YMUN XLVi Committee Previews
The General Assembly (GA 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.
+ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Chairs: Ziad Ahmed, Victoria Mak, & Nico Trigo
Topic 1: Statelessness
Twelve million people around the world remain unrecognized by any state and unprotected by law, and thus they are rendered stateless. Due to conflicting nationality laws and discrimination, these refugees are often unable to gain access to employment, housing and healthcare. Their lack of documentation only perpetuates the cycle that denies the basic rights guaranteed to citizens. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has been criticized for the last decade for failing to adhere to its mandate on statelessness, but this committee will renew efforts to report accurate statistics, offer aid to people in flux, and promote international justice. This novice committee will ultimately seek to have delegates work collaboratively around solutions to a global crisis of stateless people.
+ Special Political & Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL)
Chairs: Sammy Landino & Teava Torres de Sa
Topic 1: Xinjian
Topic 2: Palestinian Refugees
China’s peripheral struggle with their Xinjiang province is one of the modern world’s biggest political and religious conflicts. Seeing Xinjiang inhabitants’ Muslim faith as a threat to party rule, China’s Communist Party has created a veritable police state in Xinjiang — controlling everything from where people can worship, to when they’re allowed outside in the public. What’s more, the Chinese Communist Party has forcibly detained thousands of the Uighur minority (mostly Muslim), and placed them in reeducation camps, where they allegedly strip the Uighurs of their faith and denigrate them as human beings. At the core of this issue is a test of the Chinese semi-authoritarian governmental system that thrives on absolute control of its subjects. How a such state can tolerate a province that it sees as ideologically threatening without detaining its inhabitants will be a central theme of this topic.
The question of Palestinian Statehood has defined the central conflict in the Middle East for decades. With the presence of settlements on the West Bank growing at an exponential rate, it’s increasingly crucial that SPECPOL address the concerns of displaced Palestinian refugees. However, the region holds extreme religious significance for a number of major world religions, a fact that cannot be ignored and one which informs any solution upon which this committee decides. The entanglement of religious beliefs, ethnic affiliations, and disparate cultures necessitates that this issue be addressed with the utmost care and respect for all affected parties. SPECPOL is tasked with taking these considerations into account while addressing one of the most pressing crises the Middle East has ever seen.
+ Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)
Chairs: Jake Fischer, Rene Olivarez, & Marcello Rossi
Topic 1: Lethal Autonomous Weapons
Topic 2: Nuclear Non-Proliferation in the Middle East
Could machines completely replace humans in the practice of international security? In fact, they already are. Lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) are unmanned technology systems that can execute lethal force against human targets without the input of a human supervisor. Automatic defensive systems, such as mines and missile defense, fall under this category, but increasingly states and militaries are relying on automatic offensive systems, such as drones, military robots, unmanned vehicles and even artificial intelligence. How should the international community and DISEC treat these emerging technologies? What laws, ethical codes, and norms of control should regulate them?
Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East region has been a major point of contention in international security for decades, and that trend is far from over. In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for raising many economic sanctions, as agreed by Iran and six major world powers. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has still abided by the deal, but it is unlikely to do so indefinitely without incentives. Many policymakers are concerned that an unstable deal could encourage other rival states such as Saudi Arabia or Israel (which already possesses nuclear capability) to intensify their nuclear programs. Meanwhile, the U.N. has continued to urge the region to embrace nuclear-weapon-free-zone status. How should the world move forward on Middle East non-proliferation after U.S. withdrawal? What long-term solutions can DISEC propose?
+ Historical Legal Committee
Chairs: Henry Ziemer, Hanah Lee, Eujin Jang, & Neelam Sandhu
Topic 1: Ratifying the Rome Statute
Topic 2: Intervention in Kosovo
The Historical General Assembly will be tackling some of the most challenging and controversial legal issues issues in recent history. Taking place at the turn of the millennium, the international community has faced repeated setbacks to the idealistic vision of a post-Cold War era of peaceful cooperation. Human rights abuses and vicious conflicts have marred the reputation of the United Nations, prompting a determined effort to create new mechanisms for protecting vulnerable populations and providing justice in the aftermath of conflicts. The first topic, on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court will have far reaching implications for the UN’s mandate, a necessary step for some and a dangerous violation of sovereignty to others. The second topic will deal with NATO intervention in Kosovo in which the committee will debate the legality of the use of force for humanitarian purposes. This will be a fast-paced and challenging environment involving the vested national interests of UN member states and debate over the future of the United Nations as a whole.
+ Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM)
Chairs: Amanda Dickerson, Ignacio Diaz Pascual, & Angela Avonce
SOCHUM is the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee of the United Nations. It focuses on human rights, social affairs and humanitarian issues. Our goal is for the delegates to work together to draft resolutions attempting to resolve crises ranging from freedom of education for women to the rights of intervention in developing nations. We aim to do this through strong diplomacy and substantial debate.
+ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Chairs: Liam Muldoon, Enrique Tomas Chuidian, & Mary Chen
Topic 1: Sustainable Development in LMICs
Topic 2: Natural Disasters
The United Nations Environmental Assembly will focus on socio-economic issues that develop due to a lack of sustainable infrastructure. Specifically, the committee will zone in on the need for environmentally-aware policies and projects for developing countries in order to prevent more crises associated with climate change. Similarly, the committee will touch upon the effect that natural disasters can have on developing economies, and will be centered around creating legislation that prevents further decline for countries that have historically not had access to clean energy, water, or agriculture (to name a few). As a whole, the committee will discuss the need for global cooperation to establish a more sustainable future, and will go in-depth for how countries around the world can support this mission while maintaining economic stability.
+ United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
Chair: Arinjay Singhai, Grace Baghdadi, & Chen Lin
Topic 1: Global Persecution of LGBT+ Populations
Topic 2: Human Trafficking in Conflict Zones
On July 30, 2018 - United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated, “Trafficking in persons is a vile crime that feeds on inequalities, instability and conflict. Human traffickers profit from peoples' hopes and despair. They prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights.” Conflict zones in some regions of Africa, Middle East, and Asia have served as fertile grounds for human traffickers due to the weak rules of law and lack of resources. Every year, armed criminals traffick an estimated 40.3 million people for sexual exploitation, forced marriage, armed combat and various forms of forced labor. How can governments collaborate to reduce human trafficking between and within their borders? We are interested in exploring how governments, especially those in conflict zones, can work to reduce human trafficking and support survivors of this malicious practice.
+ Economic and Financial Committee (ECOFIN)
Chairs: Calvin Jahnke, Graham Hardcastle, & Morgan Ross
Topic 1: Venezuela’s Economy
Topic 2: Chinese Aid in Africa
Venezuela was once the richest country in South America. In the recent past, growing debt and hyperinflation have turned the tables for the country. Its virtually complete reliance on its oil industry to fund social programs meant that any reduction in exports would have disastrous effects. Lack of investment in production, corruption, and U.S. sanctions have done just this, plunging the country into deep debt. The Economics and Financial Committee thus finds it imperative to act upon this now humanitarian issue. In finding a path forward for the Venezuelan economy, the ECOFIN committee can restore stability to the country as well as form the basis of economic crisis response in future similar situations.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative, commonly referred to as the ‘New Silk Road’, is President Xi Jinping’s multi-trillion dollar investment into creating and extending current Chinese trading routes via construction on railroads, ports, pipelines, power grids, and highways. A significant percentage of countries who signed this deal are in Africa, the poorest continent with some of the highest global rates of poverty and lowest GDPs. This initiative is welcomed by some, seeing it as a way to aid in creating better relations between China and African countries, while greatly helping to modernize the continent. Critics to China’s heavy involvement see the New Silk Road as a form of economic imperialism and intimidation, a way for China to lock political loyalty and have countries reliant on Chinese debt forgiveness. The Economics and Financial Committee sees the current and future ramifications of this deal affecting the path of the global economy, and find it imperative that a clear global consciousness is reached in order to avoid intimidation of developing nations and possible conflict.
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.
+ United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
Chairs: Ananya Kachru, Margaret Sun, & Hannah Quirk
Topic 1: Education Equality for Women
Topic 2: Women’s Reproductive Rights
Within our committee on the Commission on the Status of Women, we will look at sustainable development through the lens of education equity for women and women’s reproductive health and rights. Discussions on education equity will relate to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Beijing+25 Declaration, and center around layered barriers to accessing educational opportunities such as cultural norms, violence against women, and menstruation. We will explore the interactions between development and women’s education. Topics like postsecondary education opportunity, access to careers in STEM, long-term societal benefits of gender parity in education will be examined.
In discussing women’s reproductive health and rights, topics like access to developed hospitals, child marriage and sexual violence, as well as the nexus between legal systems and reproductive autonomy will be explored.
+ Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)
Chairs: Clare Wu, Ashwin Chetty, & Malak Khan
Topic 1: Human Trafficking in the Mediterranean
Topic 2: Recent Rises of Terrorism in Europe
In its inaugural year as a YMUN committee, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) will cover two highly complicated and timely issues. First, we will discuss the issues of human trafficking in the Mediterranean region, one that involved many countries and three continents. Expect to address issues of combating smugglers, assisting refugees, and coordinating international patrols. Secondly, the committee will explore recent rises in terrorism in Europe. Delegates will debate both the causes of this issue, as well as the possible implementation of preventative measures for future attacks. Bearing in mind the mandate of our commission, we must also consider how justice can be best administered in both of these complex transnational situations.
