"Taking Action" with Dr. David Suzuki: VMUN 2020 These words certainly rang true during the 19th iteration of Vancouver Model United Nations. Hosted at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Vancouver, delegates spent the weekend immersed in a world of fruitful deliberation and debate, tackling a multitude of issues ranging from the EU’s pressing concern about the rise of illiberal democracies, to the UNDP’s heated debate on gender-based poverty. Accompanied by delegations from around the world, LFA students were encouraged to keep open minds and to work closely with one another.
The keynote speaker for VMUN 2020’s opening ceremonies was none other than the esteemed scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, Dr. David Suzuki. A gifted interpreter of the fundamentals of science and nature, Dr. Suzuki bestowed upon members of the audience a thought-provoking look on the state of the current environment, commending our current successes and past achievements in the ongoing battle for environmental sustainability, and further imploring us to take larger strides in making a change in our homes, communities, and the world around us. Presently, we all have become well-aware of the various forms of environmental injustice that exist in our world today. We see this injustice everyday through a variety of platforms, including posts on social media and news articles. However, although we are conscious of these inequities, many of us have fallen short in advocating for change, and in taking action. During Dr. Suzuki’s presentation, he encouraged us to take this action in our communities on the environmental challenges we collectively face. He created this impact by offering up valuable insights into sustainable development, and a compelling model for a world in which humanity can live well, while still protecting our environment.
I myself was a delegate of the Liberal Party in the Canadian House of Commons, where I assumed the role of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. In the three days that I took upon this position, I was able to experience the impact that our voices have in the political world. Political leaders earn their positions by our votes, which they earn by caring for public opinion and keeping close tabs on issues constituents raise. Our voices matter, and they have the power to be the driving force in change if we allow it. In the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Canadians want to elect good people to be their voice in Ottawa.”
The time spent at VMUN pursuing resolution to the broad spectrum of conflicts presented to us further reinforced the message Dr. Suzuki parted with, which was that there is both strength and perseverance found in working hand-in-hand with one another. With this power, we can protect the well-being of all life now, and for the future. Through participating in active discussion on the relevant topics of the many disabled individuals in conflict zones, the ethics of genetic engineering, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, and countless others, VMUN 2020 instilled a newfound motivation to get more involved in the world within all of its delegates. It was also an opportunity to make friendships, memories, and connections that have the ability to last a lifetime. It is through building these relationships that we are able to make a change and guide others toward change.
Overall, this year’s Vancouver Model United Nations was a tremendous success, and a positive experience for all delegates who participated. Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in such a phenomenal event! We won 11 awards as follows and these awards are only earned through such hard work and persistence-
3 girls won the Best Delegate of their committee and therefore they won a beautiful gavel! Asha Mior '20 Anya Trivedi '21 Ellie Hwang '21
1 girl received the Outstanding Delegate Award Kimberley Kavlekar
1 girl received Honorable Mention- Trisha-mae Capistrano '20
6 girls received the Best Research Award or Best Position papers
Maria Zen Baxter '22 Elaine Zhang '20 Stephanie Chau '21 Alison Chan '21 Maya Mior '22 Athina Law '22
Congratulations to these 11 talented students but also a special thanks to all 56 students who attended. Your participation and co-operation were outstanding!
Article by Araian Madama ('21) and Mrs. Julie Mills