Introducing New Zealand Model Security Council 2013

For those of you not in the know, UN Youth NZ’s premier University level conference is being held in the stunning city Dunedin this year!  The committee is working hard to ensure that 2013 is the biggest, and the best year yet.  Before we go any further, I would like to introduce myself, and my Committee.

 

ME! (Coordinator)

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Kia ora!  I’m Mike Peebles, and as the title suggests, I’m the coordinator for NZ Model Security Council 2013!  I was born and bred in the city of shakes, 19 and a half years ago, and currently reside in the beautiful student town that is Dunedin.  I’m a second year medical student in the University of Otago, and have been a member of UN Youth since 2010, when I attended Canterbury Model United Nations, and got bitten by the Model UN bug.

What do you like to do with your spare time?

I don’t seem to have much of it these days, but I am partial to a bit of “Afternoons with Jim Mora” and a nice coffee where I can.

Cats or dogs?

They’re all so cute!  But probs dogs.  Dogs seem to appreciate my attention, rather than simply tolerating it.

If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?

Definitely Anton Smith.  I mean, like, wow.  He just makes me speechless.

What can we expect 

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to see in August?

You can expect the best UN Youth event you will ever attend.  You can expect to be exhausted.  You can expect to be entertained.  You can expect to make lots of new friends.  You can expect to be well fed.  You can expect to be educated, and you can expect to be empowered.  Sorry high schoolers, but it’s Uni students only; you’ll just have to wait till next year!

 

 

ANU KAW (Assistant Coordinator)

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Aloha kids, I’m Anu and I’m the Assistant Coordinator (and unofficial officer of swag) for NZ Model Security Council 2013! I’m not too sure where exactly where I hail from, having been a globe trotter from a young age, but I currently reside in the picturesque township of Dunedin (co-incidentally the location of the conference this year).  You will usually find me sitting at my desk, savouring some sort of chocolate (usually Whittakers Hazel Nut) or climbing a hill.

What do you like to do with your spare time?

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Spare time – now that’s a phrase I haven’t heard in a very long time. 

Cats or dogs?

DUCKS– COZ I LIKE FEEDING THEM. But if you’re dying to know – then puppies. Kittens are plain weird.

If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?

Chris Park – his swag level is one beyond achievable.

 

OLIVIA AITCHISON (Education Officer)

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Kia Ora, I’m Olivia. Born and Bred in the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, Wellington! I’m currently studying at Victoria University in my 2nd year and am really looking forward to seeing everyone in Dunedin later in the year!

What do you like to do with your spare time?

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Being a master procrastinator, filling up and creating spare time is something of a specialty of mine. Mostly I like to bake and knit!

 

Cats or dogs?

I like both – I’m sitting the fence on this one.

 

If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?

Easy. Batman.

 

TAMSIN ROBB (Registrations Officer)

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Hey there!  I’m Tamsin Robb, Registrations Officer for NZ Model Security Council 2013!  You’ll be in touch with me when you register!  I hail from the ‘Naki, but these days am most often found on the campus of The University of Auckland doing Cool Science Things (well, when I’m not buzzing off to Wellington /Dunedin / New Plymouth for other things, or nipping back to my apartment to do some baking or….).  I’ve been involved in UN Youth since Year 12, when I got to attend the conference with the best name: ‘cinnamon’ or Central North Island Model UN (CNIMUN) as it was officially called.

What do you like to do with your spare time?

Spare time?  Sleeping, making dresses, procrastinating, list writing, baking, and of course eating, are things I do enjoy in my spare time though!

Cats or dogs?

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CATS!  I’m not a crazy cat lady, but the bathroom of my apartment may or may not happen to have 132 cats, kittens, and puppies in it.

If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?

There’s a chap called Emil Kiroff, he’s pretty famous around here.  Carries quite an aura around with him, he’s known for on-the-mark witty comments, a crazy smile, some fluttery fairy wings, and even a dab of First Aid here and there.  Top guy!

 

 

EMIL KIROFF (Finance Officer)

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Hola! I’m Emil and I am the Financial Officer for NZ Model Security Council 2013 – sounds like a boring position? You bet. Wrong. The power is all in the numbers. One can easily sneak a new silver laptop, new crisp suit and even some blue bedding into the lattice of numbers. Besides that, I am a second year at the University of Auckland doing numbers and words. I am from Auckland and lived there most of my life. – apart from that weird year, where I hailed Rotorua as home. My parents thought it would be a good idea… I have been involved with UN Youth since 2011 and a keen bean ever since.

What do you like to do with your spare time?

Plan my non-spare time. Or if that’s done, I enjoy mountain biking in the mud at Woodhill Forrest in the winter. Just gotta love wiping mud from your mouth! My favourite however would be, getting chicken and cranberry burger and chips from Burger Wisconsin with friends, walk down to beach, goss-bag for an hour, and occasional choke on my chip, from

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trying to laugh and eat at the same time!