+ World Bank
Chairs: Jon Deuber, Karthik Irakam, & Kueho Choi
Topic 1: Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Topic 2: Encouraging Environmentally Sustainable Progress in Developing Countries
The World Bank, established in 1944, has always had two main goals with the same theme: completely ending extreme poverty, and promoting shared prosperity by helping grow the incomes of every nation’s lower 40%. To that end, the World Bank functions to aid nations around the world both by providing low-interest loans (especially to developing countries) and by supporting positive initiatives with decades of knowledge and experience. It helps nations invest in such areas as education, health, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, and environmental and natural resource management.
Considering the many modern crises at hand, at YMUN XLVI, the World Bank will take aim at two topics. First, it will tackle economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that is projected to record the largest population growth between now and 2050, but has not been able to sustain an equivalent economic growth rate. This committee will explore the obstacles to growth and devise solutions to overcome them, from finding ways to adequately utilize the region’s rich resources while ensuring proper wages to helping ensure that Africa does not fall behind in an increasingly connected world due to a lack of broadband access.
Second, the World Bank will take on the challenge of encouraging environmentally sustainable progress in developing countries. In a world on the brink of climate disaster, it is crucial for every nation to be involved in the solution. In recent years, developing nations, eager to fuel accelerating growth, have leaned dangerously toward fossil fuels and unsustainable energy infrastructure. The World Bank has the ability to provide proper incentives and ideas to reverse this course – this committee will explore the intricacies of environmental sustainability and ultimately, saving the world.
+ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Chairs: Quan Le, Demirkan Coker, & Ken Tanaka
Topic 1: Afghan Opiate Trade Project
Topic 2: Coca Production in the Andes
The Commission on Narcotic Drugs, established by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, reviews and analyzes the global drug situation, advises ECOSOC on matters related to narcotic drugs, acts as the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and supervises the application of international drug control treaties. The Commission covers topics including the prevention of drug abuse, rehabilitation of drug users, and the supply and trafficking of illicit drugs.
Delegates will be charged with representing their countries in the Commission and work towards combating issues related to narcotic drugs that plague the world today.
The first topic of discussion will be about the Afghan Opiate Trade Project. Illicit Afghan opiates are heavily traded around the world (with the exception of Latin America), and pose threats to human safety and health as well as governance and security at regional, national, and international levels. Because of the wide-reaching effects of these opiates, CND has launched the Afghan Opiate Trade Project to address the global trade of Afghan opiates. Delegates will discuss the international response to Afghan opiates.
The second topic of discussion will be about coca production within the Andean states (Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, etc), which not only destabilizes communities, but empowers criminal groups and poses a threat to human welfare. Delegates will discuss how best to respond to the illicit coca production in a sustainable and effective manner.
Throughout the committee, delegates should not only consider illicit drug trafficking, but the human and social impacts of drug trafficking on individual lives as well as communities. Violence and drug trafficking, as well as social fissures, are all often interlinked.
+ United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)
Chairs: Armando Herreria, Zachary Pankey, & Andrew Bellah
Topic 1: Water Wars: Conflict over Natural Resources
Topic 2: Nuclear Disarmament
The first topic for this committee will focus on conflicts which are driven by the need for natural resources as a result of increasing scarcity. Delegates should consider the resource needs for their country and how they could go about acquiring these resources, whether through negotiations or conflict. Water will be the primary resource considered in this debate, but other resources will be considered.
For Nuclear Disarmament, the debate will center around countries with nuclear weapons and potentially those with aspirations to possess them. Delegates should consider the practicality of nuclear weapons in modern society, from environmental problems to human rights issues. Additionally, the dilemma of why some countries are ‘allowed’ to possess nuclear weapons and others are not should be examined.
+ United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
Chairs: Isabella Canava & Anna Aller
Topic 1: Socioeconomic Conflict over Natural Disasters
Topic 2: Prevention of Manmade Disasters
We would like to focus on the disproportionate impact of climate change on the global poor. Although developed countries generate the most pollution and waste, it is developing countries that face the consequences. Climate change exacerbates the already stark income inequalities which mean the global poor are becoming poorer. In our committee we want to engage our delegates in discussion about how economic vulnerabilities make climate change's cost greater. Subsequently, we would like to address how NGOs might work to mitigate such vulnerabilities.
