If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair… Even though we did not wear any flowers in our hair, we were equipped with our minds ready to conquer the challenges of the UCBMUN Conference in San Francisco that awaited us. A delegation of 8 ETHMUN members travelled all the way across the Atlantic to participate in simulations of the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council, Nuclear Security Summit, Pinochet’s Crisis Session as well as the Committee for World Food Security representing the countries of Argentina, The Czech Republic and Chile. Below, the experience we had at the various committees are summarized:
The Security Council at UCBMUN had the form of an Ad-Hoc Crisis committee, which means that in the background crisis staff plotted a number of incidents onto which delegates had to react. They managed to stage six crisis events that took place in Ukraine, Syria, Congo, Ecuador, Uzbekistan and the Euro-Zone. In the end, the Security Council could not manage to convince Russia for de-escalating measures in Ukraine, leading to a global nuclear war. The humorous conclusion in this committee was that none of these delegates should ever lead a country. The sessions were hectic and exhausting at times, but we nevertheless very much enjoyed the challenge of participating in this committee.
The crisis committee on Pinochet’s Chile was surprisingly evenly divided between advocates of violent oppression and ministers in favour of democratic reform. Apart from a few kidnapped members and the occasional assassination it was surprisingly civil for a military regime. After hours of debating education reform and economic liberalization, the minister of economy and the ideological father of the Gremialista movement joined forces to overthrow and murder Pinochet, only to be ousted by an army of women right after.
The Nuclear Security Summit took place only weeks before the real NSS2014 in The Hague. We discussed securing nuclear and radiological materials as well as the usage of lowly enriched Uranium. During the session we elaborated and in the end passed resolutions which tackle those issues of global security at its roots.
The Committee for World Food Security was a rather small committee which lead to an atmosphere well suited for a fruitful discussion. Various approaches were taken to help establish food security and sustainability such as distributional infrastructure, agricultural sustainability, waterway management and NGO integration. In the end we were able to pass two resolutions concerning the food security and sustainability in Egypt. The second topic of the committee was food security in India. This topic was quite controversial because particularly the delegations of India and UK did not come to a common consent.
The General Assembly with over 180 delegates was the largest committee of this conference. We discussed the social and political instabilities in Myanmar’s conflict areas. As this General Assembly was organized as a Special Emergency Session, the discussion was very inspiring and all different parties were interested in finding a fast solution to the ethnic conflicts in Myanmar. In that sense it almost resembled a Security Council session, except that there were a lot more members and no veto powers. The outcome of this committee was that we passed a total of five (!) resolutions, tolerantly conniving the contradicting ideas they contained.
The conference itself hosted roughly 500 delegates mainly from the USA. In fact, besides a small delegation from Italy and a delegation from Dubai, we were the only delegation from overseas which attended UCBMUN. Of course, the organizers had a quite extensive social program laid out for us. The first night, we joined a Pub Crawl around China Town, and the next morning, we got up early to get a tour around the campus of UC Berkeley. After a long afternoon and night of debate, we blew off some steam with our fellow delegates to some live Jazz music at the Jazz Night, the directly at conference venue. On Saturday night, after all resolutions were passed, wars were fought and leaders were assassinated, we concluded the social part of the conference at the delegate soiree.
Even though the Conference took up a lot of our time, delegates spent some time exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco. We got to find out how San Francisco’s famous Cable Cars run on the streets, walked across the impressive Golden Gate Bridge, stepped behind the bars of the most feared prison of the early 20th century, Alcatraz, and took a trip in Forest Gump’s shoes to Bubba Gump Shrimps. Additionally, the bigger part of the delegation paid Stanford University a visit, and was quite impressed by the productive and entrepreneurial spirit one could feel at every corner of the campus. Besides the very entertaining touristic attractions, we also made our own discoveries such as Lori’s 50’s Dinner, Noah’s Bagel Place and the Delicacy Market at the Harbor where one can enjoy the best Oysters on the West Coast. We also accepted the invitation of one of our sponsors and did not miss the chance to visit the BCG Office in San Francisco.
In conclusion, we had a fabulous trip which was a fun and enriching experience for all of us. We take a lot of inspiration and motivation from the UCBMUN Conference with us and are very much looking forward to our next chance to simulate the United Nations.
San Francisco MUN