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  • From the Desk of the Secretary General

    “And slowly Arthur answer’d from the barge: “The old order changeth, yielding place to new.””

    - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    It would be an understatement to say that Lord Tennyson’s world, as portrayed in Idylls of the King , was quite different from ours! Over the course of one and a half centuries, our globe has experienced a paradigm shift in governance. Our planet is not solely unipolar like it was in olden days, it is unipolar, multipolar and chaotic: all three at once. It is arguable that foremost among these changes is a dramatic change in the distribution of power. The state itself is now not absolute, not hegemonic and definitely not supreme.

    But why do I say this? I say this because this world, this brave new world has gone through a rather transformational change: Enlightenment. The conception and transport of ideas, such as liberalism and democracy, and their rapid rise toppled archaic governmental systems. The twilight of empires ended as the sun set on them. The entire notion of power being centred in the hands of the government was changed, for the rise of non-state actors had begun. We must answer one question before we proceed, however. Who are non-state actors? Who are these new power wielders in today’s day and age?

    Non-state actors, as defined by the science of international relations, are individuals or groups that wield influence over populations and are not allied to a state. It is to these groups that the mantle of leadership has been passed, or rather, as Tennyson expresses strikingly, yielded . Wherever one shifts his gaze, the presence of these influence holders is noticeable.

    Corporations and economic conglomerates are one example. In certain nations, such as the United States of America, the subtle rise of a mild corporatocracy is visible, as governments are dependent on the economic non-state actors that could make or break their image. The United Nations, the very organization we seek to emulate, is another prominent political non-state actor which promotes change on a global level. Extremist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, violent non-state actors, have demonstrated the destructive power that non-state actors are capable of possessing.

    But perhaps the most prominent, powerful and potent non-state actor is you. Students of our age are constantly told they are the future, and it is high time that we act to secure our future. Since its inception in 2006, DAIMUN has aimed to serve as a platform for change and change makers with pertinent global themes. I invite you to DAIMUN XV, where you and fellow young minds will discuss issues ranging from the situation in Myanmar to promoting religious diversity in the Middle East, all centred around one common theme: ‘ Changing Paradigms of Power: The Rise of Non-State Actors ’.

    Lord Tennyson famously said in his poem, Ulysses , ‘We are not now that strength which in old days moved Earth and Heaven’. But aren’t we, the people, a strength like no other in today’s world order? Held up by the pillars of democracy, freedom and equality we have a platform like no other from which we can, and we will, create change. It is not our obligation to do so, but our moral responsibility to strive for excellence, to seek compromise, to find new solutions and not to yield in the face of tremendous adversity.

    The window of opportunity is open. Seize it.

    Yours sincerely,
    Arjun Shukla
    Secretary General
    DAIMUN 2018
  • From the Desk of the Deputy Secretary General

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    “Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action; which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril.”

    - Woodrow Wilson

    In 1919, Woodrow Wilson set foot in the Paris Peace Conference with an agenda. An agenda, known as his “Fourteen Points” that he believed would ensure long-lasting international peace among nations following the devastation of the First World War. One of the key principles of his Fourteen Point agenda was the self determination of oppressed minorities in Eastern Europe, especially under the unstable Austro-Hungarian Empire. This ideal became representative of freedom and democracy, and defined American foreign policy for the better part of the next century.

    Today, self determination continues to be prevalent throughout the world, with smaller and smaller groups starting violent movements attempting to claim international recognition as a nation state. The focus of political and military conflict is shifting from wars between nations, to geopolitical conflicts caused by non-state actors.

    From the polarized political landscape, which existed through the 1900’s, today’s world is vastly different, and it is not just nations that possess all the power. Countries no longer hold monopoly over the world economy, and are consequently not the only ones responsible for world peace. Organizations like the United Nations hold the power of public opinion, and are capable of ceasing trade and suspending the national economies of a nation, and have made tangible impacts on many of the key issues that exist across the globe – such as poverty, sanitation, unemployment and healthcare. At the same time, we have non state actors like the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and other extremist organizations that are built upon the ideology of self determination, and now are at the centre of global geopolitical conflict. This is the irony of the free world – the democratic principles upon which free society is supposedly built, are being used to degrade it and have created its worst enemies.

    And hence, with the paradigms of power shifting, we must revisit the definition of self determination – and whether it is a force of “good” in this world of complex political and social ideologies. We must appreciate the fact that in the age of colonization, all successful nationalist movements started out as non-state actors, acting independently of governments, and toppled them to set up their own. A government has traditionally always been a nation’s point of international contact, however, today – NGOs and MNCs are making genuine progress in resolving the worst humanitarian crises that plague the world.

    At DAIMUN XV, we want to inquire what role will non-state actors, with their increasing power and influence, play going forward into the future. We want to comprehend this new world order, and the effect it has on the peoples and communities of the world. But most importantly, we want to take charge of our world – because today, more than ever, the people have a voice and say in how it is going to shaped.

    Reality is yours. Don’t disappoint it.

