PA Model U.N. Holds Intraschool Conference

Phillips Academy hosted its 20th annual Model United Nations conference (PAMUN) last Sunday. Model United Nations Co-Heads Adam Giansiracusa ’08 and Thomas Smyth ’08 helped organized the conference, which consisted only of Phillips Academy students and was divided into three sections: the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Joint Cabinet. Giansiracusa described the day as “the best PAMUN in three years.” He said that the level of debate was phenomenal and that people were very well prepared and had researched their topics thoroughly. The subject of the General Assembly was Muslim immigration to Europe. Currently, there are 16 million Muslims living in Europe, and this number is expected to double by 2025. Immigration has become popular among Muslim countries due to the better standards of living, job opportunities and religious freedoms in Europe. In turn, immigration stabilizes Europe’s rapidly decreasing population and provides skilled, cheap laborers. The two resolutions that were passed contained solutions to issues including illegal immigration, improvement of the quality of life in the Muslim feeder countries, Turkey’s admission into the European Union and border control. Michelle Ma ’11 of the General Assembly said, “The pace [of the conference] was really fast. I learned so much more than in a regular meeting.” The winners of the General Assembly were Alex McHale ’09 and Travis Wright ’08. Second place went to Chris Meyer ’11 and Ben Ho ’11, and third place went to Ishan Kapoor ’09. The Security Council discussed the crisis in Zimbabwe. New Lower Sophia Jia ’10 said, “As a first-time participant in the Security Council, the debate was much more intense and required much more knowledge of the topic.” President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been in power since 1980. Since his presidency began, the Zimbabwean economy has plummeted, and the democratic political system has fallen. Leading a mass genocide against all who oppose him, Mugabe has won every election since. One percent of the population is white, but whites control 70 percent of the land in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe instituted the “land reform program” in which he seized land from the white landholders and gave it to his supporters, many of whom had no experience in agriculture. As a result, Zimbabwe’s agriculturally based economy has collapsed and there is a severe food shortage. Young Hoon Moon ’10 won first place in the Security Council, Will Lindsey ’10 won second place and Julian Cherynk ’10 came up with third place. The Joint Cabinet’s topic was the Hamas and Fatah conflict in Palestine. Hamas, the Islamic movement that won the parliamentary elections in 2006, and Fatah, the leader of the Palestinian national movement since the 1950’s, have been fighting for control over Palestine. The majority of the fighting takes place in the Gaza Strip, an area which is under the control of Hamas. Some trade to and from Gaza has been cut. Fatah, however, controls the West Bank. Because neither group can establish authority, Palestine is on the brink of civil war. Michelle Kwon ’09 of Fatah said, “I think the conference was well-planned. Jen [Downing ’08] did a good job of keeping us on track and asking thought-provoking questions.” In the Hamas Cabinet, Celia Lewis ’10 won first place, James Rockas ’08 won second place and Chris Waskom ’08 won third place. In the Fatah Cabinet, Emerson Moore ’08 won first place, Tiffany Li ’09 won second place and Harrison Hart ’09 won third place. PAMUN is the only conference that consists solely of Phillips Academy students. Giansiracusa said that inviting other schools to the conference would have required a phenomenal amount of work to organize, and that the benefits were not that great. In the winter, members of the Model U.N. club will attend the North American Invitational Model United Nations conference (NAIMUN), an event that hosts over 2,500 participants. The club also hosts an interscholastic conference in the spring called the Phillips Academy Invitational Specialized Committee Conference (PAISCC).