Hi everyone! My name is Emmanuel Tasos and I am currently in my 3rd year of studying Medicine at the University of Cambridge. I am originally from Greece, a country known for its splendid weather and islands, delicious food, incredible history, exceptional politicians and thriving economy.
I have been doing and greatly enjoying MUN for the last 5 years and have served as a delegate, chair and secretariat member, with YorkMUN being my 11th conference in total (10 ½th if we’re very pedantic). Other than MUN, my hobbies include watching tennis, squash (which I’m decent at despite being terribly unfit), solving riddles and logic problems, meeting friends, and memes, which are sadly exceptionally addictive.
In all, I am really glad to be serving as your Head Chair in this conference and hope that you all enjoy the experience as much as I will!
Hi all! My name is Serena Cavasin, I was born and raised in Treviso (Italy), a province located in the Venetian countryside which is best known for its production of prosecco wine and some of the most famous Renaissance painters.
I am currently pursuing an MA Human Rights at UCL, after completing my BA Philosophy at The University of Sheffield and working full-time for a year in a role that was essentially all about advocacy and representation and allowed me to truly exercise those skills in diplomacy and negotiation that MUN helps develop!
MUN has been one of my hobbies since 2014, and the peak of my experience was to serve as Secretary General for SheffMUN2016. Aside from human rights and international affairs, my interests include exploring ruins and all historical places, learning foreign languages, reading, and spending way too much time watching cat videos. I look forward to meeting you all and to do everything I can to pass on to you my passion for MUN and human rights!
Hello readers! my name is Rizqi Imaduddin. I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, a place known for not being Bali, a million shopping malls and great food. I am a third-year student of International Relations and Organization at the University of Groningen. I am currently doing my study exchange at the Pusan National University in South Korea. If you see me in Yorkmun 2018, that means I have finished my exchange period, survived Supreme leader Un’s onslaught and found where York actually is.
Anyway, I have been involved with MUN for 2 years now, as both delegate and chair. I have always loved MUN but alas, she is a cruel mistress. My hobbies includes watching foreign movies and series and looking for the freshest memes online. As the Co-chair of UNHRC, I am very excited for the chance to meet all of you and the creative ways you will tackle the topic of human rights.
Topic A -- Addressing the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar
The Rohingya people, also described as “the world’s most persecuted minority”, are a Muslim ethnic group of 1.1 million people living in majority Buddhist Myanmar. Their official citizenship was revoked in 1982 and never reinstated since, making them one of the largest stateless populations worldwide.
Since the military rule of the 1970s, the Rohingya have experienced discrimination and continuous limitations of their basic human rights, as well as ongoing episodes of direct and violent persecution. After a large exodus of Rohingya in 2015 following increasingly violent tensions, a series of brutal crackdowns targeted the Rohingyas in 2017 after 9 border guards were killed by Rohingya insurgents.
The most recent crackdown, described by The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” due to the systematic burning of Rohingya villages and the murder, rape and torture of their inhabitants, has forced more than 400,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh and prompted worldwide condemnation of the Myanmar government.
As conflict between insurgents and government forces further escalates, Bangladesh struggles with overcrowded refugee camps and plans to displace them to Thengar Char Island, urgent action is needed to alleviate tension and secure basic rights and safety for Rohingyas.
Topic B -- Providing universal access to sexual education and measures of contraception
In 1994, 179 countries gathered at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), approving a Programme of Action explicitly recognising reproductive rights as a fundamental human right. This landmark document emphasized the importance of providing access to sexual education and contraceptive measures to all citizens, particularly women and adolescents, to help create healthier and more equal societies.
Although significant progress has been achieved since the ICPD, in most regions of the world universal access to sexual education and contraception still remains insufficient and deeply inadequate. Laws and policies which jeopardise access to sexual health and violate human rights are still in place, while major domestic reforms fail to be successfully implemented due to lack of funding, deeply held cultural and religious norms and social stigma, as well as reluctant healthcare providers.