We would also like to focus on floods given how frequent and costly they are internationally. Particularly, we want to discuss efficient solutions for preparing for when floods do occur as well as ways to mitigate the effect of disasters before hand. We might want to discuss whether US "No Adverse Impact" policies would be successful internationally. Subsequently, we would like to question the repercussions of extending domestically crafted initiatives into other countries--namely, developing a strategy for modifying the initiative.
+ World Health Organization (WHO)
Chairs: Sabrine Benzakour, Yuka Saji, & Raisha Waller
Topic 1: Disease Outbreaks and Vaccinations
Topic 2: Mental Health
Our committee will be focusing on the recent outbreak of previously eradicated diseases, such as measles, due to anti-vaccination sentiments. We will address the dangers of a lack of access to vaccinations in both developed and developing countries. Furthermore, we will discuss how to make access to vaccines more readily available to these underdeveloped areas as well as areas facing humanitarian crises. Then we will focus on improving access to mental health resources around the world, especially in low-income and marginalized communities, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
+ United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD)
Chairs: Annie Cheng & Jessica Ainooson
Topic 1: Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa
Topic 2: Building Green Cities in South and Southeast Asia
One of the goals of this committee is to deeply engage with the changing world we live in by creating effective strategies that will address challenges in both population and development. While the scope of this committee can be quite wide, we aim for delegates to engage with the different areas of these topics and their intersections such as human rights, conflict, climate, and history to create thorough and comprehensive solutions.
The first topic of the committee addresses the challenges of urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa. As one of the fastest urbanizing regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa’s successes and failures in urbanization will be key for the rest of the world. Additionally, the region has one of the fastest growing populations globally. Urban centers play a key role in driving economic development and alleviating poverty. However, urbanization can lead to problems with overcrowding, inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, environmental degradation, and etc. The goal of this topic is to address how various stakeholders such as the government, private sector, and international actors can sustain growth in a region undergoing an immense demographic shift.
The second topic of the committee focuses on the pathways of sustainable development in South and Southeast Asia, with a look towards transforming the Asian megacity. One of the major concerns of the island and coastal cities of this region includes climate change resilience and rapid urbanization, significantly affecting developmental patterns and standards of living. This topic assesses how cities can work together across regional climatic and culture differences to institute systems of best practices, tailored towards a collective long-term stability as well as local needs. In particular, delegates will work together to balance domestic agricultural empowerment and histories of food sovereignty with international innovation—aiming at a cohesive mission of equity, cultural restoration and preservation, and preparation for greener, more just future.
Regional Bodies (RBs) 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.
+ African Union (AU)
Chairs: Mbella Beseka & Brian Dolan
Topic 1: Natural Disaster Response
Topic 2: Migration Crisis
Environmental crises have been on the rise in the past decade across the globe. Cycle Idai ravaged the eastern coast of Africa in the early spring of 2019. With billions of dollars in damages, the intense tropical storm exacerbated pre-existing problems of poor sanitation, public resource allocation, and inefficient government structures. The storm left more than a thousand dead, and thousands missing. Aftereffects include the spread of cholera, a fatal disease itself, as well as mass displacement across the affected region. Member states of the African Union must come together to coordinate a comprehensive response to this crisis, as well as formulate a plan for future occurrences of natural disaster with the advent of climate change. Above all, the AU must show that the international community has not forgotten about this region and will act to help preserve the lives of thousands of Africans.
Throughout the centuries, Spain has retained its hold on territory within the physical mainland of Morocco in Northern Africa: two cities, Ceuta and Melilla. Due to Spain's status as a member state of the European Union, international law dictates that once an asylum seeker has stepped foot on Spanish soil, they cannot be turned away. Yet, this is exactly what has been happening in the past months of the crisis. Refugees from sub-Saharan African countries are not only being turned away, but also suffering broken limbs and other injuries from the treatment of border guards. If the African Union finds these allegations to be true, then it would present not only a violation of international conventions, but those pertaining to human rights as well. The African Union must devise a solution which demonstrates that the destiny of migrants as well as of all Africans lays in the hands of Africans themselves.
+ Community of Latin American and Carribean States (CELAC)
Chairs: Marco Chaidez, Scotty Gustavo Parajón, & Kimberly Wenceslao
Tema 1: Enfrentando las crisis en Nicaragua y Venezuela
Tema 2: Violencia doméstica y los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres
The Spanish speaking committee, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States will be discussing two topics, "Enfrentando las crisis en Nicaragua y Venezuela" and "Violencia doméstica y los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres".
