The Model UN and UNA-USA
“The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) informs, inspires, and mobilizes Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. UNA-USA’s grassroots membership includes over 125 chapters and more than 12,000 members nationwide who engage in public education and advocacy, promoting strong US-UN relations. As a result of the strategic alliance with the United Nations Foundation, UNA-USA is a leader of the largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world.”
United Nations Foundation
Model United Nation events began at the college level and have spread down to the high school level with over 90,000 students taking part in Model UN conferences in the United States. Dating back to the early 1950s the Model UNs were created to educate American students on the functioning mechanisms of the United Nations and indoctrinate them with the values and goals of global government. Students act out the roles of nations in the General Assembly or a subset of the United Nations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Model UNs were closely linked to United Nations leaders from the very beginning. Stanford University’s first Model UN in 1951 featured the president of the General Assembly as a keynote speaker as students voted against allowing the bombing of Manchurian bases during the Korean War. From the beginning, these events served as a forum for promoting the ‘centrality’ of the United Nations in world affairs.
Model UNs can begin as clubs or classes and then flow into regional and national conferences, with the participation of thousands of delegates. One of the largest, the National High School Model United Nations held at the United Nations headquarters in New York allows students to vote in the General Assembly Hall.
In Washington, DC, the Model UN program also integrates students and faculty into lobbying for a UN agenda that undermines the United States. The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) and the Better World Campaign publish annual briefing materials. The introduction to the Briefing Book for the 112th Congress (Retrieved January 17, 2012) stipulates: “In 2011, the United Nations Association of the USA and the Better World Campaign will build support for U.S. policies that reinforce and renew U.S. engagement in the UN. We will work with the Administration and Congress on a range of issues, outlined below in our 2011 Briefing Book, so that the UN can better address the global challenges of the 21st century.”
The UNA-USA (A Program of the United Nations Foundation) Better World Campaign’s United States and the United Nations in the 112th Congress Briefing Book presents a six point Agenda to promote United Nations policies and American cooperation with UN leadership to further those policies which include: 1) U.S. government on time payment of UN dues; 2) Greater U.S. support for UN peacekeeping operations and a call for financial assistance; 3) The “quick and efficient” deployment of UN peacekeeping missions; 4) U.S. participation in the Human Rights Council; 5) Advancement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and, 6) U.S. Senate passage of key UN agreements, including the Law of the Sea Treaty, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Criminal Court.
The UNA-USA is one of the largest promoters of the Model UN concept and works to integrate it into the U.S. educational system. Through its Global Classrooms project, UNA-USA aims to bring the Model UN concept to a growing number of schools across the country which have lacked the resources to conduct their own Model United Nations. Its goal is to extend the program beyond the better-off schools to eventually incorporate it into every school in America. The Model UN has penetrated the heartland of America with a presence in nearly every state of the Union, including Montana and Texas. Global Classrooms incorporates an entire curriculum which not only teaches students about the United Nations, but also how to think about what the United Nations does.
The purpose of Global Classrooms was stated succinctly by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in an address to Global Classrooms in Los Angeles, “You may be playing a role, but you are also preparing for life. You are acting as global citizens.” This concept of teaching American students to think and act as global citizens by having them model the behaviors and decision making of United Nations officials is at the heart of the Model UN concept.
Like much of the left’s institutional framework UNA-USA is funded by a variety of foundations and corporations which support its global agenda.
Global Classrooms is partly sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation and the United Nations Foundation, which was funded with a one billion dollar grant from Ted Turner, founder of CNN, who continues to serve as its chairman. The board of the UN Foundation, however, consists primarily of foreign personalities, including the Queen of Jordan, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Igor Ivanov, the former Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Turner has in times past also served on the board of directors of UNA-USA and is an avid believer in global government.
UNA-USA began as the American Association for the United Nations. Clark M. Eichelberger, the first executive director of that organization, envisioned the road to peace as deriving from the decline and fall of national sovereignty
As early as 1939, Eichelberger wrote, “The road to peace for the United States and for the rest of the nations is to be found in a highly developed society of nations. Some future generation may live in a world in which national sovereignty counts for much less than it does today. In it there will be new forms of group loyalty and patriotism.”
