The first MUN conference in Aarhus will take place in June in the European Capital of Culture of 2017. The theme for the city is “Let’s Rethink”, in which the edition has based its own motto for “Rethinking the World”, where we hope we can share ideas and opinions on the international relations, in the state and societal levels.
AarhusMUN is not only a cultural event, but also an educational tool that provides the participants new perspectives on how to relate with their surrounding society. The topics selected were based in current issues that affect the society as a whole, since refugee crisis to global security and peace concerns. We aim to bring awareness to the participants’ routines, going beyond their boundaries and find out how our actions can promote a positive impact in the world we share.
It will be the first time Aarhus and the Jutland region receive such event. AarhusMUN already is the biggest of its kind in the whole Scandinavia region, open for university and high school students from all over the world. All the discussions, as well the working language for the organisation, are held in English.
Date: 26th to 30th of June, 2017
Venue: VIA University College Campus N, Aarhus
Early bird Registration fee (per participant): 600 Dkk / 80 Euros
Registration fee (per participant): 750 Dkk / 100 Euros
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The City of Aarhus
Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and the main one in the Jutland peninsula, the continental part of the country. With little less than 300 thousand inhabitants, Aarhus is located only 200 km from the capital Copenhagen and 300 km from the German city of Hamburg.
Founded as a fortified Viking settlement in the 8th century, the city is today a vibrant and modern location in Scandinavia, symbol of culture and education. The population, relatively young with fifty thousand being at the university, provides the city the nickname as “The City of Smiles”. In the field of education, the Aarhus University figures among the world’s 100 best, and is the largest one in Scandinavia and very internationally minded.
The culture is another strong pillar of Aarhus. The music, arts, museums, festivals and life style is very cultural guided. The ARoS Art Museum is considered one of the most important in Europe for modern and contemporary art, famous also for its architectonic building with the iconic rainbow panorama. Also, the Moesgaard Museum tells the country’s and the Vikings history as no other. For these and any other reasons, Aarhus has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture in the year of 2017, a very special year when events and attractions are taking place in Aarhus as never before, specially during summer.
VIA University College
VIA University College was established in 2008 as a result of a number of mergers of institutions of higher education. Today, VIA is the largest of the country’s seven university colleges, covering the Central Denmark Region. As the world becomes more global, VIA increasingly takes an international approach to education and research. Today, almost half of their programmes are taught in English and they offer international double degrees, student and staff exchange, summer schools and research projects.
With several campuses in Jutland, the VIA Campus Aarhus Nord, which holds programmes in the Health field, will host in its facilities the first edition of AarhusMUN.
Topics: i) Witchcraft and Human Rights violations
Nowadays in Africa witchcraft is still a huge issue. Many Africans still believe in witchcraft. People with albinism, for example, are known to be suspected by local people to posses magical powers and are often prosecuted and executed without second thought. Many violations on Human Rights can be seen related to witchcraft, and the problem lays on the governments which don’t preserve international expectations in preventing situations as such.
It is imperative the African Union does its best to stabilize the escalation of this problem. At the same time there is a delicate situation where cultural and religious behaviours shall be respected. Will the delegates get to discuss the issue, making joint efforts to modernize the society in the question of witchcraft, at the same time preserving cultural and religious pillars?
ii) Revisiting the AU counterterrorism strategy
One of the main challenges of the African Union is to revisit its counter terrorism strategy. In the past years there has been an increase in terrorist attacks, with lots of casualties, and weakening of police and security forces in order to preserve the state of law and the order in the region. Furthermore groups like Boko Haram are still at large and continue to threaten local civilians who often have to move away, leading the issue to other bigger problems for the continent. This leads to many Africans fleeing there homes, moving away either inside their own country as Internally Displaced Person or moving abroad and becoming immigrants and refugees. The African Union needs to adopt a sound strategy to make sure it can foster a safe future for all Africa.
Topic: i) Total De-Escalation of Fossil Fuel use
Fossil fuel is not only the most used source of energy, but also the main responsible for CO2 emission. The basic compounds of fossil fuels are large chains of hydrocarbons formed from buried plants and dead animals. After long periods under high pressure and no oxygen source, those hydrocarbons are turned into oil, coal and natural gas. The human activity to extract the fossil fuel and burn it in order to produce energy reintroduces a CO2 source that no longer was part of the natural cycle to the ecosystem. This activity creates an unbalanced system and triggers environmental problems. Therefore, it is essential to find alternatives to produce energy and replace fossil fuels.