As a result, many people, especially those belonging to the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups of society, still remain exceptionally vulnerable to high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and early parenthood, sexual violence and discrimination.
Urgent intervention is needed, and the Committee’s task will be to revise previous efforts and tackle the challenges standing in the way of providing universal access to sexual education and contraception.
DISEC (DISARMAMENT AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY)- BEGINNER COMMITTEE
Hi all! My name is Gonzalo Cervera, I come from Peru and I’m a second year Economics and Politics student at the University of Manchester. I started doing MUN two years ago when I was in high school and to this day I have attended 15 conferences as a delegate and chair both in Europe and South America. As a matter of fact, I’m also the Training Coordinator at ManMUN Society. When I’m not debating or struggling with university, I enjoy visiting new places and meeting people from all over the world. Other than that, I’m a big fan of music and I literally go to every concert I can. As your Head Chair of DISEC, I can assure you an extraordinary debate and a weekend full of excitement. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have. I am really looking forward to meeting you all at YorkMUN 2018!
Welcome to YorkMUN 2018, as a student at the University of York I am pleased to have you at our conference. I am a third year student at the University of York reading Politics with International Relations. I have been a member of MUN for just over one year and have attended 6 conferences, five as a delegate and one as chair of World Bank. In my spare time I like to go traveling and play competitive war games. My ambition is to join the civil service with a view to becoming a diplomat. I am very much looking forward to meeting you all.
Hello! I’m Trinethra and I’m a part time law-student at the University of Nottingham and full-time meme-loving, self-deprecating absurdist. I like to believe that I have a discernible sense of humour and a modicum of general awareness. I’ve been in a borderline abusive relationship with MUNs for around 5 years now. I was supposed to write about ‘my life outside MUNs’, and although I don’t really think that concept exists, I enjoy almost anything pop-culture, almost anything food and almost any academic subject. My dream is to work at the International Court of Justice, provided my finals go well. I’m S.H.I.E.L.D in the streets and Hydra in the sheets. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all, and I hope the committee is as fun as it is engaging.
Topic A -- Monitoring the Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)
In a world where there is a new massive threat every day, it is easy to forego one that seems like a problem that can be easily curtailed. It is understandable how the issue of small arms can be shunned when nuclear winter seems eminent but if we were to submit to this façade, especially with reference to this issue, it would be ultimately detrimental to not just various domestic situations around the world, but to the international security itself as a causality. It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics as these weapons are mostly in private hands, although it is believed to be around 900 million. By their nature these weapons are easy to conceal and transport, which has allowed for a black market of small arms to grow and thrive worldwide. Small arms are responsible for over 50,000 deaths per year according to UNODA, from armed rebels attacking civilians in Mali to gang members shooting law enforcement officers in Chicago, thus posing a security threat that tends to go undetected.
Topic B -- The Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea
Although global maritime crime has declined since 2015, violent incidents have increased in the Gulf of Guinea in the past 18 months. The Gulf of Guinea is undoubtedly one of the most affected waters by maritime criminal activity, including but not limited to piracy, armed robbery, oil stealing and illegal fishing. In the face of increased insecurity, the Gulf of Guinea Commission adopted the GGC Integrated Maritime Strategy in 2013 with the purpose of ensuring peace and socio-economic development within the region. Nevertheless, increased cooperation is needed in order to counteract insecurity, especially from piracy and armed robbery. In fact, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recorded 55 attacks or attempted attacks last year in West and Central Africa including 36 for Nigeria. These numbers demonstrate the urgent need for countries within the region to develop an institutional and financial capacity both unilaterally and multilaterally, besides ensuring the availability of trained staff and technical equipment in order for them to carry out their operations. Delegates will be assigned the task of coming up with innovative and more holistic efforts to increase security in what is considered by some as the most dangerous waters in the world.
