Interview with Olga Demetriou, Guest speaker at GA4

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What inspired you to follow this career?

I was interested in how other people live and I wanted to understand society better, but I wanted to understand it from the ground perspective, so that was Anthropology.

What do you do at the Peace Research Institute Oslo?

PRIO Cyprus Centre is a branch of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, we carry out research connected to peace and in Cyprus we focus on aspects of peace building around the Cyprus conflict. We look at issues that are connected to the conflict, we try to analyse what the parameters are and we try to produce information for academics, for the public, for policy makers, that would help make better informed decisions about future peace building.

As someone who researches both refugees and gender equality, how do you think the way society sees women differs between Cyprus and a country like Syria?

I think that gender inequality is an issue across the world. It’s an issue in Norway, it’s an issue in Cyprus, it’s an issue in Syria, and I think what we need to understand is that gender inequality, bad as it is on its own, a lot of the time comes with a host of other inequalities. That also plays into the way which we often see the world. As divided into developed and developing countries, into a Christian West and a Muslim East and so on and so forth. So the question about comparing Cyprus and Syria also falls partly into that gap of seeing some countries as more developed than others in terms of gender equality and so on. What I prefer to concentrate on, is how gender inequalities play out on the local level given the specific of the place in question. So for example in Syria we have a war going on, at the same time we have a process of peace negotiations. And in the process of peace negotiations we have great debates and with the Gender Advisory team in which I’m involved we have invited Syrian women in events to talk about their experiences of the situation in Syria at the moment. We’ve had a conference a couple of years ago that included perspective of this sort and we’ve seen that Syrian women have been very vocal about being included in the peace negotiations, about having their say on the peace table, about having gender inequality being addressed in a new constitution or an agreement. Cypriot women also have been waging similar kinds of struggles so there’s actually a lot that connects the experience of Cyprus and Syria. Cyprus is also in a process of negotiating its own peace and in a process of hearing its own women ask for a place at the table as well so that’s very instructive and it’s always instructive to hear how women are waging their struggles against inequality no matter what place they are from.

What do you think must be done to ensure a prosperous future for refugees?

I think that the place to start is to start talking to refugees and to actually start seeing them as individual human beings with human dignity and political identities who have ideas about their own expectations, their options and their plans and I think we’ll start forming more realistic policies about how those expectations can be met rather than having our own biases dictates about how we treat them.

How do you balance a successful career and a healthy personal life?

With difficulty. (Laughter)

Interview with Zein Fakhoury (American Community School of Amman, Jordan)

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Have you been in any other MUN conferences?

No this is my first one.

Describe your journey to Cyprus

My journey to Cyprus was very easy actually. The flight was amazing. When entering Cyprus it smelled amazing and there’s a lot of greenery which I really enjoyed because in Jordan we really don’t see a lot of trees and the environment isn’t really good there, but in Cyprus it’s pretty good.

Tell us your favourite thing about your culture back home.

My favourite thing back in Amman is the food. We have a really delicious dish, the main dish of Jordan, it’s called Mansaf and it’s really good.

What’s a typical day at school for you?

A typical day is stressful and fun because I hang out with friends at school. Studying really hard but also having fun.

Interview with Sarah Eltell (American Community School of Amman, Jordan)

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Have you been to other MUN conferences in other countries before? How is this one different from those?

I’ve been to two THIMUN conferences in Qatar and one local conference in Dubai. This is the first time I met people from Cyprus, that’s pretty obvious, and it’s really global, there’s a lot of students from all around the world, which is big.

Describe your journey to Cyprus

The school proposed the idea of going to Cyprus for MUN and I was really intrigued by that, because Cyprus has always been a place I wanted to visit, so I signed up for it. The journey was an hour flight, I got to know my classmates better, learn a bit of Greek.

Tell us your favourite thing about your culture back home.

The culture in Jordan is very family-based, every weekend we meet with family, there’s like 20 people in one room. The food is also a major part of the culture, the traditional food with rice, meat and all that. We speak Arabic in Jordan, which is the main language. Other than that, it’s a very diverse and accepting culture because we have a lot of international residents in Jordan.

What’s a typical day at school for you?

A typical day at school is going in the morning, meeting with friends before class, working on different projects. I’m in the yearbook so I work for things in the yearbook and we take pictures. Cause we’re seniors we do a lot of things around school.

 

Debating, debating, debating

12.10 p.m: After the guest speaker and social anthropologist Olga Demetriou finishes her presentation about refugees, the assembly continues with their second debate concerning the issue of maritime refugees. The delegate of Portugal delivers a speech supporting the resolution, following an attack speech from the delegate of Malaysia. An amendment submitted by the delegate of Mexico, who delivers a speech in its favor. With no speeches against the amendment, the delegates vote, and the amendment passes. The resolution as a whole does not pass, clapping is not in order.

Intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical patents and technology

10.17 a.m: The second debate, concerns the question of Intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical patents and technology. The delegates of DPRK, China and Belgium deliver speeches supporting the resolution and while the delegate of Ukraine attacks the resolution. The assembly moves to the voting procedure, where the resolution passes.

Second day starting!