The number of countries phasing out fossil fuels is increasing rapidly as access to cheap and effect green technology increases. Though as green technology becomes more accessible nations’ populations, companies, and even political parties may still hold some skepticism towards full transition from fossil fuels as they are heavily dependent on the resource, the issue of ease of transition and committing to an agenda of fossil fuel de-escalation is vital. An example of this is that 95% of US consumption on the transportation sector comes from fossil fuels according to the Institute for Energy Research. Here a potential replacement could be biogas and biofuel as they stop CO2 emissions coming from oil driven means of transportation. The biggest problem so far is its costs of transition and committing to a green agenda despite pressure from large oil and natural gas companies.
The delegates are expected to discuss how to support both developing and developed nations in optimizing the transition from fossil fuels to green energy. This entails spreading awareness of advantages of green energy, setting an agenda for total fossil fuel de-escalation, and possibly financial support that is earmarked for green development.
ii) Aiding Most Vulnerable Nations to Climate Change
Climate change is not only about environmental conditions but also about social and economical matters. The consequences of climate change are measurable throughout the world, and the presence of resources, information and technology is important for how vulnerable a country and its population is towards the consequences of climate change.
Extreme weather like drought, floods and storms affect countries all over the world, but especially the Global South, which is home for some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Thereby an unequal distribution of the consequences happens, a distribution that does not turn out to the populations of the Global South’s advantage. These consequences will grow in magnitude and strength gradually as the global warming aggravates.
Because of the poverty in this part of the world, it is harder for the populations to secure themselves against the climate changes. In an everyday life where people already fight to maintain a minimum of living standards, the energy to think about long-term insurances to guard against the future’s climate change can be minimal. The infrastructure of the countries and the population’s homes, farming and food safety are all examples of vital things vulnerable to climate change. This all means that communities will have to migrate to find places more suitable to live. Thereby climate refugees will become a major issue on the global society’s agenda.
All of this together means that there is a lot of relevant discussions on the international society’s agenda. Delegates are expected to discuss questions such as: how will the international society secure vulnerable nations against the consequences of climate change and how should the costs be distributed? What will the international society do with the rising numbers of climate refugees?
Topics: i) First Indochina War (1949)
ii) Berlin Wall Crisis (1961)
Descriptions coming at any moment! :O
Topics: i) Good Governance as a Pathway to Human Rights
Good Governance is a term often used in international discourse. In general, it refers to political and institutional processes aimed at achieving sustainable development, by calling for deep involvement from every social actor ranging from largest groups to marginalized minorities. In doing so, it encompasses civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, and therefore, has come to be associated with a set of values to guide the work of governments all over the world.
However, due to the diverse range of areas, Good Governance can be assessed in a multitude of ways by different bodies within the United Nations. Despite this, in 2007 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNHRC embraced this concept, seeing it as a means of promoting universal human rights. The UNHRC will meet to discuss this relationship in greater detail ten years on, and assess to what extent Good Governance has actually helped to promote human rights in the international community.
ii) Human Rights in relation to counter-terrorism
Across the globe, the threat of terror has become a major concern, with terror prevention becoming a chief political issue. But at what point does a country’s counter-terrorism measures overstep or violate fundamental human rights? The UNHRC will explore this conundrum further by utilizing recent case studies, and attempt to come to consensus on how to promote collective security, while at the same time protecting individual rights and freedoms.
Topics: i) The protection of cultural heritage sites in conflict and war zones
The destruction of buildings, religious and cultural sites has always been part of violent conflicts but has recently regained attention due to the Islamic State/Daesh occupation and destruction of heritage sites in Syria and the International Criminal Court trial of Ahmad al-Faqui al-Mahdi in 2016. This trial recognized the destruction of heritage as a war crime, as destruction of cultural heritage attacks a group’s identity, culture and collective memory. The world’s leaders are nonetheless left with a difficult moral dilemma: Should the destruction of buildings be investigated on the international scale whilst at the same time many crimes against humanity remain unpunished? How could the international community work together to protect these sites?
ii) The question on endangered languages
Language is part of a societies’ culture and can strengthen the social connections within communities. At the same time, it can be used to exclude certain groups or to express power relations. We are currently witnessing the vanishing of many indigenous languages and the process continuously speeds up in our more and more globalized world. Our changing world leaves us with an important question: How can we succeed to improve global communication and at the same time avoid losing parts of our local cultural heritage? Would the delegates work together to preserve the endangered languages or just accept that the most common will prevail through time?
