Record attendance for the 2010 York University Model United Nations Conference

The 2010 York University Model United Nations student club held its annual conference Feb. 26 to 28 at Queen’s Park in Toronto. This year’s conference had the highest turnout in the history of the conference with more than 200 student delegates from universities across Canada attending the event.

Along with York, the conference brought student delegates from the Royal Military College of Canada, Concordia University, Carleton University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto Scarborough and St. George campuses, Ryerson University and the University of Winnipeg.

Above: More than 200 delegates from Canadian universities participated in the York University Model United Nations Conference held Feb. 26 to 28 at Queen’s Park

This year’s keynote speech was delivered by York political science Professor Saeed Rahnema, who centred on the significance of the Middle East. Rahnema discussed several areas of concern in the region, including the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, the war in Iraq, the instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the political situation in Iran. He concluded with thoughts about possible solutions to conflicts in each of these areas.

Saeed Rahnema

Right: York political science Professor Saeed Rahnema gives the keynote address to conference delegates

Open to all students, including those from high schools and colleges in Canada, the conference was created to foster a greater awareness of international relations and multilateral conflict resolution.

“United by a love for dialogue, international affairs and creative collaboration, the members explored new ideas, met new people and learned more about the world in which they live,” said fourth-year York political science student David Kohyar, who is also the president of the Model United Nations at York University.

Following the keynote presentation, delegates participated in a series of debates that were modelled on various committees of the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations. Working in groups, they represented the foreign policy of an assigned country in debates that were related to the activities of a particular United Nations committee. This year’s conference had eight committees that focused on 12 different topics ranging from the humanitarian crisis in Haiti to the instability in the Afghanistan and Pakistan regions.

The conference featured a competitive series of debates, and student delegates demonstrating exemplary debating skills were given awards for their debating prowess and how accurately they represented their country within the debate. Among the many teams present, students from the Royal Military College, the University of Toronto Scarborough campus and Upper Canada College received awards for their debating skills.

For more information about the club and its annual conference, visit the York University Model United Nations Web site or contact the club by e-mail at