Some people see the glass half full, others see it half empty, and a few see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be. It is said that life is ever too many perspectives welded together, it is the purpose of this article to provide you, dear reader, a peripheral perspective of the International Press Corps.
As the first of the three vibrant days, that I spent as a guest amidst the IPC, draws to a close, If I had to pick one word to describe the atmosphere behind the closed doors of the International Press Corps, it would be ‘authentic’
In all fairness, it is a fact that this entire conference is simulative in nature, and is based on a copy of a placeworthy example, but the experience of the International Press Corps is indeed one of a kind.
I have never seen a group of misfits akin to all of us here at The Link who could be completely random at times, but could also be so efficient as to print an entire newsletter within a single day.
The people at the IPC are extra weird, extra crazy, extra whacky and extra eccentric. But they are also extra nice, extra caring, extra efficient and extra special.
It has indeed been a privilege working with the IPC, the sixth session of Sri Lanka Model United Nations has indeed been the best I’ve ever had.
Chiranthi, Panchali, Tehani – you can’t kill me now because I’ve included your names in the article
Isuru, Kavindu, Sarah – you guys are the best at what you do, the most ‘efficient children’
Amber, Rishika – even though you guys don’t talk a lot, it has been an absolute adventure working with you guys
Kishin – Ive had known you for so long and written so many sketches of you, im just going to shut up.
Clifford – He’s bad with names, but hes an incredible addition to the IPC ( Saarah J )
Bulletins, Newsletters and Articles couldn’t get any better; The IPC 2013 is truly one of a kind.
Reported by – Clifford Issac
The second day of conference in GA2 began with a rather somber role call. The serious-looking delegates sat waiting for the resolutions to be discussed. The resolution debated in the morning was on the topic ‘Restructuring the IMF and WTO and evalution of the Dola Round of talks.’ The delegate of Bosnia, a sponsor of the first resolution debated today, explained about the BDB stating that it was not a replacement of the IMF but acts as another choice eliminates problems with the IMF though it is controversial with some nations and helps countries with their domestic industries. The subject of the formation of an observation body by the UN to look over the transactions carried by the IMF was brought up in an operative clause and delegate brought up the importance of this as it helps prevent fraud and corruption. The delegate of Greece, another sponsor of the said resolution, told the house ‘’the reason we are here is to make the world a better place and this resolution will help this. Therefore, I urge the house t vote for this resolution.’’ The delegate of Omanmbrought up the fact that under the agriculture agreement, the agricultural funds were aready been sybsidized and therefore the operative clause with relation to that was redundant. A sonsor retaliated saying that countries such as USA has employhed such measures with regard to their cotton production. The delegate of Chad brught up the fact that develoing countries were also involved and not just developed countries. This was followed by the delegate of USA statig that the delegates country provided subsidiaries to Brazil for agricultural matters. A sponsor brought up the fact that by providing subsidiaries for agriculture by counties such as USA, it is difficult for developing countries to provide subsidiaries and therefore that is why the clause discussed had been added to ive these devoplong a chance.
Reported by ~ Tehani Tissera
The United Nations Envionmental Program has certainly made Mother Nature proud. The resolution debated in the morning was on the topic ‘Discussing the possible use of amines which are chemical components that are said to release emissions.’ The delegates of the committee were all pumped up for th debate. The deleaget of Spain spoke of how the major MNCs are already established and they are now aiming at improving their brand images. Such MNCs move into eco friendly and such movements. Thus, the incorporation of an awarding mechanism will have a positive global effect on the emission of toxic substances. The delegate of USA brought up the point that the UN cleaning mechanisms fialed and it had a reward system too. However, a delegate mentioned that it was the auditors who were bribed in that particular situation and that it was not the fault of the awarding sysrem itself. The delegate of Zambia objected the passing of the amendent related to the above discussion on grounds that it did not ivolve all companies like Coal factories and that it should be more interntional. The delegate of the USA said that manufacturing sector emmsions are more easy to clear than the energy sectors. And clarified the fact that the delegate of Sain meant that it was more difficult to eradicate coal factory emissions than others. During the curse of the debate, upon the landing of a sea plane nerby, the chair calmly explained to the delegates that the sea plane was damaging the environment.