AU (AFRICAN UNION)- INTERMEDIATE COMMITTEE
I am a second year undergraduate reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of East Anglia. I am a Kenyan citizen and a global MUNer with over 30 conferences in 12 cities under my belt. I was the President of the UEAMUN Society in 2016/17 and a Trustee for the NorwichMUN conference. My academic focus lies in African integration studies and Global Political Economy. Over the course of the summer, I interned with the African Union office in Nairobi working on Economic and Trade Policy. I am avidly looking forward to chairing the African Union committee at YorkMUN in 2018.
Hello, everyone! My name is Julia, and I am a 25-year old postgraduate Human geography student at the University of Cologne. By the time of YorkMUN, I’ll hopefully be doing my Ph.D. in the field of international development cooperation, as I still feel like staying at Uni a little longer. My MUN-career is best described as short but intense, as I only started doing MUN during my Erasmus term in Poland two years ago. I have attended various international conferences both as delegate and chair since. When I am not studying (or doing MUN), I enjoy traveling, doing lots of sports, and making ridiculously elaborate cakes. Chairing the African Union is a pleasure because I have a great passion for the African continent. I am curious to get to know you and very much looking forward to working with all of you at YorkMUN 2018!
Disclaimer: I can be very German about things like efficiency and being on time - I can't help it, it's in my genes ;)
OSCAR DE ROSA
Hi, my name is Oscar and I’m a second year Philosophy student at the University of York. Despite only having started MUN in the previous year, I’ve attended 5 conferences and I’m a training officer for UNA York. My interests include Philosophy of Language and the Yugoslav wars and I’m currently trying to find a way of bridging the gap between the two; if such a bridge exists. I enjoy heated debate and eloquent speeches and look forward to experiencing them at YorkMUN.
Topics A: Solutions Towards Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in Central Africa
Vaccines are generally considered to be one of the most cost-effective means to save millions of lives. While the numbers of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases reduces year-on-year, Africa has the lowest vaccination coverage of any continent. Central Africa is particularly vulnerable to diseases of this nature due to the jungle terrain often found there. The recent outbreak of Yellow fever in Angola that spread into DRC and even to China would have been easily avoided had vaccines been readily available to citizens of Angola and neighbouring nations. A persistent issue that particularly follows vaccine preventable diseases is the recovery time and greater risk of death as a result of the weaker immune system, which only place further pressure on infrastructure that is either inadequate or stretched too thin to deal with a potential future outbreak. This topic will require all delegates to work towards a common goal and to resolve this vital issue
Topic B: Illegal Immigration From North Africa into Europe
The movement of people is unavoidable; however, the present migrant crisis presents a great challenge to the Africa Union. Currently the most fatal route that is taken by migrants is across the Mediterranean, with the majority of fatalities being of African origin. The immediate concern is finding ways to prevent the deaths that happen along the African migrant routes, which are caused primarily by traffickers with little regard for human safety and general exploitation faced by the migrants. What must also be addressed is asking why people flee their home country and finding ways to manage these mass migrations legally and providing opportunity within Africa.
UNSC (UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL)- ADVANCED COMMITTEE
Greetings! I'm Geoff, and I will be chairing the Security Council for this edition of YorkMUN. I come from a mixed Chinese and Irish background, but I was born and raised in Milan, Italy. I'm currently a graduate from the University of York on my year out, having completed my degree in History and Politics. My main academic interests are in 19th century Europe (read: war, revolutions, and piles of guillotined heads), political economy, and ethnic conflict. I've been involved in MUN since 2015, having chaired multiple conferences and served as the Training Officer for UNA York. In my spare time, I like to play guitar, spend too much time on Netflix, and maintain a current affairs blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you all!
Hi, I’m Luiza! I am originally from Brazil and am currently a second year International Relations student at Kings College London. I have participated in MUN for the past five years, having chaired and/or organised fourteen conferences. Outside of MUN, I enjoy travelling, playing with my dog, debate, and spending times with friends. As the UNSC co-chair, look forward to meeting all of you at YorkMUN!
