“The 4th SGH Tamagawa Gakuen Model United Nations Conference”, organized and operated by the students of Tamagawa Gakuen, was held.
This year, 129 students from 17 different schools from the Kanto and Kansai gathered. Over the two days, they had a hot debate over “food security in a cooling climate”.
A training session was held in the morning of the first day and a meeting session was held in the afternoon of the first day and the next day.
At the training session, two lecturers were invited, and students received lectures on the topic of “food security” and they deepened their understanding of the issue.
Students grasped information that offered a realistic underpinning for future discussions from the stories of two people who are working on world food issues.
The first speaker was Mbuli Charles Boliko, President of the FAO Japan Office.
He strongly spoke about worldwide problems threatening food safety and introduced the activities of the FAO which is a United Nations agency. He spoke on the influence of population increases and changes in dietary habits of emerging countries, food loss and waste problems in developed countries, and other things.
“I would like to ask everyone for just one thing. Please be aware of eliminating food loss and waste. Please call on your friends and classmates and practice what you learned here today.”
The students listened to the words of Mr. Mbuli very seriously.
The next lecture was by Mr. Fumihiro Kabuta, a professor at the Graduate School of Policy Studies, who specialized mainly in agricultural economics.
“What I want to tell you today is not ‘a correct answer’ or ‘an answer’ but a viewpoint on how to think about the problem.”
He introduced the “food security issue” being discussed in the world from various perspectives.
He explained the differences in views on food supply and demand, food importing countries’ food supply and demand issues, reasons why food reserves are not implemented as policies, and different perspectives on bioenergy, etc. “There is no one right answer and choices will change depending on the position and circumstances. I want you to acquire the ability to look at the problems from many perspectives.”
“Do you have any questions?” he asked.
In the question-and-answer session after the lecture, the hands of the students all come up together.
“What can individuals do to eliminate food loss and disposal problems?” “Why is obesity increasing in all countries, despite the increasing number of hungry people?”
The lecturer ‘s answers were enthusiastic, and it the session continued for 10 minutes over the scheduled time. The training session ended with a big round of applause.
From the afternoon, the session with students acting as diplomats for each country started.
The Model United Nations Conference was divided into venue A and venue B.
The agenda was “Countermeasures to Global Cooling – Food Security”. They worked on a recent theme that has not been fully discussed by international organizations yet. The discussion and negotiations were based on two points; “issues for increased production of food and promotion of small scale agriculture” and “emergency situations and a framework for food crisis”. They aimed to adopt a unanimous position based on the position of each country.
In venue A, the members were not accustomed to the Model United Nations style and they proceed with commentary in Japanese.
After the introduction of members who were involved in the conference and the opening declaration by the chairperson, the ambassador from each country responded to the question of “Is there a country who wants to speak?” After this the conference started.
Various rules and terms are used in the conference and it proceeds in the same way as actual UN conferences, Examples are “motivation point” which students can request a proposal or motion following the “speech!”, a “motion” expresses its own policy and opinion, “moderated caucus” in which students propose discussions to participating countries, “unmodeled caucus” where students negotiate while walking around freely, and passing around memos for individual negotiations.
“Countries involved in the policy of the United States, please gather here!”
“If any country is interested in the policy of Russia, gather here!”
“Countries who agree on Israel’s proposal, come over here!”
As soon as the “unmoderated caucus” began, opinions were raised and arguments and interests of each country were expressed and opinions were summarized. In a group where many countries gathered, the country that led the remarks became the focus on the discussion.
“I think it would be better to make more effective use of coal.” “Countries with many exports should gather and take the role of stabilizing prices of grains and managing the market.”
There was also a group who talked with a smaller number of people. They worked to develop opinions and policies according to their own interests.
The “unmoderated caucus” was held twice a day and was extended for 10 minutes as discussion continued.
The meeting on the first day ended at this point, but the ambassadors of each country started talking again in order to create working paper (WP) which has to be submitted by 7:30 in the next day morning.
The second day started with the students gathering at the venue and resuming the session with the chairman’s declaration and after the roll call confirming attendance in the morning.
Working papers (WP) that described the policies so far were distributed and the debate was expanded further in each country and each group.
At venue B where students who have previously experienced Model United Nations gathered, there was an active exchange of opinions. Students tried to find common purpose while fighting conflicting opinions with their own country’s positions and claims. The enthusiasm in the venue increased steadily.
Both venue A and B, extended the time for discussion and submitted a bill with amendments at the last minute. At last, as a result of a unanimous vote, they led to the adoption of a resolution.
At the closing ceremony, the MVP from each venue was announced and they were congratulated by all the participants. In addition there were slides that showed the previous two days that the executive committee made. This let the students look back on each of their initiatives.
To serve as an ambassadors at this conference, the students prepared a lot. They did things such as writing an agenda, researching about the country they are responsible for and studying about the situations in the world. They did not only expand their perspectives but also their comprehensive knowledge and experience. They gained skills in thinking about purpose, communication and cooperation.
Mbuli Charles Boliko
He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and acquired bachelor in psychology and masters in industrial psychology at Kisangani University.
After, he taught for three years at Kinshasa’s commercial university. He came to Japan in 1990. He received his doctorate in international development from Nagoya University Graduate School of International Development. Since 1997 he worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). From 1998 he worked at NY Liaison Office, and from 2003 he was secretary general at the Rome headquarters. He was chief for employment and assignment of personnel department from 2009. Since 2013 he worked as the first foreign director of FAO Japan Liaison Office.
As a visiting professor at the Catholic University of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he provides lectures on personnel management and administration and development.
He is a professor of the Graduate School of Policy Studies University. Graduated from The University of Tokyo, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture. He joined the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and worked as a secretary at the ministry of agriculture and summary chief of the International Economics Affairs Division. In 1996, he studied in the UK and acquired masters of Agricultural Economics from Reading University, and masters of Resource and Environmental Economics from UCL University of London.
He served in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as Overseas Technical Cooperation Officer in the International Division for Cooperation Planning, Planning Officer in the Minister’s Secretariat Planning Office, assistant to the General Food Bureau Food Planning Division, and Chief Researcher at Policy Research Institute. He was also First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Italy, He served as a part-time lecturer at the University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba, and has been in his current position since 2015.