It is my extraordinary pleasure to formally invite you all to the sixteenth annual Gator Model United Nations Conference (GatorMUN), held this January 25th through January 27th of 2018. GatorMUN is the largest high school Model UN conference in the southeast, offering a variety of topics and committees to challenge delegates and help them develop into global citizens. Delegates will have the opportunity to hone their public speaking skills, improve their writing, and work toward diplomatic solutions with their peers. These faculties will serve them throughout their academic career and professional lives. While GatorMUN will continue to uphold the competitive aspect of Model UN conferences, our primary goal is for delegates to learn about their place in the world, understand the implications of their actions on the future, and realize their power as educated global citizens.
The theme of this year’s conference is “A Seat at the Table,” a topic near and dear to my heart. The delegates, topics, and committees will be exploring the complex intersections of diversity of and within identity, for people, organizations, and nations around the world. The current global political climate is one of two extremes: rising nationalism and rising globalization. As cultural borders between countries dissolve, many people attempt to hold fast to antiquated ideas of national identity. However, the complex and ever-changing global web can make that virtually impossible. With the influx of other cultures, traditions, and languages, questions of identity are constant. What defines a culture, and how does that evolve over time? Is one’s nationality determined by their country of birth, country of heritage, or country they currently live in? In this time of extreme global change, these questions cannot be answered by one group or one nation alone.
Alongside these abstract questions are real world problems. To illustrate, the current refugee crisis has brought with it a host of physical issues – community organization, infrastructure, population density, housing, health care – in addition to the ideological issues it brings up. These controversies require every one of the diverse set of involved voices to contribute. Healthy debate inspires each party to challenge themselves to improve, while diplomacy turns debate into tangible conclusions. The root of the United Nations, diplomacy does not happen with perfect harmony; it only comes into play amongst dissension. The committees offered at GatorMUN this year do not shy away from controversy. They incorporate a variety of diverse viewpoints and challenge delegates to come up with innovative and original solutions. Delegates will be encouraged to reflect on their own personal identity and how to find their own voice within diversity. We can only begin to find an equitable solution if every voice has a seat at the table.
On a more practical note, we have expanded our Specialized Committees section to offer additional unique committees that are not found anywhere else on the circuit. These committees are designed to present factual and real-life situations, organizations, and bodies while incorporating special elements: historical settings, futuristic settings, rotating topics, crisis updates, etc. Delegates can bring local politics into play with regional committees, focusing in on areas such as Germany, Quebec, or Saudi Arabia. Advanced delegates will have the opportunity to compete in the GA Plenary: Special Session 2040, and reframe the United Nations as we know it. These committees will help to accommodate the high demand for crisis spots without sacrificing the real-life basis of assembly committees. Our General Assembly committees will continue to hold true to the committees of the United Nations, with topics addressing current global dialogues. There are three Dual-Delegation Assemblies, that encourage delegates to work together both in and out of the committee room. Our extremely popular crisis committees will cover an immense variety of geographical regions and settings, from the historical, fantastical, and current. With a new dispersal of committees, we hope to welcome new and returning schools to GatorMUN while reducing committee size and ensuring the experience of all delegates. GatorMUN will continue to be held in the Reitz Union, providing access to food options and convenience to delegates and advisors. The delegate social will also be held here again, allowing delegates the opportunity to enjoy the Reitz Union facilities and network outside of the committee rooms, as well as talk to current students at the University of Florida about their college experiences. I could not be more proud of this conference. My Secretariat and I have spent the past year preparing for this weekend, doing our best to improve upon the conference experience each year. Please explore our website gatormun.org for registration directions, conference information, committee updates, and much more. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me or my Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am so excited to see you in January for GatorMUN XVI!