Reported by ~ Tehani Tissera
The day was Thursday the 26th of June 2013. The Executive Committee of SLMUN 2013 had gathered at Maharagama Youth centre for yet another one of their important meetings. But this was not just another ordinary meeting. This particular gathering was important as it was the day the final Chair positions were to be released. 4 months of hard work had all boiled down to this one nerve wracking moment. “Did I get it? Am I a chair?” was the question running through everybody’s mind. As the final chair positions were announced by Deputy SG Sithira, the entire Exco burst into joy as they celebrated the outcome of the hard work they had put in for the past few months.
Amidst all the cheering, a suggestion was made to head off to the Dominoes nearby. Several odd, but hilarious incidents, such as the using of Exco member Dushantha Wiresingha as a punching bag(nobody knows why) along with the occasional piggyback ride on Exco member Kavindu Indatissa and random races between a few members highlighted the journey undertaken by the Exco to Dominoes. It seemed fitting that the day ended on a very cheesy (pun intended) note, with everyone leaving dominoes a few ounces (or pounds) heavier, as they satisfied their hunger with some gooey-cheesy pizzas, BBQ chicken wings and whatnots.
Reported by- Kavindu Indatissa
The day I received my email that I was to be a member of the executive committee of SLMUN 2013 was a happy day. The thrill of being chosen to be a part of such a prestigious conference overwhelmed me and I couldn’t wait to begin. The first meeting was soon upon us and as I watched the other exco members flood into the room, I was sure we were bound to have a lot of fun. Little did I know just how much of work was required to organise a conference of this caliber.
Being an executive committee member of such a large conference is not only fun and joy. A major constituent of a conference, such as SLMUN, is hard work. My very first conference was SLMUN and I remember being in awe of the size of the conference and how well it had been done. When I found out that it was ‘student run’ I was amazed. And I’m proud to say, that is exactly what the executive committee members are, amazing. From the first day, I realized what a lot of hard work was going into this conference.
Most of us were schooling and many were in our Advanced Level Examinations but every single person pulled in their weight. Members were meeting deadlines in between exams and some came for meetings in school uniforms, looking tired, but with a smile on their faces ready to work hard. Every week details were being finalized, topics were debated upon, sleepless nights were spent discussing and working hard to prepare this conference. Work was constantly being delegated and members never hesitated to accept it. If one was unable to complete a delegated task, another member would willingly accept it and together, everyone worked as a family, with one goal in mind. Dedicated members would go, even in the rain, searching for sponsors.
Led by a talented and understanding secretariat, the members were always being encouraged to do their best and never give up. Even having meetings meant compromising everyone’s free time and even having to juggle classes and rush straight from school or work. But a lot of sacrifices, hard work and dedication have been put in by every single member and as I see it, that is reflected in a conference.
The foundation of this conference is built with commitment and dedication, cemented by hard work. Amidst all this hard work, the members still enjoyed themselves as work was done selflessly and willingly. The road to the conference has certainly not been a smooth one but “there are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”. As Vince Lombardi said, “the price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand”. This so called determination and dedication definitely can be seen in the executive committee of SLMUN 2013 and it has been a honour to be a part of it.
The latest General Meeting for the SLMUN Executive Committee 2013 that was held on the 23rd of June was one of a kind, enhanced in quality by the intense debate on the topic “The impact of religious fundamentalism on minority rights”.
After roll call and the setting of the agenda the first person to speak in the Speakers’ List was Chantal as the delegate of Spain. After her speech Points of Information directed at her included Amesh (France) asking her of LGBT rights in Spain while Navidu (Somalia) asked her of the contradiction in her speech and her reply to Keith’s (Australia) Point of Information. Second on the speaker’s list was the delegate of Russia, Chanu. She presented Russia’s take on the topic and received three Points of Information from Sonal, Delegate of Ethiopia, Senanee, Delegate of Syria and Navidu, Delegate of Somalia.
The next speech was made by Raaliya as the delegate of Africa on the role of media and politicisation in the portrayal of religious fundamentalism and emphasized the need to understand the difference between religious fundamentalism and religious extremism. On the other hand, Keshini (Kazakhstan), in her speech, highlighted her country’s stance as predominantly Islamic, non-fundamentalist state.
A moderated caucus topic “Ensuring women’s safety and rights despite religious fundamentalism” was introduced but it was decided that the “Relationship between Religious Fundamentalism and Religious Extremism” be discussed first. Speeches in this discussion were often interjected by Raaliya exclamation “Shame! Shame!”