Topic A: Addressing the North Korean Crisis
The North Korean crisis is one of the most pressing challenges that the international community has faced for over five decades. North Korea, the last remaining totalitarian communist regime, was born out of the Cold War. The Korean War, fought by communist and western forces, divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel when the Chinese and Soviet forces intervened. Intent on keeping the peace, China, the USSR, and the US -with their respective North and South allies- agreed a ceasefire in June 1953 which has persisted to this day.
However, since the collapse of the Soviet regime and the normalisation of relations between the West and China- the North’s only ally- North Korea has increasingly found itself isolated. Intent on pursuing total self-reliance, prompted by the juche ideology, it has over decades pursued a nuclear program. Kim-Jong Un has aggressively pursued this policy of nuclearization and has found remarkable success, only recently having test fired a missile over Japan.
This has heightened already fraught tensions with the West and Japan, and recently begun to worry China due to its manic and unpredictable leader. The Security Council must therefore convene and attempt to reconcile their differences, attempting to find a solution to the Crisis. The committee promises a stimulating and interesting discussion, covering a multitude of topics, including but not limited to nuclear non-proliferation, international sanctions, and refugees.
Topic B: The Creation of a Kurdish State
The Question of an Independent Kurdish state is a complex one. Kurdistan is described as a geo-cultural region in which the Kurdish people form a prominent majority, and where Kurdish culture, language, and national identity is and has been historically based. The name is currently used to describe regions in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
Currently, there is a possibility of an independence referendum for an independent Kurdistan. However, there is much controversy regarding the subject. States such as Israel, for example, support the movement, while others, including Iraq and Turkey, seem to be strongly against it.
The question of a possible creation of a Kurdish state, as well as its possible implications must be seriously considered in the UNSC, as it could possibly greatly destabilise the entire Middle Eastern region.
IMF BAILOUT NEGOTIATIONS- ADVANCED COMMITTEE
Xuan works at a global investment bank and has a Master’s degree in Physics from Imperial College London. He is interested in continuously improving MUN by encouraging fellow chairs and organisers to innovate and improve the experience for both chairs and delegates and for the next generation of MUN to continue building upon those values. The structure of the negotiations committee is an intergalactic second for MUN and will focus on more accurately reflecting the real pressures that diplomats face on a day to day basis, as well as emphasising a team-based approach to negotiations.
Luke is currently completing his MA in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh and plans to further pursue a career in law and politics. Luke has lived in 3 countries and has an extensive CV spanning multiple sectors, allowing him to provide a unique perspective on a range of current events among other matters. Luke currently serves on the committee for the MUN society and a combination of traveling, MUN, skiing, cooking and theatre keeps Luke constantly occupied during off hours and on the move, never finishing study guides on time.
This is the first time this committee has ever been run in the history of Model UN, and you, as participants, will find it extremely challenging and rewarding.
This special committee will be a table for diplomats from the IMF and Spain to negotiate the bailout of Spain. The diplomats in this committee will be performing the functions of real diplomats as closely as possible. In a regular committee, one can exercise a very large scope over one’s national policy even if one is only an ambassador of that country. The national policy in this special committee and national governments and heads of state will be simulated by the chairs, and you will have to learn as delegates to adapt and innovate within these new constraints as real diplomats do.
Diplomats must be able to communicate clearly and effectively, therefore we will be using a special set of RoP to allow for freer negotiating sessions, enabling longer unmoderated caucuses and ensuring that standard procedure is cut down to the minimum. It will be a long weekend and we wish to give you the most opportunity we can to do what you signed up to do - negotiate the IMF bailout of Spain.
Even the most prominent diplomat or politician has a tireless, invisible team behind them working to ensure that everything they do is accurate and precise. Simulating this committee in two equal teams, the IMF and the Spain, instead of individual countries, encourages creative, team-based solutions and takes pressure off individuals when they need it. The lack of individual remits and shared position paper research means that each of you will be able to contribute something unique to the committee in addition to having the flexibility to work on something else when required.