9.30 a.m: After the delegates and organisers take the annual photos of the conference, GA 4 starts its second day with a debate discussing a resolution submitted by the delegate of the USA, concerning the question of Maritime Refugees. The delegates of the USA and Thailand deliver their speeches encouraging all delegates to vote for the resolution, and accepting all points of information. Then, the delegates of China and Cambodia deliver their speeches against the resolution, following an amendment from the delegate of Madagascar,  which passes with the majority of the votes. The resolution as a whole does not pass, and clapping is not in order.

Security Council: Last day of the conference

9:15 am The last day of the conference begins for the Security Council with a debate concerning the question of the DPRK. The submitter of the clause, the delegate of USA, defends his clause, which suggests that humanitarian organisations set up humanitarian mission to improve the quality of life of the people of the DPRK, and accepts points of information from the delegates of China, Egypt and Russia.

The delegate of Ukraine submits an amendment, and after delivering a speech supporting it, the house unanimously votes that the amendment passes. As open debate continues, the delegate of the UK states her support for the clause, accepting China’s point of information.

Another amendment has been submitted by the delegate of Russia, followed by two points of information from the delegates of UK and Sweden. Since there are no speeches against this amendment, the delegates proceed to voting, in which this amendment passes. The clause also passes, after the majority of the votes being for the clause.

 

Security Council – Superlatives

Best Dressed: China

Shipped Couple: USA-Italy

Most likely to be a dictator: Japan

Most annoying: Senegal

 

Most likely to go to jail: Senegal and Italy

Best bromance: Senegal-Italy

                                                

Most sassy: Ukraine

Most sexy: France

 

Funniest delegate: China and Italy

 

Best smile: Kazakhstan

 

Funniest laugh: USA and China

 

Heart breaker: Russia

 

‘Take a step back to expect one from the other side’

3:40 pm The delegate of China delivers a speech supporting his clause which suggests that the Security Council ease sanctions targeting DPRK and encourage negotiations according nuclear weapons. The delegate then accepts points of information from various delegates – such as Japan, Italy and France – and yields the floor to the delegate of Russia.

The delegate of Japan then delivers a speech against the clause, urging opposition on behalf of the delegates to protect Japan and South Korea. The delegate of UK delivers a speech supporting the clause and congratulating the delegate of China on his suggestions. Following the points of information from Egypt and Ukraine, the floor is yielded to the delegate of USA who also emphasises the importance of a non-hatred relationship with North Korea. The clause passes with a majority of votes.

Back to debating

2:10 pm The delegates are back from lunch to continue debating the remaining clauses in order to form the resolutions. The delegate of Ukraine delivers a speech supporting her clause concerning migrant smuggling in Libya, accepting points of information from the delegates of Kazakhstan and UK.

The delegate of USA submits an amendment and answers to points of information from the delegates of Ukraine, UK and Russia. Following USA’s speech for the amendment, the delegate of Ukraine delivers a speech against the amendment which does not pass, with the majority of voters against it.

The second amendment is submitted by the delegate of UK who delivers a speech supporting it, followed by points of information from the delegates of Ukraine and Russia. Due to the overwhelming majority voting for, the amendment passes.

The delegates proceed to the voting procedure, and the clause passes.

Non-nuclear proliferation

12:10 pm The delegate of Egypt delivers a speech on the clause he has submitted concerning nuclear non-proliferation, and accepts a point of information from the delegate of Kazakhstan. Then, the delegate of Russia delivers a speech against the clause, accepting some points of information, and yields the floor to the delegate of USA. Two more speeches are delivered by the two other main nuclear powers, UK and China, and the delegate of China suggests a P5 caucus, where the 5 permanent members discuss outside the conference room.

The delegates vote for the clause, and since most are abstaining, there is a motion to divide the house, in which Russia uses his veto so the clause does not pass.

Second Clause concerning Haiti

11:20 am The third debate for today focuses on the need to develop health care in Haiti the submitter, the delegate of Sweden, delivers a speech supporting the clause. Two points of information follow from the delegates of Kazakhstan and Bolivia.

The speech against the clause is delivered by the delegate of the United Kingdom who emphasizes that the clause is vague and accepts points of information from the delegates of Ukraine, Sweden, China and Japan.

The delegate of USA submits an amendment, suggesting medical education for doctors, which is supported by the speech from the delegate of Russia and is followed by two points of information from the delegates of Sweden and Senegal. The delegate of Sweden delivers a speech attacking the amendment followed by a point of information from the delegate of USA, but due to majority of the votes, the amendment is passed.

A second amendment is submitted by the delegate of Ukraine, followed by a point of information from the delegate of USA, and since there are no speeches against, the amendment passes with a unanimous vote.

 

 

Second clause does not pass!

11:00 am After a short break, the delegates return ready to debate for 10 more minutes the clause concerning the DPRK. The delegate of Ukraine delivers a passionate speech against the clause followed by two points of information by the delegates of Senegal and Japan. After a long debate, the delegates proceed to voting, and due to the majority of the delegates castng their vote against this clause, the first clause concerning the question of the DPRK does not pass. Clapping is not in order.

Moving on to North Korea!

10:25 am After the first clause has been passed, the delegates proceed to debate on the second clause for the day concerning nuclear non-proliferation and the question of the DPRK. The speech for the clause is delivered by the delegate of Japan, followed by points of information from the delegates of Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and France and Russia. After the p5 motion called by the delegate of Russia, the delegate of Sweden delivers a speech against the clause, followed by points of information from the delegates of Senegal and Ukraine. The second speech against is delivered by the delegate of China followed by a point of information from the delegates of Japan and Russia.