By Amira Aref and Tia Mokhtar
This year's conference, HIAMUN`20, officially marks the 10 year anniversary of HIAMUN. Each year the conference is full of many real world issues, questions, and cases that our delegates research and debate. Since this is HIAMUN’s 10th annual conference, we spoke to HIAMUN attendees over the past years, and we hand-picked 10 of the best topics.
Establishing measures to increase efforts towards economic integration amongst Arab nations (Arab League, HIAMUN’19)
The significance of the topic is through how it shows us, as Arabs, just how powerful we could be if Arab nations united. Arabs are unified through the similar cultures, language and heritage, but because of “foreign domination” and “internal divisions” Arabs have become separated. ICJ chair, Ali Kandil, said that economic integration is when “All Arab nations have the same currency, no visa needed to travel between them or to get jobs, and similar monetary and fiscal policies.” He also said that Arab nations becoming one large market, will make it “efficient, since you’ll be able to get jobs easily where the resources are, also when traveling there is no need for visa. No barriers for internal trade, tax rates are the same, similar to the EU basically.”
The question of legality on the possession of marijuana (cannabis) for personal use (General Assembly, HIAMUN’14)
Although this is not the biggest of problems we face in our world today, this debate on whether or not the possession of marijuana should be legalized can go on forever. The potential the topic carried enabled the delegates to pull up strong evidence on both sides, adding to the intensity and liveliness of the debates.
The question of militarizing outer space (General Assembly 1, HIAMUN’18)
When it comes to a topic like this – one that we don’t usually think about or consider - the debates allow us to see the countries’ stances when it comes to this issue and gives the delegates an insight on the goals and motives of these countries. It allows us to think of the motives and goals behind the stance each delegation takes when addressing this issue.
The issue of government transparency and accountability (General Assembly 3, HIAMUN’19)
Nour Abdelaziz, delegate of Saudi Arabia at the time, explained this topic saying, “the topic was about how when the government commits a crime, it has to take accountability for it, and not try to hide it like what happened with the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and also that every single move the government makes or any money it spends, should be known to the public, and that nothing is kept secret.” She also elaborated on why she liked this specific topic saying, “I really enjoyed this topic because it reminded me of our current political state and I could relate to it and actually have a personal connection to the topic while debating, so I was debating it with passion.”
The question of the establishment of a Kurdish nation-state (General Assembly, HIAMUN’17)
As citizens of a country in the Middle East/MENA region, we recognize that even after World War I and all the articles on self-determination, we were not handed freedom on a silver platter, but rather an illusion of “if you want it, you can have it” as it was never actually that easy especially for minorities that had no state to call their own, such as the Kurds and their unrecognized nation-state, Kurdistan.
The issue of gender or racial inequality around the world especially in the Middle Eastern region (ECOSOC, HIAMUN’14)
One can say this is a topic that can be “expected” to be in MUN, and that’s exactly why it is one of HIAMUN’s most important topics. It focuses on a widespread issue that has been recognized for its global significance. For our delegates, this is also an issue that hits close to home as the problems and conflicts caused by this matter are very noticeable in the Middle East region.
The question of cyber surveillance on civilians (General Assembly, HIAMUN’16)
Ameena El Agha, delegate at the time, chose this topic as one of the most memorable for her, stating that, “it’s a real world issue that we might actually be victims of. So it’s important to be aware of its dangers and manifestations.” It is definitely an issue that the delegates realize they face every day, and so having it in HIAMUN gives more insight on the dangers of the matter in question.
The question of banning lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) (General Assembly 1, HIAMUN’19)
For DSG Yahia Beethoven, this topic is important in several ways. The DSG said, when asked about the topic, that it “Shows us how technology could be dangerous or beneficial. It shows how different countries have different objectives, some want to develop, others want to defend, others want to dominate and threaten other weaker countries. It differentiates between fully autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons which is very important. It’s very relevant because artificial intelligence is a growing and trending field in the world. It puts ethics versus efficiency which is very interesting, would we risk the lives of people based on the decision of a machine and some software installed in it? Should we risk hacking? Should we get rid soldiers and make them lose their jobs to have more efficient machines? But at the same time this lessens the risks of spies and treason etc.”
Measures to reduce sectarian violence in the MENA region (SRCMENA, HIAMUN’17)
Mostafa Fetouh, delegate of Israel at the time, said that this topic was unforgettable for him and a topic that he liked a lot. He spoke of how it was “an eye opener” because through his research, he learned about the illegitimacy of the Israeli state despite being on Israel's side in the debate.
The issue of press freedom (Human Rights Council, HIAMUN’14)
Press freedom has been an ongoing issue that appears to be of great significance, as it is well known that freedom of the press is very closely associated with freedom of speech, which many could agree is a right. Not only that, but also the fact that Egypt had been labeled as “deteriorated” when it comes to press freedom (in 2013) makes this an important issue to discuss and put to light.