Delegate of Canada, Zainab in her speech stated that Canada does not infringe on the rights of the minority and received a Point of Information from the delegate of Ivory Coast questioning tactics of the government on doing so. The delegate also received another Point of Information from the delegate of the United Kingdom asking whether this situation has led to bullying in schools or even suicide. Back to the speaker’s list, we had the delegate of Cuba, Roma who gave a speech on how there is no fundamentalism in Cuba and permission for a Point of Information was given to UK where the delegate asked about the fundamentalist movement in 2006. A speech was then given by the delegate of Madagascar, Avindu and a Point of Information was raised by the delegate of Iran, Tehani.
The next speech was made by Navidu, delegate of Somalia after which a new Moderated Caucus topic, quite controversial in its content, stated “The need to consider the possibility of fundamentalism being a mental illness and the usage of neuroscience as a possible cure”. There was intense debate on the sensibility of such a topic due to it being a disrespect to individuals and religions. It was discussed that mental illness was an excuse for fundamentalism which is a result of backward beliefs.
After a small Milo break, the Secretary General, Kemiya, spoke to the EXCO about sponsorships and invitations to outstation schools. The Deputy Secretary General, Sithira then spoke about the work being undertaken by the workshop committee in preparation for the SLMUN workshop on the 29th of June. Mr. Ellawala then asked everyone of their contribution to sponsor hunting successes.
The meeting then returned to Speakers’ List with Ornella, delegate of Japan speaking about her country’s stance on the topic. The delegate of DR Congo, Isuru received a Point of Information from the delegate of New Zealand, Kavindu inquiring the ways in which DR Congo is trying to reduce infringement of minority rights and a Point of Information was raised by Raaliya, delegate of South Africa regarding the indigenous people and what the government is doing towards their betterment. The delegate of Pakistan, Ashari then spoke about how the government is developing the educational structure in order to combat religious fundamentalism.
The delegate of China, Dushantha then gave a speech receiving two Points of Information; one from Sonal, the delegate of Ethiopia stating they are hypocrites and the second from the delegate of the Central African Republic, Archana questioning why it is mandatory that everyone in the communist party should be atheist. The delegate of USA, Tharindu also gave a speech receiving two Points of Information from the delegate of Germany, Hyshma, accusing them of carrying out extremist activities.
Finally a blame placing game was played by all delegates in which the delegate of the United States, Tharindu, was held accountable for numerous offences. Allegations were also made against Pakistan, Ashhari, for its attacks on India and Sri Lanka for war crimes against civilians.
The meeting ended on a positive note as everyone felt content with their performances and left the Board Room, hungry and in search of food.
Written by- Rishika Mendis and Amber Nomani-
Excited as we were to take part in the first ever Meet the RC programme the Executive Committee of SLMUN 2013 was all set. By 3.30pm on Tuesday (18th June 2013), the eager EXCO prepared for the encounter in the boardroom at the United Nations Headquarters, Colombo. After a delicious snack of muffins and coffee all the EXCO hustled up for the awaited meeting.
The Meet the RC is a youth engagement programme of the United Nations Communications Group. Targeting the building of a positive correlation between the youth and the UN, the Meet the RC programme is a key factor in the learning process of the functioning of the UN and also gauging the feedback.
We were honored by the presence of three very important people in the United Nations Development Programme in this first installment of the initiative:
Mr. Subinay Nandy, the UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka from May 5, 2011. He also serves as the United Nations Resident Coordinator / Humanitarian Coordinator and as the Designated Official for Security.
Mr. Donglin Li took up his appointment as the Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives on 1 January 2011. He joined the ILO as a Special Adviser to the Regional Director, Asia Pacific in 2002 and subsequently served as the Country Director – ILO Office for Pakistan (2004-2010) where he was conferred the highest Presidential Award in recognition of his excellent services to the people of Pakistan.
Mr. Natal Donnaloia has worked in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe over the past 15 years. For the last 6 years, he entered the UN starting at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute [UNICRI]. He has been in the United Nations Volunteer programme in Sri Lanka since 2011.
After a brief introduction of the three distinguished persons by Mr. Fadhil Bakeer Makar of the UN Office Sri Lanka, we introduced ourselves. Mr. Nandy, spoke on behalf of the UN, welcoming us and impressing the necessity of the youth of a nation to coordinate with the UN in building a better future for all. Khemiya Kodituwakku, the Secretary General of SLMUN 2013 and Chiranthi Senanayake, Undersecretary-General of the IPC and Support Functions elaborated on the concept of SLMUN and its evident importance to the youth of Sri Lanka. This was followed by the key event of the juncture: The Question and Answer session, in which Mr. Nandy, Mr. Li and Mr. Donnaloia provided the United Nations viewpoint on multiple matters and answered the questions posed by the EXCO:
- How exactly does the ILO tackle the problem when it comes to the mismatch between education and creating an employable work force? What do you think of preparing syllabi for education?