This is a committee with obligatory position papers and you will be given feedback twice before the conference in order to provide learning opportunities for the delegates as well as give them enough resources to participate fully in the committee and enjoy themselves. The chairs reserve the right to disqualify delegates who do not submit position papers from awards and committee allocations may be swapped as high demand for this committee is anticipated.
So do not hesitate to take part in this challenge along with the experienced chairs who will ensure an unforgettable experience!
CRISIS- THE FIRST OPIUM WAR
DIRECTOR: MARIA SLOBODINA
We are delighted to announce that our Crisis Director is the lovely Maria Slobodina.
Maria is a second year Neuroscience student at University College London. Originally from Russia, Maria moved to the UK in 2009 and began her MUN career (is that a thing?) 2 years later. This will be Maria’s second YorkMUN and she’s very excited to return after a very enjoyable conference last year, during which she backroomed for this year’s SecGen and USG Chairing (❤). This will be her 44th conference and 13th Crisis. Outside of MUN, Maria is currently a part-time intern at UCL’s Neural Computation Lab, where she is helping to train an algorithm to analyse electron micrographs of brain tissue. Maria’s favourite things include Nutella and wholesome memes.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: THOMAS RON
Meet our brilliant Assistant Director, Thomas Ron, (just in case you haven’t already met him).
Thomas Ron is an avid Model UNer who does a PhD in Politics on the side. Having started in 2008 when he was just 14 he has been doing MUN for 9 years and still has not stopped enjoying it. This will be his fifth YorkMUN, having been a delegate at YorkMUN 2012 and on the Secretariat for 2015, 2016, and 2017.
He is very honoured to be chosen to be the Deputy Crisis Director for YorkMUN 2018 and to be working on a topic as interesting as the Opium Wars, which defined Asian politics for years to come. He has the privilege of working with a fantastic crisis team and looks forward to welcoming all delegates for what is sure to be a great weekend.
When not doing Model UN or his degree Thomas likes to cook and host dinner parties. He also enjoys gaming, walking, campaigning for The Labour Party, and supporting Tottenham Hotspur.
CHAIR: DANIEL GINDIS
Daniel (Gindis) is from the United States and recently completed his graduate studies in Strategic Communication and Business. Daniel has chaired, and directed crisis, at some of the top Model UN conferences such as LIMUN, CUIMUN, OxiMUN and now YorkMUN. Daniel coaches Model UN teams and writes for Helpmymun.com. Daniel is the creator of the Model UN style music video.
Daniel is very excited to be back at York as a chair in crisis. 2017 was full of memories with Rick, Daniel G Page and all the rest of the excellent humans. As the 2018 team is stellar, Daniel is looking forward to doing so again.
CHAIR: DANIEL PAGE
Daniel (G. Page) is a third year Liberal Arts student at King’s College London. A native of London, he first began doing MUN shortly after starting his course. Very quickly he found crisis and was hooked, with the result that out of 13 conferences he has attended, 11 have been in crisis roles (the other 2 were a mistake). As befits someone who has MUNed so much, Daniel has done everything from Delegating to Directing. That said, this will be his first YorkMUN and his first time north of the Humber, and both are experiences he looks forwards to.
Outside of MUN and studying, Daniel enjoys hiking, canvassing for the Labour party (sometimes at the same time) and consuming excessive quantities of cheese and alcohol. He especially looks forwards to the last one in a atmosphere that may well finally put the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘affordable’ together.
BACKROOM: AIDEN MONTEITH
Aidan is a third year Politics and Economics student at the University of York and has been a MUN aficionado ever since discovering it in his first year, before promptly discovering crisis and falling in love with that. YorkMUN will be his 12th conference, 4th time on backroom detail and, most importantly, his 3rd YorkMUN ,which he is greatly looking forward to helping make the best yet. Outside of MUN, Aidan enjoys board games, climbing, staring off into the middle distance and debating anything even remotely to do with Politics or Economics.
