What is the secret behind Switzerland’s success?
“It is all about neutrality,” said Elizabeth Bucher, the Consulate General of Switzerland and chief guest at the annual Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Model United Nations (ZABMUN) that opened on Thursday. “This helps Switzerland evade war and internal conflict.”
Around 600 students gathered to hear her speak at the Carlton Hotel to represent countries that form the United Nations (UN). The event was organised by students at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology.
The event kicked off with ZABMUN Secretary General Ibad Abbassi and President Mina Kidwai welcoming the delegates. According to Kidwai, it was very important to hold such events in Pakistan. “Since most of us come from India, we grew up with parents who had a soft spot for the land they had to leave behind,” she said. “But then, why are we told that India is our enemy?”
Just as with other MUNs, five committees have been set up, including a Security Council and International Court of Justice.
Dressed to impress, the delegates were roaming around in charcoal black suits and bright ties. They were ready to attack and defend the country they were representing. A pre-medical student from Bahria College Karsaz was all geared up to talk about the Philippines and the Somali pirates. Maha Malik and Tehreem Siddiqui from the DA Public School were coming up with schemes to help Namibia and fight poverty. They were excited to attend the event as they felt it would improve their debating skills and social networking.
Karachi Grammar School’s Yousuf Akhlaq said that he liked this event better than others because there were more delegates. He added that since he was interested in power politics he had chosen the special political and decolonisation committee. Maaz Ashraf and Mohammad Anas from Foundation Public School said that they had come to learn about different countries.
They, like many other students, registered for the event privately. The total cost was Rs2,000 and only covered the registration and delegation, not the social events. They added that for them it was cheaper to register for this event than the MUN at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
A recent university graduate, Bemisal Iqbal, said that she had found that attending MUNs had made her more confident and poised. Nabeel Abbassi, a member of the ZABMUN organising committee, told The Express Tribune that last year there were more than 350 delegates and twice as many people were going to attend the event this year.
This year the conference will revolve around the Kashmir and Lebanon issues, Somali pirates, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran. The conference will carry on till November 13.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.
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