The United Nations always cooperates with the governments of a nation when providing solutions to national problems. As we have observed, over education and over qualification are major problems in a country’s education. We at the ILO focus mainly on solving these two issues. In Sri Lanka, the ILO copes with the government and their policies on education. We have discussed matters with His Excellency the President Mr. Mahinda Rajapkse and are currently bringing into effect a more effective education system.
There are skill colleges but a main problem is over-education. Most people do regular working for the informal sector. Skills don’t come from only education and the environment but from what you do every day. Skills can be sold and are very valuable in the labour market. We intend to promote skill development in children which is vital in the building of a more diverse and educated community.
- What would be the role of the United Nations in paving way to religious and ethnic harmony? What have they done thus far?
When it comes to tolerance issues, tolerance seems to vary from country to country. In some it has taken a turn for the better, in some for the worse. It is a fundamental human right for people to be able to believe in anything they want. The UN is the custodian of the Convention on Culture and Political Rights working towards addressing human rights for all men, women and children. The action of the UN within a nation is dependent on the funding of the organization and on how much space the governments provide. There is always some dilemma between sovereignty and right to protect which leads to much misunderstanding. We make our way through all of that and have and will engage ourselves in maintaining global cultural unity and diversity.
- Will the UN vouch for a secular state?
Absolutely. The UN believes in anti discrimination. We do not interfere at any cost with the sovereignty of a nation. But we expect all member nations of the UN to oblige to the commandments they made when they signed up with any of the international committees. We believe in a concept of secularism that provides equal rights to all religions and races.
- What do you say about the state of LGBT rights in Sri Lanka?
As we speak, a global meeting for AIDS, Malaria and TB is being held in Sri Lanka. The current discussion raised such issues at the UNAIDS. People used to treat such people differently. The clergy, especially in the Asian sub continent were very much against it. However, now it’s changing. For example, China where such people were considered to be the most criminalized now treats them as people. And this is something we’re working on. We are showing international experience and secondly you can’t stop a person’s behavior. Most definitely you cannot discriminate them. The WHO is working on this matter. Currently, we are focusing on advocacy and the sharing of experience and information with regards to the matter.
- How do you pursue a career in the UN, what are the qualifications required and how do you progress in it?
Earlier there was a tough performance evaluation. There was a small gateway of entering the UN and a few made their way in. Now it’s different, you can apply and there is no necessity for a gateway. The UN is getting more dispersed: we are multinational and multiracial. Women have a much greater chance to make their way into the UN than 20 years ago. It is a different world within the UN. You need experience, experience and experience. You have to focus and apply. Being involved in the United Nations Volunteer programme and other humanitarian purposes, are yet another extra pathway for one to make way into the UN. Any individual, anywhere in the world can contact the UN Office nearest to them for information and assistance anytime.
- Has the UN considered adding an African nation as a P5 nation? If not, why?
There have been many discussions in the world regarding this matter. The General Assembly allows all member nations to have equal say on what happens. It isn’t the same with the Security Council. The G7 went on to become the G20, and then the G22. Similarly, the Security Council will consider entertaining a few more nations. Equations are changing. The SC would change so as to be more representative of the United Nations. Brazil, South Africa, Japan and India are nations that have been proposed by the international community as probable nations for permanent Security Council seats. There is a very high chance for change.
- Instead of choosing a domestic career, you chose to do an international career. What was the reason that you chose the international UN instead of serving your countrymen?
Being in the UN requires much skills and competency. Personally I detest being a political diplomat but more of an international civil servant. It is an entertaining position. Joining the UN we sign an oath of office and say that I will not receive instructions from any government or country. This is because we are an international community; unbiased and equal to all. The global development policy of the UN helps to reflect your voice internationally. We believe in helping people. We believe in the UN Mandate. That is our motivation.
This concluded the session. On behalf of the EXCO, the Deputy Secretary General, Sithira Gunasekara thanked the three distinguished persons and the staff of the UN who made the session a possibility. The convened members then dispersed ending the first ever Meet the RC session.
Reported by: Isuru Perera and Tehani Tissera