Article by Peter Gillette ’17:
On April 1 and 2, nine members of the History Club attended the first annual Fordham Model United Nations Conference (FORMUNC). The conference took place at Lincoln Center in New York City and had four different committees: Fortune 500, WHO, SOCHUM, and Security Council. Each committee focused on at least one current event and required delegates to work together to agree on a resolution or directive. Each student was given a country to represent in FORMUNC and were placed in a specific committee in which topics were debated upon.
The Fortune 500 committee consisted of large companies, such as Walmart and Apple, which needed to devise an effective way to fund the current Sustainable Development Goals (17 goals set by the UN to work towards a better future). The delegates in this particular committee worked together to formulate ways to fund these goals and focused mainly on gender equality within Fortune 500 companies. Kaitlyn Long ’19, who represented General Electric, stated, “Researching these topics and hearing other people’s thoughts and suggestions broadened my worldview especially with regards to how companies work.”
Another committee, SOCHUM or the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee worked to tackle social, humanitarian and human rights issues throughout the world. At FORMUNC, delegates discussed the treatment of women in certain countries and what steps needed to be taken in order to better their lives. Resolutions, which created safe houses and forums for women to share their experiences with other people, were passed. Adanya Jeudy ’19 recalled that her favorite part of SOCHUM was being able to share her ideas on how to make the world a better place and use them to craft a resolution with other delegates who shared her ideas.
The Security Council had the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Delegates in this committee worked together to create a vaccine for the Zika virus as well as handle future crises which were thrown at them. One crisis was an outbreak of Zika in Cuba which occurred after the vaccine was created. Looking back on her experience, Danielle Moynihan ’17, who represented China, reflected, “My favorite part of Security Council was how we constantly had to respond to every curveball that was thrown at us.”
The last committee, WHO or World Health Organization, dealt with international health issues. Delegates in this committee discussed the topic of maternal health and wellness on a global scale. On the second day of FORMUNC, the SOCHUM and WHO committees joined together to discuss empowering indigenous women. Representing Brazil, Rachel McCallin ’20 especially liked how the chairs of her committee were respectful and focused on keeping the delegates on track of the topic. It was this that delegates were able to pass an effective resolution which accomplished what they wanted.
Although it was the first conference held, the staff at Fordham did an exemplary job of running the event. Every committee ran smoothly and the refugee simulation, which occurred on the second day of the conference, was an incredible and informative experience. Special thanks to Mrs. Riiska and Mr. Kennedy who worked tirelessly to make attending FORMUNC, possible, and a wonderful experience.