country, with another 150,000 fleeing Libya, with many going to neighboring African Union countries. AU is also faced with the difficulty of implementing policy where there is no rule of law, no stable governance, and totally flexible borders.
Topic 2: Combatting HIV/AIDS Sub-Sarharan Africa has the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world. Of the 37 million people living with HIV worldwide, two-thirds (25.8 million) live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the 2014 UNAIDS Report. The political and economic landscape of the region presents varying obstacles to tackle the epidemic. In this committee, we will focus our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and provide adequate treatment for those affected. To combat the epidemic, a long-term task that required sustained effort from both regional governments and the international community.
+ Arab League
Chair: Ana Barros & Patrick Peoples
Topic 1: Education in the Arab World Historically, the Arab League has had some of the world's worst educational conditions. Today, it remains the part of the world with the lowest literacy rate, well below the average among developing nations. In 2000, the UN deemed educational improvement to be one of its millennium development goals and a primary method for raising socioeconomic status, gender equality, and overall health. This committee will look at different aspects of public education in the Arab League, as well as specific groups that are in particular risk: women and refugees.
Topic 2: Refugee Crisis The Arab League is currently facing the issue of an unprecedented population of refugees fleeing Syria. There are an estimated 5 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries such as Lebanon where 20% of the population is asylum seekers. More than one million refugees have applied for asylum in Europe and countless more are arriving every day, including those who have not registered. The European migrant crisis has dominated headlines this year, but many of the worst effects of the 5 year long Syrian conflict are being felt in the Middle East, as neighboring countries (Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, etc.) bear most of the weight of this humanitarian disaster. This committee will attempt to find solutions to both address the underlying problems as well as help the current refugees in the region.
+ EU (European Union)
Chairs: Katherine Kidney & Varsha Midha
Topic 1: Domestic Counterterrorism The EU Committee will tackle national security this year. This includes several facets that will cause all countries to have meaningful interaction with each other. National security encompasses international intelligence sharing and terrorism within the EU, as well as the flow of refugees and migrants. For certain countries, the role of Russia is more relevant. Explore these issues and more in the timely EU committee.
Topic 2: Combatting Climate Change Building off of the progress made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), the EU will come together to discuss further actions that it can make as a body to address climate change, one of the greatest threats to both the region and the world. As one of the technological and intellectual centers of the world, the EU should be at the forefront of any solution to this pressing problem. This committee will map out ways to most effectively and realistically address the problem, and it will go beyond the steps taken by the national summits.
+ OAS (Organization of American States)
Chairs: Jaden Morales & Michelle Santos
Topic 1: LGBTQ+ Rights From Brazil's 'homocaust' to Argentina's Proceso National, a dirty war on gays, to Colombia's "cleansing" policy, Latin America was once known as one of the most hostile areas in the world for the LGBTQ+ community. However, through decades of extreme pressure and shaming by activist groups and by the international community, Latin America now stands among the most progressive regions of LGBTQ+ rights. Yet many of the countries in Latin America still lack LGBTQ+ rights and Latin America still exists within a strange paradox, where despite the legal progression, attitudes and the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community is still just as hostile as the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
Topic 2: Rights of Indigenous Peoples For many years the indigenous populations in Latin America have experienced inequality, persecution, discrimination, and more. It was only more recently in history that the United Nations began emphasizing the importance of indigenous peoples, yet many countries in Latin America still have not updated their laws to include the protection of indigenous human rights, indigenous land, and indigenous intellectual property. Addressing environmental and human rights violations, delegates will attempt to modernize and evaluate the effectiveness of old policies.
+ Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary-General
Chairs: Alexandra Lombardo & Stella Woo
“Those who will lead the future must understand China today.” Stephen Schwarzman, Yale '69
The Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary-General is a fast paced and intense committee intended for experienced delegates. The topic of the committee will be confidential until shortly before the conference, forcing delegates to think on their feet. Delegates will be expected to adapt quickly to a multitude of different crises. Ultimately, our goal is for the Ad-Hoc Committee to be one of YMUN's most challenging and exciting committees.