Cats or dogs?

Mhmm… dogs. Pretty easy choice.

If you could be a famous person for a day, who would you be?

Taylor Swift. Cause I wanna feel 22! And the long hair. I have heard that would be fun :)

 

The Best Investment

Drunk drivers, boy racers, troublemakers, popping pills, with the highest rating of STDs, unemployed and a burden on society…

I know I have missed a couple of dozen other “job descriptors” of the young people / youth today.

That is my age group. I know and work with many within this age. I come across many more every day. The large majority of them do not fit in the above ‘descriptions’. That made me wonder; if we really did have to label them with ‘descriptors’, what would they be?

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Debunking the myths

They belong with the young volunteers who contribute 2.4 billion hours of their time to helping their communities – the likes of the Student Volunteer Army that rose within hours of the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake in NZ. This ‘army’ of young people gave 75,000 hours of their time to help their communities from scraping sludge from the liquefaction-drowned roads and properties to aiding in the rescue and support teams.

 

Student Volunteer Army cleaning up liquefaction in Christchurch (Source: www.samjohnson.co.nz)

Student Volunteer Army cleaning up liquefaction in Christchurch (Source: www.samjohnson.co.nz)

Across the ditch in Australia, the Oaktree Foundation is made up of 73,000 youth volunteers who work across the various states in Australia to not only raise awareness about extreme poverty in the Asia Pacific region, they also raise funds for their cause. One of the largest youth organisations in NZ – UN Youth New Zealand, is completely led and run by the youth of NZ.

Why youth?

More than half of the world’s population is under 25 years of age – and they are the fastest growing demographic, especially within the Asia Pacific region!

Being a young person may be synonymous with inexperience, irresponsibility and/or laziness. But hold on, the Arab Spring is very fresh in our memories. The fact that youth, disillusioned by the system and demanding change, was the driving force behind is clear proof how young people are aware, are engaged and take responsibility for what happens in their communities in positive ways. Our thinking needs to be reassessed. That is the right way for youth justice.

 

Nobel Peace Prize Winner dubbed Yemen's 'Mother of Revolution during the Arab Spring (Source: www.time.com)

Nobel Peace Prize Winner dubbed Yemen’s ‘Mother of Revolution during the Arab Spring (Source: www.time.com)

Young people are without a doubt the heartbeat of a society, therefore the backbone of a country’s development. Developing and sustaining their development across the globe is rooted in the development of today’s youth. That is true investment for the future.

 

How?

The foundation for youth development for any government should be investment in youth programs. Starting from education, competency and skills development, right across to civil society, social issues are key areas that require and would benefit from investment. Supporting youth working in the critical areas of environment and climate change is the way forward with the protection, awareness and sustainability needed in these areas.

A clear example is the many NGOs who are made up of energetic and passionate youth who are in need of support to carry out their missions. Youth are the sector of the populations that have vibrant, innovative entrepreneurs. Supporting the budding SMEs, startup businesses will see the benefits in future economies of nations.

Short film on youth stereotypes made by the UNHATE Foundation for their Unemployee of the Year campaign which supports youth entrepreneurship

Asia has the fastest growing and the largest youth population. The 2.4 ratio growth of Indian sub-continent and the population explosion of China at a rate of 1.2 make Asia the “happening” region. Lessons need to be taken from the past and present.

One of the drivers for the Arab spring was youth unemployment propelled by social upheaval due to lack of opportunities created for youth; similar undercurrents were pointed out by experts for the events that unfolded in London in 2011. On the other hand, benefits of investing in youth development are evident from Germany as compared to other European countries that have failed in this critical aspect. To carry on the German success story, to avoid incidents as the likes of Arab Spring or London, Asia needs to take the lessons on board to invest in youth development.

Look Deeper Campaign from Canada (Source: www.preventingcrime.net)

Look Deeper Campaign from Canada (Source: www.preventingcrime.net)

Opportunities need to be created to avoid brain drain from Asia to other parts of the world and to ensure the talent of Asia returns to their homeland where it is desperately needed. For Asia some areas that are in immediate and great need of investment include mathematics and science. Building ethical values within the youth so that these values are carried and ingrained in the future generations is another area of paramount importance for this region of the world.  Now is the right time for and to take the initiative to invest in youth development – to invest in the future of nations. While this is implemented, processes need to be in place to monitor and scrutinize that the funds reach those deserving and in need – channeled to the grassroots and not wasted by the governments.

What do you think? What are some other ways of engaging youth in key areas?

