AHRCentre student delegation returns from Model UN in Shanghai


During the last eight years, at the invitation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, the AHRCentre has participated in 12th United Nations Association of China National Model UN (CNMUN) conference.  This year, the AHRCentre delegation (Andrew Blackie, Joseph Shin, Jawoon Kim, Tiana Kobilarov) – which for the first time included 2 students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - returned from the Model UN at the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai with awards for best diplomat (Jawoon Kim), best delegate (Andrew Blackie) and an outstanding delegation award. The students represented the countries of Belarus, Albania and Argentina and debated the topics Ending Poverty in the Post-2015 era (ECOSOC) and Combating new forms of terrorism (General Assembly).

The China National Model UN is a joint venture of the United Nations Association of China and the Australian Human Rights Commission, and forms a part of the Australia-China Human Rights Technical Cooperation Program. Each year a delegation of four UNSW Law students is selected through the AHRCentre to undertake research, prepare submissions and present arguments at a Model United Nations meeting at a major university in China. Students have participated in Model UN meetings at universities in Chengdu, Harbin, Xiamen, Beijing and Nanking, debating subjects such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - ideals versus reality; progress made and challenges faced by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the right to education; poverty and human rights; human rights and the environment; the rights of minorities; the Responsibility to Protect and the rights of people with disability. Last year, the programme was externally evaluated and given the interdisciplinary nature of the AHRCentre and the diverse representation of students from Chinese universities at the event (i.e. law and social sciences), we recommended that the AHRCentre student delegation should include students from relevant disciplines, other than law. We are delighted that the 2015 UNSW delegation featured 2 students from FASS.

In her remarks at the closing ceremony of the CNMUN, AHRCentre Director, Andrea Durbach noted that this year’s CNMUN was particularly significant given it took place against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th anniversary of the UNA:

In a world which seems so beset by terrible conflicts, disruption and adjustment, and the denial and violation of human rights, this conference reminds us of the value, significance and resilience of the United Nations, despite many criticisms of its work. It also reminds us of the wonderful energy and leadership that exists amongst our students, their infectious determination, their hope and aspirations to make this a better world.