BACKROOM: BEN WALKER
Ben is a Modern History Masters student at York. He grew up on the mean streets of Manchester and is widely considered in MUN Circles to be a rebel without a cause. Ben joined MUN exclusively to take part in Crisis, and is excited to be on the Backroom for his second ever YorkMUN. He hopes to help make this the best YorkMUN Crisis ever.
BACKROOM: LAURE SIGALLA
Laure Sigalla, 21, is a Medieval History Master's student in La Sorbonne in Paris and the Ludwigs-Maximilian University in Munich. She started MUN about a year ago and since then, has been to more than 7 conferences, both as chair and delegate. YorkMUN 2017 was her first time as a crisis delegate, and therefore she is delighted to be back as backroom! Fun fact: Laure longs for the desert, that is why she chose York as a weekend trip destination!
BACKROOM: RICK ROMANELLI
Rick is a BA student at LUISS University in Rome, Italy, majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Before college, he lived in between Florence and the United States. He slaved away in finance, creative consulting, and other boring stuff, and was recently in the backroom of the historical crisis at PIMUN and HolyLand, where he ate all the hummus. Before YorkMUN, he will be chairing at AUMUN in Madrid and OxiMUN (in, you guessed it, Oxford) and join the backroom of CUIMUN, IsarMUN and SGMUN. He is a master of accents, lover of food/travel, and an SNL cast member wannabe. In his spare time (if such things exist) you can catch him fighting heart disease with puns and chocolate, studying healthcare systems for his dissertation, and chilling on his terrace looking over the colosseum, practising future crisis roles.
BACKROOM: SYLVIA DE SERDIO VAN DEN WALL BAKE
Sylvia de Serdio is a 2nd year Social and Political Sciences student at the University of York. With her Spanish, Dutch and Peruvian blood MUN is a perfect fit for her. Being very political, Sylvia was thrilled when she discovered GA but, being slightly psychopathic, she tends to prefer crisis. A questionable human being (take that as you'd like), Sylvia enjoys being frequently misunderstood, both by the fact that her main form of communication is sarcasm and by men who love to mansplain; she also loves to compliment other girls in public bathrooms and most of all, she lives to test the limits as she studies exactly how late can she be to places before people start to stop inviting her. As an active(ish) member of UNA York and proud resident of York, she is really excited about welcoming all of you to YorkMUN!
BACKROOM: TOM DAVIES
Tom is twenty-three years old and is controversially not a student. He has a BA in Politics from the University of York and a pending MA in Public Administration and Public Policy from the same. He was born in Gloucestershire in the South-West of England and has lived in Yorkshire for the past five years. His life isn’t particularly interesting, but he did win a best delegate award at last year’s YorkMUN after fermenting a nationalist uprising in Wales.
This year, YorkMUN will feature a Two Cabinet Crisis, themed around The First Opium War. Delegates will simulate a true turning point in the history of China and in turn will be able to shape the country's economic and political future with every sent directive.
The crisis will look beyond war games that are already a staple of Historical Crises and instead will focus on how economic, diplomatic and political machinations shaped the War and the continent.
Crisis isn’t at all like the standard committees in Model United Nations. GA and other main branch committees operate primarily using a series of moderated caucuses that are regulated by the chair. In crisis there are no moderated caucuses, and the chair is also a character in the crisis. The chair is there to guide the committee and to help it achieve its goals, but the events of the crisis can and will affect them just like they could affect a delegate. In crisis, you do not represent a particular country, instead - you will receive a biography of a specific person and would be expected to role play as that character throughout the crisis.
The main written product of a GA delegate would be a resolution, crisis delegates achieve most of their success through directives. Directives are messages that are sent to the Crisis backroom where they are assessed. In essence, a directive should tell the backroom staff two things: what you want to do and how you are doing it