 

Pacific Project 2012:

The story so far…
Once upon a time, there were 13 awesome Kiwis brought together by the common ambition to do something constructive with their holidays. They were the inaugural UN Youth New Zealand Pacific Project delegation. While most young New Zealanders were spending their Saturday nights party rockin’, these brave individuals were arriving in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Our weary travellers took shelter in a Coconut Palm and the next day, braved the heat by setting voyage upon a Sailaway Cruise to discover the magnificent aquatic life. Some even dared to feed these unique life forms, which the locals spoke of in their native tongue as ‘fish’. After washing back onto shore, our volunteers departed to Pango Village in a very Dr Jones-esque fashion – riding in the back of a truck (something with which they became well accustomed throughout the trip). They were royally welcomed to Pango, where they would be hosted by the wonderful Jabsina Guest House for the next few nights.

Waking early the following day, our eager travellers prepared themselves for an intensive day, where they would transform a concrete water tank into a colourful masterpiece. The sun blazed on our group as they slaved away. They were three walls down when the village school children invaded, hypnotising them with their devilish charm, good looks and seemingly endless energy. Using their superior athletic abilities and dirty duck, duck goose tactics, they outwitted the foreigners. Our group regathered in their home village to strategise, train and rest knowing that the passion in their hearts would lead them to victory the following day.

It didn’t.

They didn’t give up, however and went to a museum so that they may “know thy enemy” and plan. They were ready. Our young warriors ventured to Pango Primary School to participate in a battle that would last the ages. It was a gruelling gauntlet of challenges involving rugby, soccer, volleyball, hair braiding, ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’ and ‘Jump on Mathew’. They were finally triumphant. Basking in the glory of their historical win, they would always remember the valiant and brave children that went down with smiles across their faces.

As the victors, the next day they ventured to the New Zealand High Commission to expand their knowledge of the motherland’s role in Vanuatu development. They were then let loose in the Port Vila markets to purchase mementos of the trip and impress the Ni Vanuatu with their exemplary Bislama skills. They further ventured to Wan Smolbag Theatre where they learnt of the locals’ efforts to educate the next generation of Ni Vanuatu to be strong just like their predecessors. Our delegates then rested their war wounds by the pool, before feasting on pizza and dwelling on the satisfaction of a week of hard and rewarding work.

Having fought their first battle, our delegates are currently traveling in search of new challenges and our oldest known enemy, the Australian. Stay tuned to see how they fare.

Putting the ‘UN’ in Fundraising

There always seem to be a million amazing opportunities out there. And it goes like this: The promotion draws you in. You click on the link, and read the information eagerly. You scroll down, thoughts rushing through your head, knowing that you would be perfect for it, and then you come to the bottom of the page. And see the price. Dear reader, never fear! This post is here to alleviate some of your distress.  There are lots of ways to overcome the price tag that comes with some awesome events, without resorting to robbing the bank. Maybe you’ve been selected for New Zealand Model United Nations this July, and are craving some ideas about how pay the conference fee. Let me tell you, there are plenty of opportunities out there. I’d go as far as to say the only limits to your fundraising success are your creativity and enthusiasm (and the law).

SPONSORS

There are a few potential sponsors which may be your first port-of-call, but I would like to emphasise the need to think outside the square. Some common sources of sponsorship are local Rotary Clubs, politicians, and your schools. There are, however, countless small businesses you could approach in the area where you live. There are also trusts, women’s groups and other community groups which may be interested in supporting you. Take the time to search for them- you might be surprised by how many possibilities there are.

Larger businesses usually have a ‘sponsorship’ or ‘community’ page on their website, so have a read. While they are often for groups or have quite strict requirements, it’s well worth the time if you find one for which you or your delegation are eligible. Also, think about who you know, or who your parents know. Your networks and connections can be a great source of potential sponsorship. Remember: the worse they can say is no.

When drafting your application proposal or preparing for an interview, make sure you’ve informed yourself about the organisation. What is their mission statement and mandate? It is important to describe how what you’re doing corresponds with or furthers their goals. There are lots of good reasons why community groups, businesses or politicians should contribute towards your attendance to a UN Youth event, right? We all know it, but you need to make it clear to them. The focus of your application should be why they should be involved, with a lesser emphasis on why you deserve it.

When approaching your school, for example, make sure all the benefits of your participation are clearly stated. UN Youth events are at their core educational in nature, and in fact the UN Youth website has a whole detailed page full of how our events follow and enrich the New Zealand curriculum. The goal of your proposal is to prove why they should sponsor you.

SPONSORSHIP PROPOSALS AND APPLICATIONS

The first thing I would say is that you get out what you put in. As clichéd as the saying is, if you put little effort into a poorly-written application, it will be obvious to your sponsor.

