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  • From the Desk of the Secretary General

    “Neither the colourless vagueness of cosmopolitanism, nor the fierce self-idolatry of nationalism is the goal of human history”

    - Rabindranath Tagore

    Respected Delegates and MUN Directors,

    The world has never before stood on a greater precipice than it does today. Rabindranath Tagore’s words, written more than a century ago, are more relevant today than ever before. Changing political and social systems have seen our world caught between the conflicting ideologies of cosmopolitanism and nationalism, neither of which, Tagore believes, ought to be our legacy. With nations focusing on pursuing a policy of self-interest rather than working for the greater good, the search for peaceful solutions to global conflicts is becoming increasingly difficult. Isolationist policies are becoming quite popular amongst nations and it is in this situation that the world needs diplomacy the most, to avert war. And more importantly, it needs diplomacy to work.

    With the increasing effect of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the mounting number of extremist attacks in Europe, and an increasingly worsening global economic situation, the world is bearing witness to the rise of extremist, nationalistic ideologies. These ideologies, not only propagate an isolationist, hostile approach, but are also critical of the notion of international cooperation. With the United States sending an increasing amount of submarines and aircraft carriers into the South China Sea, combined with China’s refusal to obey the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the world has become a battleground for such superpowers, resulting in the worsening of the global crisis we find ourselves in.

    Should one shift their gaze to Europe, one bears witness to what is possibly the greatest refugee crisis that the world has faced, with over 1.5 million refugees having fled from war-torn Syria. The Assad regime’s defiance of UN recommendations and resolutions has put the United Nations itself under the spotlight, with many questioning its value, effectiveness and possibly the liberalist approach under which it was founded. The United Nations finds itself helpless in the face of such adverse challenges. In the Far East, the Kim Jong Un regime has become increasingly bold, indulging in regular missile tests, in the hope of developing ICBM’s, causing worry to Japan and the Republic of Korea. Russia’s annexation of Crimea also reinforced the idea that a powerful nation, if it possessed the requisite political will, would not refrain from pursuing the expansionist policies that led to two previous World Wars.

    It is in this context, that I invite you to DAIMUN XIV, where you control and influence the actions of countries around the world, and where you are free to modify the world as you see fit. The theme for DAIMUN this year, is one that has plagued the world since the past few years, and has only recently manifested through incidents such as Britain’s impending exit from the EU. “Nationalism: The New Divide” encapsulates one of the most popular, and yet most threatening political ideologies that plagues the world today. It is this extremist nationalistic ideology that has driven countries to choosing the path of conflict, rather than the path of peace. Diplomacy is becoming obsolete. DAIMUN this year, aims to prove that this is not true. By discussing issues of extreme and urgent importance, you must discover and exhibit the power of diplomacy, and its ability to create peace.

    The 8 committees at DAIMUN this year aim to help you do just that, with the inclusion of the ‘Special Conference’ debating issues specifically related to the theme itself. Temporary solutions are no longer effective; the world needs sustainable, long lasting ones. It is up to you to find them.

    Being a diplomat is not just about public speaking, it is about having the ability to persuade people to agree with your point of view, but more importantly, if not most importantly, it is about having the ability to compromise, for the greater good.

    Delegates, the world has never been as turbulent as it is now. The power to change that is in your hands, to be used as you see fit. I hope you look forward to 3 days of intense debate and discussion.

    The future is in your hands.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Aaryan Thakkar
    Secretary General
    DAIMUN 2017
  • From the Desk of the Deputy Secretary General

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    “It is infinitesimally better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

    - Joseph Joubert

    The UN and its predecessor the League of Nations have been lambasted for “only debating” without reaching consensus. MUN is criticized for not being pragmatic enough, for as the detractors claim what do students discussing global issues achieve? Why then do we debate? Why then do we attend MUN? It is Joubert’s words that reveal the answer. Debating issues serves several purposes: it allows those without a voice to make have their opinions heard, it raises awareness about situations that may otherwise get neglected, and it provides the framework for a solution. But to truly understand the reason for having UN and MUN we need only look at the alternative: war and conflict.

    However, in a world filled with conflict it is easy to lose sight of what all that is right in our world today. The truth is contrary to this despondent outlook. Fewer people died in 2016 than in either 2015 or 2014; major gains were made in the crusade against Da’esh and Al Qaeda; literacy rates improved globally; levels of poverty fell by tangible amounts. Yet, pessimism seems to be the global standard.

