Interview with Mrs Andria Neocleous, Guest speaker at GA3

-What are the everyday challenges in your profession?

“Many. The fact that there are many cases that are not recorded, and this makes it very difficult to help the children in need. We try to break the silence of these children by awareness campaigns that we make. Another challenge is that there are no existing procedures to help children to report, so it’s important that we have some changes. There are still things to be changed and policies to be made.

-What do you enjoy most about your job?

“When we see that children get help, and they go back to ‘normal’. This is an achievement, and we think that the smile of the child when it gets help is an achievement on its own. “

-In your opinion, what are the best ways that someone can help a victim that has been tortured or trafficked?

“Of course through therapy. Because the traumas exist because of this abuse, only with psychological support and therapy the victims could eventually tackle the situation. This will make them feel protected, having someone to talk to and feel that they are away from the perpetrator, and by this method they will get the support they need and will make them feel better.”

-Why did you choose this career path?

“That’s a difficult question. For me, this job gives meaning. It is great when you see the result of your work, efforts and struggles, especially by seeing the result on the children.”

Interview with Jack Lambard (American Community School of Amman, Jordan)

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Have you been to other MUN conferences in other countries before?

No, this is my first time participating in a conference.

How did you like Cyprus so far?

 I think the weather in Cyprus is much better than in Jordan. It’s generally milder and more pleasant. Also, the nights in Cyprus are more tranquil and quiet and they are just perfect for a peaceful stroll. Lastly, Cyprus seems to be a very organised country.

Tell us your favourite thing about your culture back home.

Well, I’m actually from Texas and I currently live in Jordan because my dad is a diplomat and he was transferred there. So my favourite thing about our culture in Texas is how people there don’t give up and they always stick to their beliefs.

What’s a typical day at school for you?

My typical day at school would be going from class to class and rushing to do my homework between breaks.

Humans of MEDIMUN – Nihal Soganci, Chair GA1 (The English School)

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What’s your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is from the movie Hotel Rwanda. “When people see these pictures, they’ll say ‘oh my god that’s horrible’ and then go on eating their dinners”. It really appalls me how people can turn their back to horrible injustice and suffering happening in ‘distant’ parts of the world just because it’s none of their business. For me, this is not being cautious or protective. This is cowardice.

 

Confessions time

5.30 p.m: “The delegate of Hungary is the cutest!”

“Your’e not from Canada if you don’t say sorry at least 12 times…”

“The delegate of New Zealand should tie her shoelaces, i don’t want you to fall for anyone else.”

“I apologise for being correct”

“I heard Iran but then I ran”

“The US is really bad at choosing topics”

“Now i understand that the chairs left the gender topics for the end, they wanted to give other topics a chance before we destroy the building”

“USA is your name Daniel, because damn”

“Ukraine… This is why Russia took Crimea”

“Your’e laugh is amazing Canada”

“There truly are just two genders”

“Most likely to become a stripper goes to the delegate of Canada”

“South Africa has cute glasses”

“In which country do they celebrate every time they score a goal, Angola”

Best dressed delegate (MALE): Canada

Best dressed delegate (Female): China

Most Sassy: Ukraine

Most attractive delegate: USA

Most likely to steal your girl: USA

Most likely to be dictator: Ukraine

Interview with Ali Hmaidi (American Community School, Jordan)

Have you been to other MUN conferences in other countries before? How this one differs from those and what do you like most about this one?

No this is actually my first time on a MUN trip.IMG_3874

-What has the experience been like then?

I wasn’t expecting it to be as inclusive as this because I feel like I’m going to a different country and while I have lived in Greece I wasn’t expecting people to be so welcoming especially from my group. I actually really liked  that I was able to interact with everybody and they spoke English just for me. I know some of my other teammates that came from Jordan didn’t as lucky with the groups, and I mean I’m enjoying it.