+ Islamabad Reconciliation
Chairs: Salaar Shaik & Kartik Srivastava
The 1971 Islamabad Reconciliation Forum is set in most tense and tumultuous time in the history of the South Asian subcontinent. More than 20 years after independence from British rule and the partition into India and Pakistan, several simmering grievances and hostilities in the region are brought to the fore immediately after the Pakistan General Elections in 1970. Conflicts over regional and national identities and questions of religion and language are exacerbated by the split of economic resources in Pakistan, as there is a growing armed movement calling for a split in the nation. The situation is further complicated by the presence of India and the hostile relationship between the two nations in the past 20 years. Additionally, there is the looming threat of the Cold War, with the eyes of the world on the subcontinent. Come and step into the shoes of the biggest leaders on either side of the border, as they address this challenge and seek a peaceful resolution—this is a unique opportunity to script the history of the South Asian subcontinent!
Specialized Committees at YMUN give students an opportunity to discuss topics in an engaging, imaginative, spontaneous and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. One of the main unique qualities of specialized committees is that, with an average of 20 delegates, they are much smaller than General Assemblies, ECOSOCs and Regional Bodies. This small atmosphere leads to very lively debates, which force delegates to react quickly and engage fully in the topics being discussed. YMUN XLIII’s Specialized Committees cover a wide range of topics, time periods and regions.
*Participation in UNSC and requires submitting an application. Click here for the application. All applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and the deadline is October 5, 2016.
+ United Nations Security Council*
Chairs: Haben Grebrewahed & David Jiang
Topic 1: Situation in the Republic of Turkey
The United Nations Security Council is the organ that is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Ever since Syria fell into turmoil, massive amounts of refugees have tried to move into Turkey, generating rising external pressures from the world community. Internally, Turkey continues to recover from the global economic recession. At the request of NATO, the UNSC is called into emergency session after the Turkish government dissolves parliament due to extreme internal imbalance and external pressures. Keyhole satellite images show possible troop movements from Syria. This is a Crisis Committee.
Topic 2: Convention on Cybersecurity
Cyber security, also referred to as IT security, focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unintended or unauthorized access, change or destruction. Ever since the advent of the Internet, human interconnectedness and interdependency has increased at an exponential factor. Many security experts now fear attacks on our informational infrastructure from state and nonstate actors alike, either during both war and peacetime. Diverse in their targets, their arsenal, and their scope of damage, cyber attacks present a new and unprecedented threat to governments, businesses, and individuals, regardless of location, industry, or identity. A recent example, the Stuxnet worm, targeted Iranian nuclear centrifuges to limit their capacity to develop nuclear weapons. The UNSC will debate a resolution that seeks to limit the use of cyber warfare and impose possible penalties.
Applications available on May 16th, 2016 2
+ Cuban Cabinet
Chairs: Sarah Wilkens & Nicolas Jimenez
Topic 1: The Bay of Pigs Invasion
This committee will begin on April 18, 1960, (the day after the Bay of Pigs Invasion), and will model a fictional special meeting between Castro’s advisors, U.S. business and government officials and representatives from other nations with an interest in U.S.-Cuba relations during the Cold War. Delegates will be tasked with vouching for their own interests and trying to control the peace after the failed invasion, and trying to mend relations between the two nations. Given the current global stakes, there is a lot riding on the outcome of this meeting.
Topic 2: Reintegration into OAS
Set in January 2017, this committee will be comprised of the same advisory panel that debated the Bay of Pigs 60 years earlier. However, instead of dealing with rising tensions, the committee will simulate the debate over reassimilation into the Organization of American States (OAS). Delegates will discuss how to modernize Cuba in terms of health care, infrastructure, and social liberties. As the Cuban people and world leaders watch the evolution of this debate, the decisions reached by this committee will change the shape of modern Cuba.
+ WWII Japanese Advisory Panel
Chairs: Sophia Catsambi & Henry Loughlin
Topic 1: The Legal Proceedings of Emperor Hirohito
At the end of WW2, with both Hitler and Mussolini dead, the villainous cast of the Axis Powers is pared down to a single scapegoat: Emperor Hirohito. The victors are left with lingering questions of what to do with Japan’s head of State. While the world is thirsty for retribution after the devastation brought about by the Axis powers, Hirohito’s role is not as clearly defined as those of other Axis leaders, such as Hitler. Moreover, on a broader scope, the world must consider the implications of trying a current head of state for crimes committed during a time of war. This committee will address Hirohito’s contentious role in WWII and will assess whether or not the international community can pass judgement on the decisions that he made during the course of the war.
