UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Chair: Joshua Burg
about the Committee:
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a UN agency tasked with maintenance and proliferation of human rights and the freedoms outlined by the UN Charter through educational, scientific, and cultural collaboration/reform. For MUNUM XXXIII, our committee will focus on the freedom and protection of journalists and the preservation of World Heritage Sites in conflict zones. The rising commonality of attacks on journalists and crackdowns on media institutions by authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations has made the issue of protecting journalists an ubiquitous and pressing topic that must be addressed. Also, with wars and civil unrest building across the globe, World Heritage Sites, sites meant to signify cultural and humanitarian significance, have found themselves increasingly at risk for destruction. If we are to preserve such history and culture, delegates must make great strides in policy and use diplomacy as a tool of preservation, not war.
background guide coming in November!
TOPIC A: Freedoms and protections for journalists
TOPIC B: preservation of world heritage sites in conflict zones
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR:
My name is Joshua Burg and I will be the chair for UNESCO at MUNUM XXXIII. I am currently a Sophomore majoring in Economics and Political Science. Outside of Model UN, I participate in learning community called MRADS as a peer mentor, aiding Freshmen in obtaining undergraduate research projects. I also am the secretary of the amateur radio club and a member of a subcommittee of Central Student Government here on campus.
UNESCO as a committee is dedicated to the preservation of human rights and the fundamental freedoms outlined in the UN’s charter. Two major aims of UNESCO have been the upholding of press freedoms and the preservation of culture and knowledge through the establishment/ maintenance of World Heritage Sites. UNESCO’s heavy involvement in the fields of press freedom and World Heritage Sites has led us to our two topics: Freedom and Protection of Journalists, and Preservation of World Heritage Sites in Conflict Zones.
Concerns in regard to the safety and liberty of journalists has gained significant importance in the last decade. This is largely due to an increased presence of terrorist organizations and increased crackdowns by authoritarian governments and governments under threat. The idea of journalists being under siege may seem to be a ‘uniquely ISIS phenomenon’. However, even in Northern Ireland we have begun to see a resurgence in irredentist terrorist activity that led to the death of a journalist on April 18, 2019. In the U.S., media outlets are frequently criticized by high-ranking politicians and in Hungary, the ruling party, FIDESZ, commonly pins opposition journalists as puppets of adversaries. The ubiquitous nature of attacks on journalists makes this issue applicable to any country and any region.
The role of World Heritage Sites as spaces of scientific and cultural diffusion is one of the many reasons numerous sites have been designated over the past few decades. Due to war and ethnic/religious violence, World Heritage Sites are often designated targets or caught in the crossfire of conflict. World Heritage Sites in Iraq and Syria have been devastated by years of Civil War, and in Yemen, a country with four World Heritage Sites, three Sites are considered to be in danger of destruction. How the international community responds to such events sets a precedent for future responses in regions with emerging conflicts.
We are all excited to see how you tackle these issues and we look forward to seeing you at MUNUM XXXIII!
Josh and Kristen