-Describe your journey to Cyprus:

It’s nice, It’s definitely different from Jordan, where we were used to dessert. Once we landed we could smell the sea. It was cool and it reminded me of when I lived in Greece ’cause I have not been back to Greece for eight years,, I used to live there as well but I was way younger. It’s nice to see the culture that I grew up in especially now that I’m older, it’s really great, I’ve been liking that a lot!

-What’s a normal day like for you?

In Jordan there’s a lot of traffic issues, people yelling at each other.It’s Jordan, it’s home, it’s fun. Order and Chaos I’d say. School is nice, but I’m in an American School there, so it feels American it doesn’t feel Jordanian but when you are outside school you can just be yourself. Everybody is busy being themselves and if they have a problem with you they can’t really do anything. The worst that could possibly happen there is somebody dislikes you, that doesn’t really matter in the end. It’s too much fun to do whatever you want!…. with the extent of the law. It’s great!

-What is a typical day at school for you?

I go to classes, my classes are really hard for me so I sit there and I try to understand everything in the day. At breaks I chill with my friends and we talk or rather get into arguments and do anything. Just what friends do. Other than that, I do generally like to pay attention in class because I can’t afford not to, unless I’m aiming for a D, which I don’t. Other than that I mean school and school work, “Work Hard, Play Harder”

-What is the food like there?

Oh, food there is actually pretty good, there’s shahanmas, mansaf, there’s all the Arab, traditional foods. They’re very VERY good! Especially in Cyprus as well, there’s souvlaki. I love souvlaki. Always, always love souvlaki. When I heard we were going to Cyprus, I got so excited because I haven’t eaten real, authentic souvlaki in sooooo long. And it has to be with extra tzantziki as well. IT HAS TO BE!

 

Interview with Yun Kei Chow (Shanghai American School)

 

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Have you been to other MUN conferences in other countries before? How is this one different from those and what do you like most about this one?

Yes, I’ve been to a lot of MUN conferences in China, Singapore, Qatar and Washington DC. Procedure wise the most different thing of the MEDIMUM conference is that the debate is a close one, which that is not normal for us, because there is a lot of discussion between delegates; an open debate. Personally, I prefer the open debate.

Describe your journey to Cyprus

Currently, we have a Chinese break, but the actual one didn’t start until today. So we had to go to school on Wednesday and we left at 11pm Wednesday night. We flew to Dubai first and landed in the morning, a ten hour flight. And we then flew from Dubai to Cyprus. That was like a four hour flight. It was quite long, but it was ok. I slept throughout the whole flight.

Tell us your favourite thing about your culture back home?

Definitely the food. Across my home there is a local market, where I hang out with my friends a lot of the time. Noodles, soup noodles, rice and meat are that food that we frequently enjoy. My favourite one are the fried dumplings with a sauce.

What’s a typical day at school for you?

School starts around 8 am and finishes at 3 pm. There are 4 classes a day. I also play softball and depending on the season I’ll have 2 and a half hours practice after school, so I don’t get home until 6. Then I have a lot of homework to do plus MUN’s meetings once a week. So, it’s pretty busy!

The Final Debate of the day

17.15 p.m: The delegate of Honduras made his opening speech were he emphasized the importance of women having a higher income. However due to time constraints only one speech will be made against this resolution. The delegate of Ukraine believes that the resolution is insufficient insufficient to deal with the issue at hand with clause 5 as an example ( the clause want to encourage government organisations to hire more women). the voting procedure has taken place and a motion to divide the house was approved by the chairs. The resolution has not passed

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Special Committee: War? No war.

17.02 p.m: France makes an announcement, apologizing on behalf of the P 5 for getting away from the point of the debate, and encourages the other members of the committee to stay focused on the matter at hand and not get carried away with personal insults. Following this, Egypt and Saudi Arabia make a joint speech, announcing their intention to declare war on France, due to the insults of the delegate against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and France. The war will begin with an oil and fuel embargo and the retraction of deals for arms with France. The chairs choose not to allow the war, due to time constraints, and the committee sighs in disappointment.