    This year DAIMUN will, naturally, focus on the issues that plague us, but it will also aim to simultaneously celebrate the efficaciousness of UN in averting global conflict. DAIMUN this year will aim to remind all delegates that UN is not obsolete, and that Model UN is not merely beneficial, but indeed necessary.

    However, the work is only half done and the path to peace incomplete, for 2016 was also the year when insular ideologies gained traction. The year when xenophobia reached its latest zenith, and the year when a uniting force worked to divide the world. Donald Trump and Brexit are merely manifestations, albeit potentially dangerous ones, of a more systemic issue: rampant nationalism as it exists today. It is now that we must ask, is “Nationalism: The New Divide?”

    Nationalism is not an inherent evil, but it does provide the genesis for conflict. For it was nationalism that precipitated freedom struggles around the world, yet ironically it was nationalism and the view of imperial powers that their nation was superior to the rest that led to colonialism in the first place. It was the banner of nationalism that in India (and indeed around the world) helped unite a disparate populace and ensured the establishment of democracy, yet it is also nationalism that sustains the India-Pakistan conflict, at the cost of countless lives. It was nationalism that helped unite Germany in 1871, yet it was nationalism that set of a chain reaction, which culminated in world war.

    So, can the world do without nationalism? Perhaps not. It is to innate a mindset, and pride in one’s nation is to be coveted not done away with. But the tribulations that nationalism leaves in its wake demand an answer, delegates it is up to you to give them. But remember the solutions you arrive at our only as strong as your research and your diplomatic prowess. So delegates welcome. Come, Confer, Challenge, and indeed Conquer.

    Yours sincerely,
    Anagh Agarwal
    Deputy Secretary General,
    DAIMUN 2017
  • From the Desk of the Deputy Secretary General

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    “It is a maxim, founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest; and no prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it.”

    - George Washington

    The world has transitioned – from a bipolar power system to a more pluralized multipolar distribution of power… from a political scenario dictated by hard power to one controlled by smart power… from a world order influenced by realist national interest to a more liberal community approach... or has it? In a world plagued by proxy wars, interest conflict, identity crisis and territorial disputes, the words of George Washington could not have been truer. Each state is essentially guided by its own motives, bound by its own self-interest and dictated by materialistic gain – may it be ulterior motives during multilateral interventions in Africa, or may it be regional counter-offensives in the Middle East. In such a world, conflict resolution has become harder than ever before. The Clash of Civilizations Theory suggested a world divided on religious differences. Instead, the 21st century sees a global order fragmented on ethnic, and national differences.

    In such a world, the singular issue that threatens the very notion of international cooperation in an anarchic order is nationalism. “Nationalism” refers not just to patriotism and dedication to a country’s values, but is often associated with a form of offensive realism, or a situation of one-up man ship in the political arena. May it be the civil war and identity crisis that plagues South Sudan, or may it be the fight of the Houthis for greater control over national infrastructure of Yemen… may it be the Yugoslav Wars, or the First Chenchen War, nationalism has intertwined itself into broader geopolitical dynamics of the world order. So, what role does the United Nations play in uniting a world essentially fractured by nationalist tendencies? How should the world work together to bridge this new divide?

    With questions so pertinent, I welcome you to DAIMUN XIV, a forum truly built on the theme of “Nationalism: The New Divide”. The eight committees simulated at the conference approach this multifaceted issue through several lenses and mandates, with the aim of effectively healing a fractured world order. With a variety in committees, from the Security Council to the ECOSOC, from the International Court of Justice to the SPECPOL, DAIMUN XIV shall serve as a powerful platform for the youth to participate in political dialogue and discussion. Your progress will be measured based on not only the soundness of your solutions, but also on your ability to compromise, negotiate and collaborate in order to lay the foundations of a new world order structured on cooperation, not confrontation.

    The world is your stage.

    Yours sincerely,
    Navya Mehta
    Deputy Secretary General,
    DAIMUN 2017
  • From the Desk of the Deputy Secretary General

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    “When I think I’m right, nothing bothers me.”

    - Donald J Trump

    Mr. Trump is definitely ‘right”, but not in the sense which he means it. Arguably the most powerful man in the world, Donald Trump, is hell bent on following in the footsteps of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty, who, in the 1500s built what we know today as the Great Wall of China. The election of Mr. Trump has raised many questions, but one thing is for certain: his “right”-ness defintely played a role in his victory. Mr. Trump mastered the use of a brand of ethnocentric nationalism (ethno-nationalism) to power his campaign to the White House. In doing so, he has created ripples in the political fabric of the world that are being felt everywhere from Eastern Europe to South Asia. Contrary to popular belief, populism and ethno-nationalism have not suddenly surged in the United States and Europe since Trump’s ascendancy. His election simply shifted attention to a recent change in the geopolitical landscape where nationalist-populist claims are sounding more resonant and more salient than at any point in the past.

