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ASFMUN 2020: Student Voices

*As part of ASFMUN 2020, Upper School students voiced their concerns about diverse topics. This is a series of student articles to show some of the issues that were addressed, with the support of Roberto Jones, MUN Coordinator.

High-tech Companies Join Forces to Address Mexico’s Ongoing Issues by Antonio Liu and Roberto Jones

In our own ASFMUN 2020 conference, the UN Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) worked towards addressing Mexico’s problems through technology. The committee has the ability to innovate and engage with partnerships from all kinds in order to successfully accomplish all of their goals. It is designed to support the journey to review, build, adopt and implement technology solutions to address problems that Member States are facing. 

International companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook came together to deal with the economic and social situation in the country, pulling resources from Israel, China, and Germany to find the best possible resolutions. 

In the early stage of the conference, the delegates all presented their own approach to the issue focusing particularly in the economic and living situation of the lower class of Mexico. Out of the many proposals, one stood out from the international company Microsoft who proposed to implement education in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science. Microsoft stated that the implementation of education within these fields across Mexico’s population (regardless of socio-economic level) will lead to better opportunities in the workforce and more solution-oriented behavior across society.  One of the main reasons for this solution is the rising use of technological skills both in academia and the contemporary market which is leaving those with a traditional education behind.

To further their knowledge on the use of technology in education, delegates participated in a hands-on program at ASF’s Maker Space. With the help of Carlos Guerrero and Tracey Bryan, the students learned to solder and manipulate circuits in order to produce a simple light switch. However, this type of knowledge can transfer over to building more sustainable circuitry and accessibility for underdeveloped communities in Mexico.

Safeguarding Indigenous Rights at the ASFMUN 2020 Conference by Violeta Cisneros & Roberto Jones

Today numerous indigenous communities face discrimination at the hands of authoritarian governments and pro-business lobbyists who seem oblivious to the culture and identity of these groups. Their language is often whitewashed with promises of casino-filled forests and ludicrous pipe lines while thousands lose their land, their heritage, and sometimes even their lives. 

However, the delegates of our ASFMUN 2020 conference were extremely successful in finding justice-oriented solutions to the preservation of indigenous identities. This committee is special since countries do not represent their national interests, but rather represent the interests of the tribes and indigenous communities that live within them. Together, delegates developed a multi-disciplinary resolution that regards language, education, and culture for the better inclusion of these communities both in national and international scenarios.  

South Africa proposed teaching indigenous students their native indigenous language as a requirement during their primary years of school. In further years, students might choose a language of study when dealing with a more globalized curriculum. Considering the importance of preserving indigenous languages, countries like Burundi and Tanzania understood the variety of indigenous languages and dialects that coexist in a single region, and further addressed their educational systems to be as diverse as their people. 

With reference to the humanitarian struggle these marginalized communities face, Uganda and Canada created incentives to promote cultural value, diversity, and inclusion both through marketing and education in order to cultivate consciousness and promote a better future. Mexico and Kenya, on the other hand, planned to continue developing the education system in rural areas and to implement small-scale business spaces for indigenous communities to launch their own crafts, and become a bit more sustainable. This in turn, could potentially enable better language inclusion policies within the economic sector. 

Together these countries proclaimed the enhancement and development of new solutions, encouraging the replacement of conflict with diplomacy between national governments and marginalized communities as a way not only to preserve language, but also to preserve the righteous lives of these people.

Impacts Of Coronavirus Create A Buzz In The ASFMUN Ad-Hoc Committee As Nations Come Together To Address The Pandemic by Dora Wang

Delegations argue and settle on the closing of borders, the xenophobia related to coronavirus, and the priorities in a situation like this.

With the international widespread of coronavirus, countries in Ad-Hoc are working together to address the virus and its dangerous effects.

Presently, more than 84 countries have been affected by this disease. The countries with the most cases are spread out around continents, including China, Iran, Italy, etc. 

Because of the vulnerability to the virus that several countries face, many are considering the closing of borders. However, there has been some debate over the issue of closing borders. Countries such as the U.S. and Uruguay support the closing of borders for a specific period of time, in order to keep their own citizens safe.

On the other hand, the solution of closing borders also faced a lot of criticism. For instance, Turkey responded to that point with “Closing borders may principally seem good, but will probably fail […] The problem with closing borders is how to help countries who don’t have resources to stop the virus from spreading.”

Japan further strengthened the point of helping developing countries by stating “closing borders is not an option, as that will not benefit anyone. It would leave certain countries that are infected with coronavirus very vulnerable and are not able to treat it effectively, as they will be closed out from this. So, Japan thinks that closing borders are not necessarily a solution at all. It’s more about controlling the borders, what comes in, what comes out, instead of a flat-out no.”

While many countries wonder how effective it is to control the borders, it is for sure that many desperate individuals escaping the coronavirus may find temporary shelter or medical help in other countries.

And while both sides have strong opinions on the economic impacts of closing borders, they also have an end goal of ensuring the health of the people, which led them to ultimately create a unified bloc.

As a whole, the committee managed to address several issues relating to the coronavirus, such as xenophobia, or the delay of the summer 2020 Olympics.

Countries like South Africa brought up questions like “how should the committee address the racism that the coronavirus faces,” and received responses that suggest “educat[ing] the population that it’s not attached to a specific race.”

Especially as days ago, in London, a boy got heavily beaten due to the association of his Asian race to the coronavirus, the committee is emphasizing on this issue.

Besides a non-discriminatory education on the virus, other solutions the committee came up with include implementing health measures on the border, raising awareness, and pooling resources in order to create a vaccine in a quicker time.

As the delegation of the U.K. hoped, the committee managed to address the authoritarian regimes taking advantage of the situation, and “prioritize on the health of the people instead of the economic benefits.”