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17.17 p.m: The debate resumes and Russia comes up to defend her clause which is about the setting up of an international forum to enable measures such as discussing prospective medical uses of bio engineering the human genome and the aiding of making decisions on laws related to genetic modification. The delegate of Germany raises the point that the Bioethics Committee is one such forum, and the delegate of Russia responds by saying that the progress made in genome editing is very rapid and the creation of a forum would be efficient. France attacks the clause, but the clause passes with 12 votes for.

17.23 p.m: The clause by Egypt calling for an increase in funding of research universities is supported by Russia, who emphasizes the important of research. The clause passes unanimously, and the Committee ends for the day.

Special Committee: Tensions between France and Russia

16.15 p.m: After a short break, which was spent reading a few of the delegates’ confessions, France comes up to the podium to speak for his clause, which trusts UN member states to spread knowledge of bio engineering through measures such as promoting education and training at all levels. The delegate firsts refuses any points of information, eliciting surprise from the room, before changing his mind and accepting any and all. The delegate of Germany then stands up to support the clause, describing it as a ‘great first step’. The delegate of Egypt disagrees and makes a speech attacking the clause as being too vague to be effective.

Delegate of Egypt: ‘Does it get more vague than this?’

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The clause fails to pass, with 7 votes against, 6 for and 1 abstention.

16.35 p.m: The debate moves to a clause by the USA, which demands the introduction of the Human Genome Altering Act which will limit the use of bio engineering only for certain health conditions, and ensure that experiments on the human genome will not be performed until the technology is proven to be safe and controlled. The delegate of France also makes a speech supporting the clause and yields the floor to the chairs. The delegate of Russia stands up to make a speech against the clause, stating that an upcoming clause submitted by Russia suggests similar but more detailed measures. After a confrontation in which France accuses Russia of ‘violating every human right on Earth’ before rephrasing his point, Russia raises a point of order. France refuses to apologize, stating that the rephrasing makes Russia’s point invalid, and suggests calling the Secretary General to review the situation. The delegate of Russia responds:

‘The delegation of Russia accepts France’s non apology as she is more concerned with saving children from disease’.

The room claps, but is stopped by Chair Maria Mandritis, who says

‘Stop clapping.’

The clause is passed but vetoed by Russia, and a P 5 caucus is called.

17:01 p.m: Russia retracts her veto, and the clause passes with 10 votes for and 4 abstentions.

How hard is defining gender in contemporary age?

4.50 p.m: A new resolution begins. The legal question of defining gender in contemporary age still troubles our GA. The question that troubles the delegate of Saudi Arabia is the one regarding the idea of Canada’s example of the Bill C-16 Law and the implementation of the same or similar policies. How would that be applied in countries where same-gender marriage is illegal? The delegate of Mexico seems perplexed by this… Good luck delegate!

Special Committee: Debating operative clauses

15.25 p.m: The delegate of Japan comes up to support her clause that urges the minimizing pf risks associated with bio engineering through measures such as the use of computer models and human embryos. The clause earns support from Switzerland and Singapore who make points of information pointing out the possible benefits of the clause.

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The clause is amended by Egypt, adding sub sub clauses that mention increased funding for research groups aimed specifically at improving automated procedures in finding errors. The amendment passes with 13 votes for and 1 against, and the clause passes unanimously.

15.36 p.m: The clause by the UK calling upon the work of regulatory authorities to monitor research proposals and centers involved in embryonic stem cells research causes concern for the delegate of Germany, who wonders over the ethical issue of experimenting on embryonic cells. The delegate of Russia makes a point of information supporting the clause and pointing out its possible benefits, such as the increased reliability of results. With no speeches against the clause, voting begins and the clause is passed.

Delegate of USA: We should fail more clauses.

Delegate of Egypt: We’re too nice.

Chair Maria Mandritis: I’m not supposed to say anything but… Do as you will.

