U.N. Day sparks conversation

Model U.N. and the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO) threw a celebration for the United Nations’ (U.N.)  69th birthday in the University Center Breezeway Friday afternoon.

The celebration featured a few of the U.N.’s millennium goals, including universal primary education, hunger and poverty, sustainability and gender equality. Each goal had its own station, where students tested their knowledge through games and quizzes.

“Our goal is really to promote the values of the U.N. and the work the U.N. does around the world on campus,” said Perry Elbadrawi, Model U.N.’s public relations outreach chair.

Students could plant and take home potted flowers from the station representing the environmental stability goal.

Other stations included donated canned goods and a photo booth to keep the #yesallwomen – a hashtag that raises awareness on women’s issues – trend going.

After the celebration, there was a more formal discussion in the Student Activities Center East Ballroom with Laura Giroux, a United Nations Association representative. It focused on the issues students felt were more important for the U.N. to focus on.

“This is about you talking to each other and telling the U.N. what you think should replace the millennium development goals,” said Giroux during her speech.

This question ignited debates on the importance of education and action on climate change.

“For me, the most pressing issue happens to be access to education,” said senior Sajan Patel, a Model U.N. member. “It would seem as if the basis of the solution for all of the other issues that we face would be a well-educated global population.”

After the debates settled down, students were asked to choose the six most important issues to them from a list of 17. The live voting was a tactic by the U.N. to get conversations started and to give a way for people to voice their opinions before final decisions are made for the next plan.

The top three choices were having an honest and responsive government, better healthcare and access to clean water and sanitation.

In an interview with The Miami Hurricane, Giroux explained her reasons for having UM students participate in the voting process.

“UM has a diverse and vocal student population,” she said. “Their part in the post-2015 development goal discussion is critical. The world is putting together a vision of what it will look like in 2030, and it is important for the UM students to be a part of that discussion.”

To join the discussion and to cast your vote, visit myworld2015.org.


Featured photo courtesy of COISO.