While Eichelberger is occasionally inaccurately credited with having invented the Model UN concept, his notion of creating new forms of group loyalty and patriotism for a post-national and post-American world is at the heart of the practice of teaching students that national loyalties are arbitrary but international law is an absolute good.
The UNA-USA National Council is presently chaired by former president Jimmy Carter and its latest annual report describes its mission as that of educating the next generation of global citizens. Though the Model UNs are a major focus of its activity, it also lobbies for more funds for the United Nations, combats any efforts at ensuring spending transparency and urges the United States to accede to participation in the International Criminal Court which would subject Americans and their leaders to the international justice system of global government.
Some Model UN events have had student participants act out roles in the International Criminal Court. Such events have included the trials and indictments of American presidents who acted in ways contradictory to ICC statutes but necessary to the defense of the United States or her allies. The actions of President Truman in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the decisions made by President Bush in the pursuit of Islamic terrorists have all led to indictments at Model UN events. By having students examine the contradiction between national laws and international laws, they are asked to choose between national allegiances and international allegiance and decide whether they are citizens of their nation or citizens of the world.
The clash between American legal structures and international ones can be seen in the ICC as well as in proposals to have the United States adopt strictures proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on outlawing the defamation of Islam or the adoption of various international conventions on hate crimes or arms control, which would violate certain amendments in the Bill of Rights.
The integration of transnational legal structures into American schools and colleges undermines student understandings of the absolute nature of the Bill of Rights, as their introduction to the UN problem solving model sidelines the moral primacy of American self-defense in favor of the United Nations’ preferred mode of multilateralism.
The UNA-USA is affiliated with the World Federation of United Nations Associations and participates in its Global Citizen campaign. UNA-USA’s Council of Organizations, which includes such groups as the AFL-CIO, the American Society for International Law, Amnesty International and the Sierra Club, mobilizes members through these organizations to promote United Nations policies and American cooperation with UN leadership.
While UNA-USA promotes transnational world government as the solution, its curriculums fail to reflect the real world limitations of multilateral problem solving. A number of the older Model UN conferences and clubs began as Model League of Nations conferences and clubs. Even UNA-USA had its roots in the older League of Nations Association, also headed by Clark M. Eichelberger.
The failure of the League of Nations cost the lives of millions and nearly brought on the end of a Europe composed of free nations. Unfortunately the failure of global government advocates to draw the appropriate lessons on the limits of multilateralism is embedded in world government advocacy groups such as UNA-USA, which do not recognize the role played by American exceptionalism in the Second World War and the post-war period in bailing out the multilateral order.
Senator Barack Obama, candidate for president and presumptive Democratic Party nominee, addressed a massive youth audience in Berlin, Germany on July 24, 2008, equating being an American with being “a fellow citizen of the world.”
The Model UN’s and the Global Classrooms’ curriculum emphasize the limits of unilateralism and national exceptionalism, while promoting the power of multilateralism. This informational window single-mindedly promotes a narrow agenda, rather than providing a larger perspective to allow students to fairly weigh and balance the advantages of unilateralism and multilateralism. While UNA-USA claims to be non-partisan, its advocacy for United Nations based global institutions raises the question of whether a partisan advocate of a post-American world order should be able to embed its curriculum and worldview directly into American schools and feed its ideology into the developing minds of the next generation of American leaders and American public opinion.
- Model American Legislatures: Promote student participation in model United States legislative bodies, such as Model Congress events, over Model UN events, as being more relevant and useful to the exercise of their civic responsibilities as American citizens.
- End Global Citizenship Curriculums: Reject the use of partisan educational materials that promote global government: School curriculums should be based on a model of American national citizenship, rather than global citizenship which contradicts the United States Oath of Allegiance.
- End State Department Funding for Model UN Events: State Department funding for educational events that promote a post-American world order is incompatible with American national interests and values.
- Restore Fact Based Political Science Education: The topics of unilateralism and multilateralism should be addressed from a fact based approach that takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This is vital for allowing students to understand the problem solving limitations of any given system and providing them with the tools to engage in self-guided critical thinking.
- Reaffirm the Educational Importance of American Civil Liberties: Students should be made aware of the primacy of the Bill of Rights over any international convention and the value of negative rights over positive rights. They should be provided with a real world comparison of the level of freedoms enjoyed by Americans and those enjoyed by the majority of signatory countries to international human rights conventions.
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