Nagpur International Model United Nations delegates pass unanimous resolution promoting peace-building efforts in Kashmir and between India and Pakistan
“We are in a state of ecstasy right now!” says Devang Shah, Director of the Nagpur International Model United Nations, upon completion of the recent and unprecedented academic conference recently.
Eight student delegates from Pakistan and nineteen from India, including Jammu and Kashmir, attended the Model United Nations conference in Nagpur, Maharashtra’s second capital. The historic conference involved student delegates from Pakistan and India, as well as Kashmir, actually sitting together and working towards a resolution for the restoration of peace and economic development in Kashmir.
Nagpur MUN 2015 featured four committees (Councils) to discuss important issues: General Assembly, World Health Organization, Human Rights and Aman ki Asha, a special committee inspired by the Pakistan-India peace initiative launched by the Times of India and Jang Group Pakistan on January 1, 2010.
Held at the Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering in Nagpur, India on May 30-31 the conference took three years to organise and bring to fruition. Yet visas for the Pakistani delegates were issued at the last minute, literally one evening before their scheduled date of departure to India — an indication of the perpetually difficult state of India-Pakistan relations.
The MUN is a conference for students where each participant is allotted a country in a specific committee with an international conflict agenda. It is an opportunity to learn diplomatic skills, international law and foreign policies. The MUNs are organized on behalf of United Nations to spread awareness.
The MUN is an educational simulation and academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. It involves and teaches research, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
The conference centered around the “Kashmir issue,” involving some of “the most innovative young minds” from India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir state.
Student delegates from India and Pakistan were told that they were “no longer Indian, Pakistani or Kashmiri, but they were global citizens.” The delegates did their best to actualise the conference’s wish, unanimously drafting a resolution advocating the establishment of a secular democratic system in Kashmir capable of granting the Kashmiri people their full civil, social, economic and political rights.
The student delegates making up the governing body of the conference expressed their extreme satisfaction with the outcome of the gathering.
Many had expected a heated competition for awards between Pakistanis and Indians. “But as I sat through the committee sessions…to my astonishment, they spent these moments working together in unison and presented a joint resolution on their approach towards the agenda topic,” commented Asad Raza, Co-Chair of the Aman ki Asha Council of the conference. “I was unable to observe the slightest of tensions between these persons who belonged from rival states. The Indians gave such a hospitable and warm welcome to their Pakistani counterparts, who themselves felt so humbled at the opportunity to finally meet their friends across the border.”
The experience, overall, has led me to believe that no people of two countries are as similar and close as those from India and Pakistan,” he added.
With the success of the conference, the hope is that the conversations had there will spread across the student delegates’ institutions of learning, inspiring new waves of political thought amongst Indian and Pakistani youth.
As the student delegates from India and Pakistan showed, cooperation, an earnest attempt at dialogue and understanding and a common diplomatic goal are sometimes all you need to make real strides towards peace. Imagine if these open-minded student delegates of today become real government representatives of change tomorrow…