Topic 2: The Reintegration of Post WWII Japan
The war has ended, but tensions have not subsided between the Axis and Allies, mere months after the surrender of the Imperial Japanese Army in August. After victimizing large swathes of East Asia, Japan is left with more bitter enemies than advocates. The government of Japan certainly has crimes to answer for, but what degree of blame can fairly rest upon the populace after such a total, nationally involved war? Are reparations in order, or would it be more prudent to stimulate the broken Japanese war machine into a functional participant in the global economy? In four years, the Japanese economy has been utterly decimated and approximately 72 million people were left without a reliable source of income. The world needs an answer: what is Japan’s role in the game of global power in the early throes of a post-WWII world, and who will shape it?
+ Advisory Panel on União Reform
Chairs: Catherine Falls & Michael Borgers
Topic 1: Presidential Succession
A nation in crisis. A president at the end of her reign. Following President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, many people question her succession and the future of democracy in Brazil. With critics on a national and international scale, Brazil’s government is under intense scrutiny as one of the most influential countries in the region. This committee will address the issues of Brazil’s democratic process, the opposing factions of reformers and established elites, and the corruption plaguing the government at every level. With corporate leaders, cabinet members, and reformers vying for control of the government, who will lead Brazil into the future?
Topic 2: Real Reform in Politics
As the world’s seventh largest economy and the largest economy in South America, Brazil's economic health is imperative for both its international economic reputation as a BRIC nation and its small-scale development. Its astounding economic growth is coupled with astonishing poverty, an issue that has plagued Brazil for decades. From the crude semi-privatization of Brazilian industries back in the 1990s to the current Petrobras scandal, the Brazilian economy, Brazil’s politics are notoriously intertwined with Brazilian economics. What problems lie between the poverty of the favela, and the lavish stadiums of the World Cup? How can they be addressed, and what are the limitations of a governmental panel mired by corruption and the Brazilian Political Machine? This committee will have the unique responsibility to address this rising crisis and save the Brazilian economy from collapse, and the Brazilian people from its corrupt government.
+ Roman Senate
Chairs: Zander Mitchell & Morgan Luc-Hander
Topic 1: Restoring Order to the Republic
Widespread mob violence and economic instability plague the streets of Rome in 50BCE. With recent attempts at government overthrow having come to light, the Republic is at its highest point of tension since the end of the Social War thirty years ago. The strength of Rome and her provinces must be restored if the Republic is to be saved from imminent downfall. It is more important now than ever to put aside partisan disagreement in favor of preserving the Republic; optimates and populares alike will have to unite under the banner of the Senate of Rome. The delegates of the Roman Senate will be tasked with implementing policy to mitigate the discord in the city and to outline a plan for moving forward.
Topic 2: Caesar's Claims to Power
It has been eight years since the beginning of Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul, and the general has reached territories from the British Isles to the Rhine. The people of Rome have been kept up to date through Caesar’s serial publication of Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, and he maintains widespread popularity throughout the Republic. How much power can one man be allowed to attain? The Senate of Rome must consider how to manage Caesar’s rising popularity and decide whether to temper the general’s claims to authority. Debate must take place now, lest the die be cast.
International Court of Justice
Delegates in the International Court of Justice will engage in high-level debate about international law and work to address some of the international community's most pressing legal issues. This year’s Court will address Whaling in the Antarctic, Australia’s 2010 suit against Japan’s large-scale scientific whaling program. Though possessing scientific whaling permits under Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Japan received criticism from states and NGOs alike for its disregard of protected whale populations and the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem. Throughout the conference, delegates will confront the challenges and ambiguities of environmental conservation and produce a decision grounded in international law.
The Press Corps promises to provide a unique opportunity where delegates experience international relations through the lenses of the world’s most influential news outlets. Press Corps delegates will be closely engaged with all committees, moving from debate to debate to cover and even potentially affect the outcomes of the committees at YMUN. Delegates will ultimately provide media coverage of all action at YMUN and gain a comprehensive view of the economic, social, and political states of the countries represented at YMUN XLIV.
At YMUN, we encourage all delegates to submit position papers to their Committee Chairs. To be eligible for awards, each delegate is responsible for submitting one position paper for each of the committee's topics by the January 8th deadline (seniors may submit their position papers by January 10th). Your Chair emails can be found in your committee's delegate guide, and more information about what YMUN position papers should look like can be found in the Resources section of our website. Please do not hesitate to contact your Chairs or firstname.lastname@example.org with any further questions.