Students travel to Cyprus to help solve international dispute

Students from De Montfort University are attempting to solve one of the world’s most dangerous world conflicts at an international conference in Cyprus this week.

The eight students have been at the FredMUN 2018 Model United Nations conference with 200 fellow delegates from across Europe at Frederick University, in the country’s capital Nicosia.

Model UN Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Nikos Christodoulides took time out ahead of Sunday’s major Brexit conference in Brussels to address the students at the opening ceremony this week in the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

DMU is represented by Kalem Todd, Connall Pugh, Emily Fox, Jo Lingard, Zeinab Al-Ahmar, Estelle Max, Naaila Tariq and Joao Madeira at the four-day event.

The group are sitting on the Security Council of the Model UN, which aims to replicate exactly the work of the United Nations itself, and are discussing the international flashpoint of the South China Seas.

The territorial dispute in seas off China and bordering Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam has provoked a series of clashes and is the subject of numerous arguments over the sovereignty of neighbouring islands.

It is further complicated by the US carrying out military manoeuvres in the disputed seas that have prompted diplomatic clashes with China.

The eight students are ‘ambassadors’ for the countries involved in the dispute and have been tasked with coming up with a solution as a series of mock crises are thrown out them during their 10 committee sessions.

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The conference opened with a lavish ceremony at the Presidential Palace attended by government ministers, including the Foreign Minister and Attorney General, ambassadors, diplomats and the leaders of Cyprus’ main political parties.

In a major keynote speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs Christodoulides talked of the importance of “multilateralism” before he travels to Brussels for the meeting of the 27 EU countries deciding on whether to ratify the Brexit deal.

Mr Christodoulides said that recent events in Europe, especially the migration crisis, had “shaken the EU to the core, but the answers are in multi-lateralism and not in countries isolating themselves.”

One of DMU’s delegates Kalem Todd, co-chair of the DMU Model UN Society and ‘ambassador’ for Malaysia at the conference, said: “It has been really challenging, with all the UN’s procedures and methods replicated exactly. But we’ve learnt a lot in such a short space of time, it has been extremely valuable.

“We have learnt a lot from FredMUN 2018 and it is something that as a Model UN Society we now want to emulate, build on and hopefully improve on.”

DMU’s Model UN co-chair Connall Pugh, the ‘ambassador’ for Indonesia, added: “It has been an amazing learning experience and the detail we have had to grasp in such a short space of time has been substantial. Everyone from DMU has acquitted themselves really well dealing with extremely complex procedures and scenarios.

“The opening ceremony was also incredibly grand and very prestigious. It was also very interesting to hear from the Cyprus Foreign Affairs Minister ahead of such an important weekend for Britain on Brexit.”

Posted on Friday 23rd November 2018

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