Desde el 2017, hemos visto una división ideológica muy clara entre nuestra región que ha afectado la función y la unidad de la CELAC. Esta ruptura se debe en gran parte a las recientes crisis sociopolíticas y humanitarias que afectan a Nicaragua y a Venezuela. Desde el inicio de estas crisis, hemos visto más de 150 muertes en Venezuela y más de 500 en Nicaragua, además de miles de encarcelamientos políticos en ambos lados. Depende de nosotros como una región unida encontrar y enfrentar los raíces y el origen de esta división política y estas crisis de una forma que respete la soberanía de nuestros países hermanos.
Como promedio 12 mujeres son asesinadas cada día en América Latina (según el informe de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe). Además, el Informe del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo de noviembre del 2017 identifica América Latina como la región que tiene la tasa más alta de violencia sexual contra las mujeres basada en el género. Sin embargo, hay mucho desacuerdo entre nuestra región sobre lo que constituye los derechos de una mujer con respecto a los métodos anticonceptivos, el aborto y otros temas. Todos podemos estar de acuerdo en que los derechos de las mujeres en nuestra región se han visto gravemente afectados por el machismo. Afortunadamente, muchos países han tomado medidas contra estas injusticias Pero depende de nosotros como CELAC comenzar a trabajar en planes más cohesivos y unificados para la región.
+ European Commission
Chairs: Anastasia Hufham, Joseph Ribaudo, & Heather Foster
Topic 1: Brexit
Topic 2: Rise of the Far Right
Great Britain intends to leave the European Union by October 31, 2019. The implications of Brexit will impact the entire EU in a number of ways. How will immigration, the economy, and trade be affected? What will it look like if Britain leaves the EU without a deal in place? The chairs will set a specific time period in which to consider Brexit later in the topic-guide writing process.
In another vein, there has been a significant rise in far-right politics in European countries in recent years. The committee will contemplate ways to address the xenophobia, anti-Islamic rhetoric, and Euroscepticism brought about by these political shifts, not only just within Europe, but in relation to the rest of the world. Significant European countries and parties up for discussion include: Italy’s The League, Germany’s Alternative for Germany, Austria’s Freedom Party, and more.
+ Arab League
Chairs: Yazeed Mualla, Zakaria Gedi, & Rami Rajjoub
Topic 1: Finding a Solution to the Palestine Question
Topic 2: Proxy War in Syria: Involvement of Foreign Nations
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been prevalent on the world stage for over seventy years and continues to remain important to the international community particularly due to the region’s historical significance to the three major monotheistic faiths. Hostility and wars have become commonplace between the two parties and action is required on the international stage, particularly after the most recent war that ensued in 2014 on the Gaza Strip, which took the lives of several thousand innocent civilians. The Arab nations surrounding the region of conflict deserve a participating role in discourse about solutions to the conflict as the issue concerns the stability of the entire region. As such, delegates will act in the best interest of their representative Arab nation in engaging in discussion with surrounding nations to reach a consensus with regards to a single solution to the conflict (one-state/two-state/other) that the Arab nations can jointly support on the international stage. Delegates will also discuss how to put forth (to the international community) issues concerning injustices and violations of set international law that may have previously and may still currently exist within the conflict.
Over the past ten years, the Syrian War has slowly metamorphosed from a regional civil war into a global proxy war among various nations throughout the Middle East and beyond. After more than 500,000 civilians were killed in Syria, the Arab League has sought to alleviate the affliction by attempting to develop two peace plans to no avail. Now, Syria is at a greater risk of being overrun by proxy wars of other nations, some of which include Israel, Iran, Russia, United States and Turkey. Syria has also turned into a microcosm for Secularism (Russia/US/UAE) vs Islamists (Turkey/Iran/Qatar) states in the Middle East. The committee will seek to address the foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War and seek to draft a new peace plan for the region.
+ Organization of American States (OAS)
Chairs: Dax Aldecocea, Brandon Chambers, & Charlie Uchno
Topic 1: Promoting Democracy in the Americas
Topic 2: Protecting Gender Equality
The Organization of American States is a regional group of 35 countries across the Americas. Beginning as the International Union of American Republics in 1889, the OAS was formally chartered in 1948. Since its inception, has aimed to achieve “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence."
Recent issues, such as the situation in Venezuela, unrest in Puerto Rico, and authoritarianism in Nicaragua have highlighted the challenges in maintaining and preserving democracy in the region. Struggles such as reproductive rights, access to education, and equal representation continue to be major hurdles in the pursuit of achieving equality across states in the Americas. Can leaders across the Americas come together and address these contentious issues?
+ Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Chairs: Rosa Chang, Xiaoying Zheng, & Juan Otoya Vanini
Topic 1: Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Topic 2: The Belt and Road Initiative
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has dramatically changed the scope of China’s infrastructure development and investments, spreading to more than 150 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. Cultivating regional connectivity, the Chinese government imagines and is working toward a China-centered trade network. Chinese firms are transforming Southeast Asia in radical ways, as ASEAN occupies a central strategic location in China’s BRI initiative. With this expansion, controversy and concerns over China’s rising political power has risen among Southeast Asian nations. Delegates will discuss how best to integrate themselves into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and how differing degrees of participation will affect each country’s economic structure and independence.
+ 2025: Arctic Council
Chairs: Haron Adbaru & Zosia Caes
Topic 1: New Arctic Trade Routes
Topic 2: Indigenous People in the Arctic
The Arctic Council has traditionally served as a forum that addresses issues related to indigenous people, Arctic shipping, and climate change. In 2025, a new issue has posed itself due to a large discovery of oil deep within the Arctic itself. As a result, the issue of trade routes has come to light as the harvesting and rights of this oil has lead to dispute among several of these nations. This committee will be tasked to producing a solution for this struggle, while avoiding potential escalation between the governing bodies of the Arctic.
The years went by in the Arctic, yet indigenous peoples throughout the Arctic region continued to be underrepresented. So far, the Arctic Council has no seat with voting power to represent the voice of indigenous peoples. Now, in 2025, when new resources have been discovered on what are indigenous lands, the question of the representation of indigenous peoples has resurfaced. Will the council allow an official representative? Who will decide which group should command the available resources?
Specialized Agencies 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 XLV’s Specialized Committees cover a wide range of topics, time periods and regions.
+ Tokyo 2020
Chairs: Linna Yao, Maggie Kirtley, & Brandi Richardson
Topic 1: Transgender Athletes
Topic 2: Steroids/blood doping
The 2020 Olympic Games are to be held in Tokyo, Japan. The games reflect the epitome of excellence for top-tier athletes from all around the world, but also bring to light issues that otherwise may not gain national attention. In this committee, we seek to understand the ethical dilemma that is posed by the participation of transgender athletes in this international competition. Additionally, we will be examining the controversy regarding usage of steroids and blood doping.
The participation of transgender athletes in the Olympics is met by controversy due to a couple factors. Many who oppose transgender athletes competing in the Olympics do so on the grounds of hormonal or physiological differences. However, there are also some other reasons, such as socialisation among teams. Those who are in favor of transgender athlete participation often argue that there are measures (such as the HRT) in place to fill the gap in physical features and even the playing field.
Of the approximately 11,000 athletes who competed in Rio, at least 120 had served suspensions or had to return medals because of doping. Performance-enhancing tactics (or PEDs) have been a part of the Olympics since its inception in Ancient Greece, but as methods have become more extreme, it has become increasingly evident that the use of PEDs is not only a threat to the integrity of sport but could also have potentially fatal side effects on the athlete.
+ Ancient Council
Chairs: Sarina Xu, Kishore Chundi, & Natalie Troy
More information about the Ancient Council will be coming soon! Check back in a couple days to learn more about this committee.
Chairs: Baji Tumendemberel & Arnold Setiadi
Topic 1: Colonization of Mars
Topic 2: Resource Exploitation in Space
Mars is a major point for scientific study in regards to its potential for human colonization. Due to the advancement of technology and questions regarding humans' future on earth, many arguments about mars colonization have risen. There are many political, social, and long-term economic ramifications involved with this matter. Many space agencies, private, and public organizations have attempted to get in on this. There is a race in determining which countries are allowed to have control over such resources and technology.
Facing both the benefits and burdens of technological progress, the United Nations is confronted with a new solution to resource scarcity: asteroid mining. However, the management of these bodies is not without controversy or complication. As a global body, it is the responsibility of the United Nations to determine the trajectory of resource exploitation in space. How much is too much? Who truly owns space? These are the types of questions you will be asked to face in your committee.
+ Designated Survivor
Chair: Nashirra Best, Aidan Neziri, & Chase Finney
Topic 1: Finding the Terrorist Organizaiton
Topic 2: Restructuring the American Government
Background: It’s 2019. In the middle of President Trump’s State of the Union, the capitol building explodes, killing Congress, SCOTUS, and the entire cabinet save for HUD secretary Ben Carson, who is immediately sworn in as President of the United States. Many decisions must be made to ensure the safety of the country and prevent an attack like this from ever happening.
President Ben Carson’s top priority is finding the perpetrators of this horrible attack. He has assembled this committee, which will report directly to the President, to begin an investigation into the attack and create recommendations for further action. The committee will have to carefully wade through loads of intelligence, some questionable, to create a plan.
President Carson has assembled a team of experts to form a committee to provide a list of policy recommendations to implement in order to safely and successfully restructure the U.S. Government as crises erupt across the country. The committee will respond to difficult political events as well as provide a framework for President Carson to act on as he seeks to rebuild the American government.