Write them for each specific potential sponsor. You can use the same general framework and modify it, but don’t send out copy-and-pasted, mass produced documents. Sponsors will be able to tell, and they’ll tend to give you the same time of day. Your aim should be to be as professional as possible. Sponsorship isn’t about you; it’s about the sponsor, so everything you write should be geared towards this end.

Follow it up! Don’t let your applications go without reply. Make the effort to get in contact with whoever you’re approaching. Phone calls are good, and face-to-face interviews are very effective. You can’t do puppy-dog eyes over email!

Be clear about what you are seeking in your proposal. You want to make the sponsorship process as easy as possible for the sponsor. Present a number of different options. For example, if contacting a politician you may first ask for financial aid of some degree, and secondly for support in preparing for the conference or help in seeking other sponsorship opportunities. And remember, you don’t have to ask for financial sponsorship. You can ask for product sponsorship. This is especially relevant to small businesses. You could contact the manager of your local supermarket or mall and get something small from each retailer, and then run a raffle.

You have a lot of skills at your disposal, so be creative! You and your friends could put on a concert with a gold coin donation for the entrance fee, or ask your school to let you run a mufti day or other social event. Bake sales are also quite profitable, and you might be able to run one at morning tea or maybe at your Church, for example. Maybe blue frosting for the cupcakes, in the UN spirit?

 

At the risk of sounding like a cereal ad, you truly do get out what you put in. It’s well worth all the effort, and you’ll be more compelled to make the most of the opportunity because it will be truly your experience. You will learn skills that will be useful for a long time to come, while studying, working or applying for other grants or sponsorship, too.

We’re in hard financial times (just ask Greece), but that doesn’t mean your MUN-life has to be like the Eurozone. Your school, local MP or Rotary Club are good choices to send proposals to, but don’t limit it to the obvious. The more proposals you send out or people you contact, the more likely you’ll get a positive reply. You only need a few people to say yes and you’ll be raising your placard in no time.

NODC: As seen from across the Tasman

The first thing I’ll say is that whatever Aucklanders tried to tell me (“it’s really quite warm”, “it’s SO MUCH WORSE in Wellington” etc. etc.), it was cold.  For a Queensland boy, one might even go so far as to say it was unpleasantly so.

Following on from the report of George Ober, our National Vice-President (Youth Representation), from National Council in Dunedin, Beck, Paddy and I were all extremely excited to be a part of NODC (although seriously guys, it needs a better acronym).  Amelia has already laid out all of the good work that was done over the weekend: the workshops, the planning, the speakers, the dinner in Ponsonby.

We were impressed by a great many things about UN Youth New Zealand.  Probably the single most important lesson that we will take back to UN Youth Australia is that it’s important to stop every once in a while to acknowledge the good work that our volunteers and officeholders do.  Granted, New Zealand is (a bit) smaller than Australia, but the overwhelming feeling was of a supportive family, from NX right down to general members on regional councils.  A big part of that is allowing members to nominate their colleagues for particular awards which reward certain qualities, or dedicated service.  That’s not something we’ve done before, but it will be making an appearance at our next National Council (to be held in Melbourne, which is almost as cold as Auckland).  I should also add that the hospitality of members of UN Youth NZ is unrivalled: particular mention should go to Sally Wu, Auckland President, for inviting me to her torts lecture.*

Half the fun definitely came from Lizzie's jacket. Ignore that I otherwise look unenthused in this photograph!

The other big lesson is how to push forward with the post-brand era.  UN Youth New Zealand’s re-brand wowed us in Australia, spurring our divisions and the national executive to create a coherent national brand for the first time in our history.  A fancy re-brand is however useless if the brand fragments, or doesn’t keep up with our divisions’ needs.  Listening to Chris’ presentation about how UN Youth NZ creates collateral and managing the national design team has given us a model for keeping our brand current and user friendly.

There are of course other lessons, big and small, but I thought I’d mention those two.  Your example of camaraderie and professionalism is one for UN Youth Australia to follow.  In her presentation to NODC, Lizzie Chan said how much UN Youth NZ values its relationship with UN Youth Australia.  We hope that our visit to NODC (and what we plan to steal from it) symbolises that we too place enormous value on the bond with UN Youth NZ.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming  Anton Smith, incoming National President, and as many kiwis as he desires to bring with him, to our National Council in December.**

A final thanks must of course go to the redoubtable Muggeridge sisters.  Their hard work in putting together a remarkable weekend cannot go unacknowledged.  And now it hasn’t.

 

*I understand that there are more than a few law students among your ranks.  As a law student myself, I think it’s cute you guys still have the rule in Rylands v Fletcher.  Having waxed lyrical about how much we love everything you do, this may be something that we can teach you: see http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1994/13.html

**This will be in Brisbane, and thus it will be my turn to return the favour by laughing as you all melt in the summer humidity.