    Incidents such as Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s decision to exit the European Union have been very encouraging for nationalist across, the globe, but especially in Europe. Politicians on Europe’s radical right are now looking to Trump to see which tactics worked for him before testing those in their home nations, adding to the sense that there is a broader nationalist wave rippling around the world. It is these changes that make nationalism, the issue of national identity so crucial in today’s world order. And it is these changes that have inspired the theme of DAIMUN this year,

    Nationalism: The New Divide

    At DAIMUN this year, we plan to give delegates a chance to explore the world’s changing power dynamic through a range of versatlie committees, each exploring different aspects of the effect of nationalism on the nations of the world. At the same time, we at DAIMUN will aim to retain the essense of a traditional THIMUN conference that is arguably the best in India. We at DAIMUN wish to continue giving delegates the same fun-filled and fulfilling learning experience that they have come to expect from us over the years. This year, apart from the traditional GA committees, the Security Council, International Court of Justice, Advisory Panel and ECOSOC, we have also instituted the Special Conference on Identity and Nationalism to specifically cater to this issue.

    I would like to conclude by saying that MUN doesn’t just consist of groups of loud teenagers trying make their voice heard over the rest. MUN is about compromise, about working hard, about working as a team even when you don’t want to. Many students view MUN as just “some mock debate”, but we know that it means so much more. We can say with confidence that MUN has shaped us into the individuals that we are today. It has given us confidence, and has taught us how to critically evaluate situations even when under pressure. At the end of the day, MUN has given us skills that we will use for the rest of our lives. It is these very skills that we wish to impart to every delegate who attends DAIMUN.

    And so, it is on behalf of the entire DAIMUN team, that I extend to you a warm welcome to our conference, and wish you best of luck on your journey.

    Yours sincerely,
    Aryan Singh
    Deputy Secretary General,
    DAIMUN 2017
  • From the Desk of the President, General Assembly

    Dear students and MUN Directors,

    “Nationalism, in my opinion, is nothing more than an idealistic rationalization for militarism and aggression.”

    - Albert Einstein

    In 1789, when the ‘san culottes’ rose in revolution against Louis XVI, they fought not only for the glory of France, but for liberty, equality and fraternity. In contrast, the unification of Germany years later, was inspired by a spirit of ‘Blut und Boden’ (blood and soil)- a belief that traditions and race were the true cause for national belonging. It is fair to assume that most states and societies turn to nationalism when determining the relevance of political systems and democracy. In the present multipolar international system of states, what is more worrying than ever, is the large number of countries shifting from the universal, democratic nationalism towards the ‘blood and soil’ understanding of nationalism.

    We find ourselves in a world where states are moving away from the ideals of ‘interconnectedness’ and ‘barrier-less trade’ that were essential to the post Cold War paradigm. When a US President is elected on the back of a policy characterized by borders, protectionism and making ‘America Great Again’, and the UK votes to leave the EU, one of the most successful examples of a regional inter-state government, it is clear that a paradigm shift in the international system may be underway- only this time, states are erecting borders (both literal and metaphorical) in the name of nationalism.

    The present issue of ‘aggressively nationalist’ policies manifested in forms such as trade protectionism has often been explained through the recently coined phrase, ‘borders in our globalized world.’ When considering issues through the lens of the UN (specifically through MUN), we must also consider what some see as ‘borders’ within the very framework of the UN.

    The UN has been heavily criticized for the fact that its most important body, the Security Council, takes decisions without the concurring opinions of nearly 180 states, essentially disenfranchising 75% of the world’s population. However, in such a context, it becomes clear that one UN Body truly exemplifies the breaking down of these metaphorical borders within the UN itself. The General Assembly.

    The GA is the largest non-discriminatory organ of the United Nations and gives an equal vote to every one of the 193 member states of the UN. Truly democratic, the GA gives weight to the spirit of the United Nations, simply put: an idea of united nations. This year, I am pleased to say that we will be simulating three GA Sub-Committees- the Disarmament and International Security Committee (the First Committee), the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (the Fourth Committee) and the Legal Committee (the Sixth Committee). We will be discussing issues ranging from the applicability of universal jurisdiction to the Question of Palestine. This year, the plenary session – a session with all of the delegates of each of the GAs – will be the largest ever.

    Join us in the General Assembly, where every country has an equal voice.

    Yours faithfully,

    Avi Anurag
    President of the General Assembly,