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Difficult debate for difficult times, the Model UN rise to the challenge

2016-11-01

Tackling some of the most complex and overlooked issues which face the world today will be the focus of debate at this year’s Model UN, hosted by Malmö University

At the fourth event of its kind, organised by Model United Nation of Malmö (MUNmö), delegates will discuss gender equality as a key factor for positive social, economic and environmental development.

Anna Wirth 

Anna Wirth, a third-year Human Rights student from Germany, is secretary-general. She will be overseeing debate on such subjects as the disadvantages of female refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rape as a weapon in warfare, and the burning of women as witches in Papua New Guinea.

“We’ve chosen topics which are not in the public eye as much as other topics. So for example, ‘Burning Women as Witches in Papua New Guinea’, is related to a civil war which has been going on for almost two centuries.

“It is not in the media as much as other issues, so it would probably be interesting for participants to learn about things which they do not hear about every day.

Contradicting rights

“I think this conflict is very interesting because journalists who have been covering it say there are a lot of controversial arguments going around. On one side you have the basic right to life and the security of person, which is within the bill of rights, but on the other hand you have the guarantee for cultures and traditions to be respected. Here you have those two rights which are confronting each other.

“This is one of the issues we want to raise for the delegates, they can see how rights can contradict each other and which right is prioritised in this situation. For me, of course, the right to life is more important than the right to have one’s own traditions respected, but the delegates will need to navigate around the right to life without totally discredit the right to practice one’s cultures and traditions.” 

An international affair

Up to 100 participants are expected to attend from Sweden, around Europe and even a delegatecoming from Iran. They will be allocated countries to represent within four committees: Security Council, Disarmament and International Security (DISEC), Social, Humanitarian and Cultural (SOCHUM), and Human Rights Council.

“I think it is an excellent opportunity to improve your skills for public speaking, for negotiations, for research skills and also to network with other people interested in the same type of topics,” Anna added.

The conference takes place on November 17-20.

Text: Adrian Grist

Last updated by Adrian Grist