Last September we mourned the loss of Joe Schwartzberg, author of “Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World” and founder of the Workable World Trust (WWT). The Trust continues to support multiple projects that move forward the transformation or creation of more transparent, democratic, people-centered and effective global governance bodies. One of those projects is “UN Reform Tracks” that can be implemented at middle school, high school and college-level Model UN (MUN) Conferences. Why MUN? We have the potential to reach young minds that are already engaged in multilateralism through simulations, motivating these students to think beyond the status quo and ask, “What if?”
The First Step
We began by focusing on the Security Council (SC) because it is one of the most important UN bodies, has the power to consider any situation that could endanger international peace, and its resolutions are binding. Currently, its composition includes only 15 of the 193 countries in the UN; with the Schwartzberg reform proposal, all 193 member states are included in 12 regions with weighted voting calculations, and with no veto power. Thus, regions do not have to cater to the P-5 members.
We first introduced our SC Reform track this past spring at the 2019 Mexico City International Model United Nations Conference (MIMUN). Several weeks before MIMUN, students were given our SC Reform Modules to introduce the reforms and prepare them for the conference. MIMUN is a multi-day event, providing the opportunity to run the SC committee with both the reform model and as a traditional session.
Responses from both students and teachers exceeded our expectations. Delegates were driven to work together in the interest of their regions and the common good, as opposed to the current mentality of self-interest. Students were more engaged than staff and teachers have witnessed in previous years, and it really created a new energy of collaboration. As the SC Chair, Diego Rivera, observed, “They were putting regional interests first, they were putting human rights first, and they were actually thinking in ways as a whole to work for a better solution.” When using the Schwartzberg model, after intense debate among the representatives for each region, the resolution passed unanimously. Notably, when the students switched back to traditional SC voting, some of the P5 members with veto power killed the resolution.
Based on that success, the SC Track is now being implemented or considered for schools in New Jersey, Minnesota and California.
As democratic institutions continue to be weakened around the world, it is crucial to educate our youth to think critically about the current system of global decision-making. These Tracks can challenge our next generation of civic and politically savvy students to disrupt what they currently know, while giving them tools to reshape our current system. WWT plans to invest in scaling-up and creating additional reform tracks to launch globally.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Citizens for Global Solutions.