    Yours sincerely,
    Aditya Gandotra
    Deputy Secretary General,
    DAIMUN 2018
  • From the Desk of the Deputy Secretary General

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    “It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”

    - Kofi Annan

    Globalization is undeniable. The latter half of the twentieth century has seen a dramatic increase in international organizations and global interdependence, with an escalation of connectivity between nations through the development of technology. This phenomenon has also led to a pressing need for global governance, the collective efforts of international actors to identify and tackle trans-boundary problems, in order to effectively uphold international relations. Today, there is an evident lack of efficient systems for the same, to solve the accumulating international issues, both historical and those newly risen due to globalization.

    One of the most far-reaching effects of globalization has been the impact it has had on the formation and advancement of Non-State Actors. The world has been transforming rapidly, and NSAs have been at the forefront of this change. The rise of these parties has led to a diffusion of power on a global scale. The outsourcing of activities by governments to them, specifically in the past few decades, has been a catalyst for this change. This was seen during the Cold War, when USA promoted their economy by the promotion of Non-State Actors, simultaneously giving them economic power. This has also happened in a military context, such as the outsourcing of power by the UK to Erinys International.

    Non-State Actors have always been present in global politics, but their significance can be seen to be rising sharply in the second half of the twentieth century. The voice and power held by them across the world today is unprecedented. The range of these actors is large, from extremist organizations, to multinational corporations, to the United Nations itself. Every global problem today is multi-faceted, and incorporating the perspective of this large spectrum of NSAs is vital for a holistic approach.

    One could arguably say that some of the most influential Non-State Actors that have been gaining power globally in the last century, are extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. The continuous efforts of ISIS, for example, to challenge the authority of states, and blur national divisions in the Middle East, are emblematic of the changing paradigms of power brought about by Violent NSAs across the world. However, as aforementioned, the importance of NSAs is not limited to the problems caused by certain ones. We must focus on the wide avenue of possibilities of aid provided by them, and the scope for efficient action they have, unlike the bureaucracies of States, giving them opportunities for influence on a global scale.

    As members of the United Nations at DAIMUN 2018, an organization with the aims of maintaining worldwide peace and security and developing and maintaining international relations, it is up to you to view the world through the lens of a prominent Non-State Actor, and consider the many opportunities that our globalized world gives you.

    The power is in your hands. Use it well.

    Yours faithfully,
    Charul Maheshka
    Deputy Secretary General,
    DAIMUN 2018
  • From the Desk of the President General Assembly

    Dear Delegates and MUN Directors,

    Take stock of the world around you, of all the conflict we see in our global village—Kosovo, Libya, Ivory Coast, Syria.
    All mired in civil conflict.
    All intervened in by the UN and its member nations.

    Humanitarian intervention, defined by political theorist Andrew Heywood as “military intervention that is carried out in pursuit of humanitarian rather than strategic objectives”, is one of the most comprehensive instances of the rise of non-state actors. Authorised by the United Nations Security Council, humanitarian intervention gives an international governmental organisation the right to plan a multinational military invasion in a state without the state’s question, endangering the concept of national sovereignty.

    This begs the question: what is sovereignty to us today? Has the concept of sovereignty also been forced to evolve with the growing importance of such non-state actors in our world today?

    Let’s look at the 2011 Syrian Civil War, where President Assad and the citizens of Syria engaged in a war sparked by the oppressive policies of Assad. According to the non- governmental organisation Human Rights Watch, the Conflict has led to 470,000 deaths, 12,000 cases of rape and 5,165,502 refugees, starting a whole new refugee crisis. The international community, aghast at the escalating violence, intervened, citing the reason that Assad had violated the ideal of responsible sovereignty. Responsible sovereignty - the idea that a state’s sovereignty is void in the eyes of the international community when a state leader commits outrageous crimes against humanity against the citizens - is just a reflection of the changed perception of sovereignty. This change is wrought by non-state actors, who have in the past three decades forged a path towards increased global interconnectedness. The extremist group of ISIS was also a key actor in the Syrian war, responsible for violating the state’s national security. This again serves as an example of the rise of non-state actors and the role they play in a state’s security and national policies. Extremist organisations all over the world have drastically affecting politics and a nations domestic policies, as clearly seen after the 9/11 attack and the advent of the War on Terror era.

    However in today’s world, we struggle to strike a balance between the state and non-state actors. How does one ensure that non-state actors don’t overextend themselves, as seen in the failure of the attack on Benghazi during the Libyan intervention, and take successful actions that are in line with the popular will of the state, like in the Ivory Coast intervention?
    This, my dear delegates, is the question we pose with the ambitious theme of ‘Changing Paradigms of Power: The Rise of Non-State Actors’. Over the three days of the conference, we aim to truly understand this New World Order, and try to find the balance between nationalist and a universal mindset. Change is within our grasp. Stability is within our grasp.

    Challenge yourself. The floor is yours.

    Yours faithfully,
    Poorvika Mehra
    President General Assembly,
    DAIMUN 2018