+ NGO Forum
Chairs: Nishi Felton, Reilly Johnson, & Ryan Fuentes
Topic 1: Syrian Refugees in Europe
Topic 2: Climate Change
Turkey hosts 63.4% of all Syrian refugees, dwarfing Europe’s commitment to the issue. As of April 11th, 2019, 3.6 million Syrians had registered as refugees in Turkey. Some of these “persons of concern” live in refugee camps, but the majority are scattered across the country; efforts to integrate the refugees with the Turkish population have lagged, indicating that the Turkish government intends to return the Syrians to their country. In fact, only 700,000 Syrians have residency permits. This refugee crisis has caused Turkey’s greatest demographic shift since the 1920’s. According to international law refugees must volunteer to be returned to their nations of origin. Given that, due to dangerous conditions in Syria, it’s unlikely many refugees are willing to go home, millions of Syrians are without a permanent solution to their displacement.
The effects of climate change include rapidly increasing global temperature, rising sea levels, and more forceful hot and cold spells. Attempts at global collaboration have been sporadic and ineffective--most countries have made little or no progress towards reducing their carbon emissions, and some have never even attempted. The United States, despite being one of the most responsible for the effects of climate change, has made few commitments to improve on the issue and, when it has made commitments, has struggled to meet them. How can the global aid community exert pressure on national governments to change their climate policy? Where does aid need to be directed?
+ Press Corps
Chairs: Hadley Copeland, Spencer Hagaman, & Elif Simsek
Topic 1: Refugees
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are almost 65.6 million refugees around the world. Genocide, military conflict, and more have forced people to leave behind their homes. Two questions must be answered in a solution to the refugee crisis: How do we care for current refugees, and how do we prevent more from becoming refugees? As members of the Press Corps, you will be visiting different committees, interviewing delegates and reporting on the events of committee. It is your job to hold countries accountable to providing humanitarian treatment to refugees and preventing global states from producing more refugees.
+ International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Chairs: Jocelyn Ra, Allison Rice, & Leila Iskandarani
Topic 1: Relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem
Topic 2: Nuclear Disarmament between Pakistan and the Marshall Islands
In 2018, United States President Donald J. Trump acted on his campaign promise and the long-delayed 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act dictating the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. This is significant because it marks the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem, a heavily-disputed area between Israelis and Palestinians, as the capital of Israel. While the physical boundaries of “Jerusalem” were not solidified, there are still strong reactions on either side of the dispute.
On April 24, 2014 the Marshall Islands filed a claim against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan “in which it claimed that Pakistan breached customary international law obligations concerning negotiations relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament.” This session of the Court will focus not on the procedural claims (as the real ICJ), but strictly on the merits of the case.
Note: This committee is capped at 16 delegates. This committee is highly challenging – if you have any questions about the committee, please feel free to contact the President of the International Court of Justice, Jocelyn Ra, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are eager to offer 7 engaging committees, focusing on creative problem solving on both an independent and collective basis. With less than 20 delegates, crisis committees are suitable for dedicated delegates who are looking to get the most out of their committee experience.
Chairs: Muriel Wang & Maile Harris
Topic to be revealed before the first committee session of YMUN! No preparation is necessary. We recommend that experienced delegates apply for this committee!
+ JCC: CIA
Chairs: Minahil Nawaz & Zach Gold
Topic 1: Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
Topic 2: Nicaraguan Crisis
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the USA's primary foreign intelligence gathering service. In this JCC, the CIA will be conducting its operations during the Cold War and will have to respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as well as the Nicaraguan crisis. Delegates will engage with the complex and nuanced crises that the US faced during the Cold War, all while taking into account the actions of the opposing side: the KGB committee. The Soviets will be actively fighting against US foreign policy interests and the power of the US itself, so it is up to the CIA to make sure that America's place on the global stage is protected. A new world order is being created, and the United States must emerge victorious through it.
+ JCC: KGB
Chairs: Nathalie Bussemaker & Ornella Bayigamba
Topic 1: Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
Topic 2: Nicaraguan Crisis
The year is 1979 and the United States and the Soviet Union are locked in a silent yet deadly conflict over global influence. Tensions have been building since the end of the Second World War, and they have now come to a climax. The Soviet Union has just invaded Afghanistan in order to bolster the communist coup that took place last year, and the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front has overthrown US-backed Somoza dynasty. Now, it is up to the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) — the Soviet intelligence gathering agency — to ensure that these governments will remain in place in order to spread the benefits of communism around the world. You will be entrusted with an important role in the agency and must fight for the good of Mother Russia through both group action and personal schemes. Above all, you must ensure that we’re always one step ahead of the enemy: the Central Intelligence Agency.
