Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reflections from my Model U.N. Conference

The reason I was not in class on Thursday was because I had a model u.n. conference in Washington D.C. hosted by Georgetown University this weekend. At the conference I was in a simulation of the European Council, which after being a part of it, has very very ineffective rules of procedure. All members have veto power, and when forming a conclusion (resolution) they can only be suggestions. However, it just goes to show how complex diplomacy is inside the EU. Though it may be ineffective in our view, it puts all members on an equal playing field and generates support for a resolution. This way, all member states are happy and can rally around a decision if there needs to be.

The one topic in my committee was religious pluralism in Europe. The chair of my committee brought in Merve Kavakci. Ms. Kavakci was elected to the Turkish parliament in 2002 from the Virtue Party. She refused to take off her headscarf in parliament, thus breaking Turkey's strong secularist laws, and had her party outlawed. Also in the virtue party was current PM Erdoğan and President Gul. She worked closely with them too.

This was awesome. Not only has someone so close to the current leaders gave a speech to my committee, but I got to ask a real Islamist a question which deals with my research paper. I asked the question " Now that Prime Minister Erdoğan and his AKP have been in power a few years and achieved numerous successes, how do you think the new centre-right party is affecting Turkey and relations with the EU?"

She responds that  she is very proud of the job they're doing. She also said that  it is helping Europe see the other face of Turkish society, the Islamic side. This is good for democracy because this is the first time the people have actually expressed their view in a form of truly popular government. She also said that the EU has reservations about Turkey because they are worried about its loyalty to the union.

Some things to think about, but I thought it was great coming from someone involved.

I also missed a ton of new this weekend. North Korea and South Korea fighting, bombs from Yemen, and elections right around the corner, it must have been busy for the news agencies.

Happy Halloween too

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