Palestine: The perfect resolution?

16.02 p.m: After various resolutions being rejected in previous trials, Palestine has made an excellent speech, providing effective solutions and great points, following an amusing ,but again, strong speech by the delegate of Pakistan. Everyone stood out to make a speech for the resolution, and no one wanted to make a speech against it. The resolution passed, and accompanied by what was probably the loudest clapping in the history of MEDIMUN.

Italy needs change, Vietnam is doodling!

3.30 p.m: The delegate of Italy believes in a more free environment where change is possible. People should be able to feel whatever they feel with no judgement. It is support of Lebanon urges to remind ourselves why we are here! “What do we stand for? What kind of people are we going to be? Think about that!”  Despite all the drama the delegate of Vietnam seems to be doodling…. Enjoy! IMG_3872

Tough resolution, will it pass?

25 For, 29 against, 11 abstains and the resolution does not pass!

The final debate

3:47 pm: After the break and a brief photo-shoot between the delegates the third and final debate concerning the reform of the security council has begun. The delegate of the Ivory Coast claims its the perfect opportunity to bring about a change in the security council so as to adapt to the modern world since there has been virtually no change for a few decades.

3:52 p.m: The clause passed with a slim majority!

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Humans Of MEDIMUN – Christiana Christoforou and Emily Vrahimi, The English School

Who is your role model?

 Emily Vrahimi (right) – I would say my role models are my parents because they take care of me, provide me with all my necessities all the time and they also are so hard working and its so pleasing to see them happy all the time and work so hard at what they do.

 Christiana Christoforou (left) – My role models are also my parents because of the same reasons.unnamed (6)

Special Committee: The debate on preams ends!

15:15 p.m: France’s pre-am showing concern over the use of germline editing is passed despite 2 votes against.

15:17 p.m: Egypt’s pre-am is showing concern over the short-lived nature of CRISPR -Cas9 and the lack of knowledge that entails. The delegate of Switzerland points out that the delegate of Egypt previously voted for a pre-am that outlined the positive aspects of CRISPR technology, and votes against it but the pre-am passes with 13 votes for.

15:21 p.m: The delegated of Australia comes up to defend his pream that recalls that Bioethics is derived  from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The pream does not pass with a majority vote against.

 

Special Committee: Debating Topic 2!

14:54 p.m: The debate begins with Brazil’s clause recognizing that bio engineering the genome was introduced after World War 2. The clause is quickly passed with 12 votes for and 2 against.

14:58 p.m: The pre-am by China defining the process of bio engineering, which is supported by France as being clear, and is passed as well with a unanimous vote for.

15:00 p.m: The USA defends a pre-am that notes that in experiments involving CRISPR techiniques it is necessary to consider off target effects similarly passes.

15:02 p.m: The pre-ams of the UK recalling previous work on bioethics and the protocol prohibiting the cloning of human beings, and of Russia, defining CRISPR pass as well, and so does Japan’s pre-am showing awareness of existing applications of genetic editing and condemning the use of eugenics respectively.

15:12 p.m: Germany’s pre-am condemning the sue of eugenics is amended by France, changing the definition of eugenics to positive eugenics, which specifically refers to use of genome editing for purely physical characteristics. It is then passed with an overwhelming majority.

Special Committee: Press Conference with CRISPR and the ETC

14.35 p.m: Before the debate on topic 2, bioengineering the human genome, begins, the delegates are entertained by Chair Andreas Economides with a series of jokes.

”It was an emotional wedding. Even the cake was in tiers.”

”What does a house wear? A dress.”

”There was an explosion in a cheese factory in France. De Brie everywhere.”

14.42 p.m: To set up the mood for the debate, the delegates of Switzerland and Saudi Arabia briefly become representatives of CRISPR and ETC (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) respectively. The representative of CRISPR gives an overview of the current developments and research by the organisation, while the representative of ETC points out the potentially unethical uses of genome editing and shows clear hesitation in accepting the use of such a technique, stating concerns such as the creation of a superhuman race and the use for cosmetics and eugenics.

