Issues of Diasporas, Human Rights and Genocide Discussed at the First International MUN Conference in Armenia

DiliMUN’18, the first international Model United Nations conference in Armenia, took place in Dilijan on 30 March – 2 April with dynamic discussions shared by all. Initiated by students from UWC Dilijan, over 70 delegates attended the conference from Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, India, Russia and Syria. The conference highlighted a series of sensitive international issues united by the main theme of Diaspora, with attendance from young delegates representing the perspectives of different countries around the world.

It was very important to bring the MUN conference to UWC Dilijan as such initiatives raise awareness among young people for the most sensitive international issues. They also engage students with the community as half of the participants are from Armenia and help the college live up to the UWC mission,” said Rayan, Sudan, UWCD’18, a secretary general of the conference.

During the three-day conference, DiliMUN delegates discussed a range of topics including the refugee crisis, the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community, the unrecognised genocides, the proliferation of the development of nuclear weaponry, the South China dispute, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The inaugural Dilijan MUN conference saw over 70 delegates from Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, India, Russia and Syria.

The conference had four committees: two general assemblies, a human rights council, and a security council. On the last day, the human rights council and the general assemblies united on the plenary session.

Despite the time limitations and complexity of the topics, delegates managed to create constructive resolutions.

The conference kicked off with an opening ceremony. The Head of the College, Denise Davidson, and secretary generals of the conference – Rayan, Sudan, UWCD’18, and Ernest, Latvia, UWCD’18 – welcomed the delegates. Students gave African and Asian performances and keynote speakers delivered speeches about diasporas.

Farah, Palestine, UWCD’18, shared her story on how she got into UWC Dilijan and became part of the Palestinian diaspora in Armenia, “Sometimes leaving the country turns to be the impossible that everyone is trying to reach”. Boghos, Lebanon, UWCD’19, and a member of the Armenian diaspora, said, “Diasporas can be considered to be the essential and vital veins that strengthen and empower the flourishing and beating heart of a nation”.

The conference program was full of different activities and events. The hospitality team organised a TEDx-style event on the second day where students of UWC Dilijan and the delegates shared their stories about identity. One of them was Nasreen, Lebanon, UWCD’19, who said, Finding who you are is one of the hardest things to do, but it is a quest for you to jump into this sea of complexity”. The speeches raised many interesting points and explored a number of new ideas.

Since its inception in 2014, UWC Dilijan has operated a MUN Club and students involved have regularly been participating in the MUN conferences in Armenia and abroad. However, they always wanted to hold such a conference in their college. This year a group of students took this initiative and formed an organization committee which consisted of 6 subcommittees: the research committee prepared the conference programme, the logistics committee dealt with finances and organized transportation to Dilijan, the communications team promoted the event and answered questions, the registration team was in charge of selecting and registering the participants, the hospitality team organised entertaining events for participants, and the press team took photos and made videos for the opening and closing ceremonies.

A special delegation came from another United World College – UWC Mahindra. The delegate Pia, MUWCI’19, from the Netherlands, who was chairing GA3, shared her impressions of the conference: “The conference was 100 per cent worth the long trip. I can’t express my enormous admiration for the hard work, day and night, of the organising team and I am so happy that their hard work paid off in creating a wonderful conference that everyone enjoyed, you deserve it!

DiliMUN’18 laid the foundation for making this conference at UWC Dilijan an annual event.