+ Council of Nicaea, 325 Anno Domini
Chairs: Tim Han & Tommy Schacht
Topic 1: Transubstantiation
Topic 2: The Holy Trinity
In the centuries immediately following the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, the early Christian Church struggled to coalesce around a unified doctrine of beliefs. Internal turmoil roiled the Church, created hostile schisms, and endangered the Church's mission to bring the good news to the rest of the world. Thus, in 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine I declared the first ecumenical council of the Church to establish a shared set of beliefs, which resulted in the Nicene Creed. This committee will offer a deeply educational, engaging opportunity for students to step into and re-evaluate important theological debates that shaped the future and identity of the dominant religion of Western civilization.
+ The Technological Future
Chairs: Gregory Jany, Lauren Gatta, & Samar Allibhoy
Topic 1: Mass Surveillance and Information Technology
Topic 2: Technology, Security, and Political Power
Our committee will focus on the impact of new technologies on the world, its people, and its institutions. Set in 2040, it will explore the ramifications of how different countries have implemented new systems in areas such as mass surveillance, spying, technological warfare, and healthcare.
In particular, this committee will consider questions of the politics and ethics of technology. While technological and scientific advancements are frequently construed as apolitical, the use of drone warfare, bioterrorism, and the racial bias in computer algorithms all reveal that technology is inextricably linked with notions of security and justice. Delegates will represent leaders in the technological world, whether in government, business, or scientific academia, crafting their personal crisis arcs. In doing so, delegates will consider how our technological future may be a utopia, or a perilous unknown.
+ Common Ministerial Council of the Austro-Hungarian Empire July 1914
Chairs: Joshua Hano & Anand Nanduri
Topic 1: Course of action following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
Topic 2: Maintaining the legitimacy and security of the Dual Monarchy
Shots fired! Shots fired! Our dear Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir presumptive of the empire, was shot and killed by Serbian terrorists. How will you, the Common Ministerial Council, exact revenge for this dastardly assault upon the throne, navigate the political and social intricacies of our multiethnic empire, and deter the powerful nations around you and from igniting the tinder that is the ongoing arms race? The people of the empire are rioting with anger; will you listen to their voices and declare war or chart a course for peace and reconciliation? Will the Dual Monarchy survive, or is this experiment in governance doomed to fail? As our empire’s only joint governing body, the choice is yours.
+ The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Chairs: Darnell Battle & Mei Chen
Topic 1: A New Plague
Topic 2: Sick Refugees
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be challenged to tackle serious endangerments to public health. Delegates will be faced with isolating and annihilating one of the most deadly contagions in the history of the world: a modern day plague. The committee will tasked with both researching a cure to the disease and attempting to maintain order and prevent panic amongst the citizenry. This is a high-stakes topic: the lives of millions of people depend on the decisions of the committee to eradicate the plague. Once dealt with, the committee will face a different, but still important challenge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be tasked with treating ailing refugees from a foreign nation, alleviating the consequences to United States public health of accepting sick refugees, and navigating increasing external pressure to use the disease to ban refugees from entering the United States. In all, delegates of this committee will find themselves making crucial decisions which affect the health and livelihood of individuals worldwide.
+ United Nations Security Council
Chairs: Kimberly Wei & Nikita Raheja
In 2019, amongst the growing threat of climate change, world leaders made a secret pact. Worried about the future of the planet, these leaders created a plan that might save the earth if climate change ever threatened to make it uninhabitable. Now it’s 2300 and top scientists have just determined that the earth will be sustainable for just 50 more years given the current trend. And, unbeknownst to the world’s 12 billion population, the terms of the pact have just been fulfilled. As the world leaders in 2019 determined, a new international committee is being formed. More powerful than all the world’s governments, this committee has the power to determine the future of the planet. Members of the committee will have to respond to the threats of climate change and conflict in order to save our planet from the damage humans have brought upon it.
+ Japanese Occupation of Korea
Chairs: Joon Lee, Karen Lu, & Andrew Song
Topic 1: Korean Resistance (Sam-il Movement)
Topic 2: Post-Occupation Negotiations
Our committee is about the crisis between Korean desire for independence from Japanese colonial government. South Korean internal resistance leaders will aim to achieve independence by priorities of diplomatic means and other methods if needed, while Japan's provincial state will attempt to appease or quell rebellion. The post-WW2 era also left a lot of uncertainties for the Korean Peninsula. Korean leaders along with Japan and international powers will attempt to solve political agendas and preserve the interests of the Korean people. Crisis will involve more international mediation perhaps in the second committee.