Topics: i) Escalation of Violence in Jammu and Kashmir
Pakistan and India have for many decades been in a tension atmosphere due religious differences, political disputes and territorial conflicts. Though peaceful negotiations and peacebuilding has found success between the two nations, along the shared border in the Kashmir valley things begin torn apart.
On one side there are Indian controlled cities with a majority of Muslims whom want to be a part of Pakistan and have been rioting throughout the years demanding annexation to Pakistan, in general suppresed by India with force, leading to causalities and injuries. On the other side there is the government of India which does not desire any form of referendum that would give territory over to Pakistan.
The 2010 unrest in Kashmir left more than a hundred dead and thousands injured. The one in 2016 left more than 90 dead and another thousands injured. Most recently in the beginning of 2017, dozens have been killed on both sides (military and militants). Though peacebuilding efforts in the past have been successful and making real head way to stabilizing the area and decreasing tensions in the Kashmir Valley, these recent developments in the area have alerted the UN.
Reformation of peacebuilding strategies is needed to bring sustainable stability to the region before it escalates any further. If peacebuilding efforts are not increased or adapted, the turmoil in Kashmir will be used as cover for terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Hizbul Mujahideen. The ISIS flag has been spotted being risen in Indian Kashmir territory and with ISIS’s diminishing territory in Iraq and Syrian, there is fear that Kashmir will be their next possible place. Will the delegates of the Peacebuilding Commission work together, to prevent any excitation of the conflict, as to prevent disastrous consequences in the future? How far can they act to preserve the peace in the region whilst respecting the sovereignty of India and Pakistan, as well international laws?
Topics: i) The Myanmar Crisis: The Rohingya People
The Rohingya are a small ethnic group in Myanmar that according to a UNHCR report have been victim of consistent human rights violations. The report found that Rohingya are subjectively denied basic rights and there have also been widespread arrest and detention of the Rohingya which have been found to have no legal ground. These violations subsequently have escalated since February 2017 where UN investigators reported “mass gang-rape, killings – including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces” based on witness’s accounts.
Indicators point towards that these are systematic military operations set by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya and as such shows shades of possible intended cleansing of the people. This has brought up serious security concerns regarding the Rohingya existences and rights as humans in Myanmar at the moment. Even The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, asked the international community to urge Myanmar’s government to “bring such military operations to an end.”
The 15 members of the United Nations Security Council are summoned to discuss the present situation in Myanmar and to think of possible options the UN can act to solve the question.
ii) Absolving Violence in South Sudan
South Sudan is a young state that gained independence from Sudan in 2011. There has been ongoing fighting since December 2013. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in an op-ed published by Newsweek in December 2016, warned of ethnic cleansing in South Sudan if the world does not intervene. Human Rights Watch noted in a report that both “African Union and UN investigators have documented war crimes, including killings and rape of civilians, and forced recruitment of children by the warring parties in South Sudan since the conflict began on December 15, 2013.”
In February 2017, the UNSC “strongly condemned” the fighting in the country and called all parties to stop the violence and the attacks against the civilians despite the council’s failure to adopt a resolution to impose an arms embargo and sanctions on South Sudan in December 2016. Additionally, in March 2017, The UN noted that South Sudan’s government blocked food aid and restricted the work of the United Nations peacekeepers.
The UNSC will meet to discuss any possible ways to prevent a possible genocide in South Sudan and halting human rights violations against South Sudanese people.
In order to prepare for the conference, the participants must study the positions and behaviours of those countries and organisations they are going to represent during the debates, as well the topic discussed. For months, the directors responsible for each of the committees prepare the Study Guides, academic materials that are used as the initial step for the studies regarding the topic and the country’s’ position towards it. Also, these materials provide the next steps that each delegate should take to sharp their preparation for AarhusMUN.
During the sessions, all formality and diplomatic language must be considered too. Also, the rules of procedures, just as in the United Nations, will be followed. For this, a brief guide is also available together with the study materials, so the participant can know how to act during the debates. Before the whole conference starts, a brief review of rules will take place in order to prepare everybody for such.