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The OP Student’s Perspective of the UN General Assembly

Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos, Staff Writer

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This past week, New York City hosted the largest diplomatic gathering of the year. This annual conference, the UN General Assembly, is attended by the majority of foreign leaders and their diplomatic representatives. This year’s conference was the first General Assembly to be attended by the United States President, Donald Trump. Although many criticized his vague responses, others complimented his performance, along with that of his colleague Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Besides Trump’s comments, other attendants also made headlines discussing current event topics such as the North Korean crisis, the Rohingya crisis, and the India-Pakistan disputes. Let’s see what OP students that are members of the Model UN club had to say about the conference.

One of the most impacting members of the Model UN group is Justin Oei. Justin Oei was an integral player in the founding of the club back in 2016. Justin believes this conference was a true disappointment for American diplomacy. Attempting to explain his frustration, Oei quotes the Swedish Foreign Minister saying, “it was the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience.” Justin Oei believes, “Trump needs to be much more diplomatic and realize that we are but one voice at the table, and that he is not a big shot. ” In regards to current events, Justin advocates for a change in leadership for both North Korea and the United States. He credits the standstill between the two nations to the refusal of both governments’ leaders to act towards better diplomatic relations. Justin was also surprised with the active participation of the Caribbean nations, who typically aren’t of much interest in the conference. He thinks that collectively the “Caribbean nations who addressed the Assembly … on climate change made headlines, especially because it is so relevant given the major events they have experienced recently.”

Other Model UN members also had their own opinions on the diplomatic gathering that occurred throughout last week. In contrast with Justin Oei’s opinion, Sudyut Sinha, a sophomore expressed that he was content with Trump’s performance at the General Assembly saying, “Trump proved to be reasonable and successful with his address to the UN.” Another sophomore, Matthew Mazzuca, agreed with Sudyut saying Trump’s address was, “unprecedented for an American president. He continues saying, “he made known to its [United Nations] member states that he would put his nationalistic pro-America First agenda before all else. However, unlike more libertarian-leaning members of his party, Trump clearly sees a role the UN could play in international security.” On a different topic, both of these tenth-grade students agreed that the UN sought to quell diplomatic tensions between North Korea and the United States. Matthew Mazzuca clearly stated that “this assembly certainly put North Korea under more pressure, with sanctions on textile production and oil, however, I don’t think this will stop the crisis.” This UN General Assembly proved to be a complicated subject to discuss but it seems people have similar views on the world’s current situation.

Personally, I believe that we need to express both nationalism and a sense of diplomacy. If President Trump and Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, can achieve this balance, I believe we can improve our relations with various foreign powers. One of these being North Korea, with whom our the United States has participated in an exchange of various threats, such as the possibility of a nuclear war. I also believe the UN has to resolve the problems in Myanmar where thousands of Rohingya natives have been displaced because of hate crimes frequently committed against them. I was surprised by the usual yet unnecessary, India-Pakistan spats. This situation has certainly gotten old and the UN must work to resolve this territorial and cultural dispute as soon as possible. In the end, this conference has proven to be an insightful look into the world of diplomacy we live in today; a world replete with migrant crises and problems regarding the undeclared war between North Korea and the United States.

 

Photo Credits to United Nations Photo

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