Jamaica and Ukraine apologise?

2.45 p.m: After all the drama, Ukraine and Jamaica apologise for their remorseless attitude!  Way to go girls!  And just like that the debate of the maritime refuges submitted by Palestine begins. Are the refugees too costly? Or are they all criminals? Well Palestine doesn’t think so… It is all a matter of the wealth and the size of the country. If they have the wealth and the size they should provide and protect them. Best of luck to this passionate delegate!

“Economic Justice For Women”

14.27 p.m: The delegate of Equatorial Guinea has highlighted the importance of education in her opening speech to help combat gender discrimination and encourage women in to join non-traditional jobs and help achieve gender equality. The second speaker claims that by ending gender discrimination (similar to how people ended apartheid) we can achieve economic growth. With no speeches against the resolution the voting procedure began at once. Not surprisingly the resolution passed.

Opening Ceremony Report

 

There was a hint of excitement in the air, as all delegates, guests and organisers crowded in the Cultural Centre for the opening ceremony of the 13th annual MEDIMUN Conference. This is the biggest conference so far, with approximately 300 delegates joining the event, coming from numerous schools around the island, as well as from countries as far as Israel, Jordan and China. They are all seated, faces shining with determination, as they are now more ready than ever to tackle some of the greatest challenges of the modern time, such as the question of maritime refugees, and the question of autonomous weapons systems.

The ceremony commences with one of the most prestigious MEDIMUN traditions, the flag parade. Spectators watched in awe as the flags of countries and the UN gracefully marched down to the stage, walking to the slow and calm rhythm of music.

Following the parade, was a speech by senior director of the MEDIMUN conference, Mr. James Lodge, who spoke about the importance of issues to be discussed during the conference, such as the question of gender discrimination. Remembering the attacks on the Twin Towers on the 11th of September 2001, he underlined the vital role of the Security Council during that time, which gave the delegates of the Historical Security Council a better image of this event that is to be re-enacted during this conference. Furthermore, he briefly introduced the brand new Bioethics Committee, which is to be discussing the question of the future of organ provision for transplants, bio-engineering the human genome  and the question of human enhancement through non-genetic methods.­

Moreover, he highlighted the educational skills that the delegates are to obtain by undertaking their roles, skills which, he said, cannot be learned in a class room. He specifically said that he would:

“like to put forward to you some of the education values that I believe you will be getting from this conference. Already, you delegate, would’ve completed individual research into your assigned country, gathering knowledge.”

Later on, the English School choir performed an acapella edition of the song ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles, which provided an excellent interlude, before the introduction to honourable guest speaker, Mrs. Egli Pantelaki, who took the opportunity to highlight the importance of learning outside the classroom, stating that knowledge acquired during such methods of learning is oftentimes deeper and more long-lasting. She additionally spoke about the role of the MEDIMUN conference in creating active citizens, who fight for a better tomorrow, one without any extremities.

After a captivating performance by the English School string quartet, the Secretary General Penelope Ioannou delivered a touching and inspiring speech, which emphasised that discussing world issues can be a deeply personal experience, which allows delegates to realise just how many opinions they have about how to change the world. On that note, and with her mighty gavel, she marked the beginning of yet another fruitful and exciting weekend, the beginning of the 13th annual­­ MEDIMUN conference.

Resolution does not pass! Wondering why…..?

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14.35 p.m: Is the chair getting too close with the delegate of Ukraine? Is he a little biased after multiple paper passing conversations with her?  When the chairs announced that there will be a another attack speech the female chair said Georgia however, the chair insisted that “Ukraine should go” and even stated a clear “no” for the countries. Despite the words of the delegate that the focus should be on educating the people, and not being close minded about cultures and religions, he seems to be focused elsewhere.  Shocker, the resolution does not pass. Was the attack speech by Ukraine that good?