IRAQ: A lesson about IR

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Blog, Current Events, Lessons, ModelUN, MUN Debate Topics | Comments Off on IRAQ: A lesson about IR

IRAQ: A lesson about IR

Hello boys and girls. As a former teacher, I would occasionally witness a news story so horrific and perplexing that I would cancel the day’s lesson plans, and instead, have a conversation about the news. Today is such a day that I have to stop working and take to the blog. As an author of MUN-E and a former advisor of a student club dedicated to teaching political compromise, A.K.A. DIPLOMACY, under the auspice of Model UN, the news of the day beseeches me to discuss the quagmire in Iraq. As a United States citizen, I must also speak up to denounce the continuing rhythm of our foreign intervention that causes so much destruction. Essentially, if you are practicing Model UN and hoping to pursue a career within the International Relations umbrella, the recent series of events are a beautiful lesson of what NOT to do with your foreign policy. The main article that I will citing in this discussion is found here. It is loaded with facts that you may have never been taught. For example: …it’s quite likely that Iraq’s border were specifically drawn to cut across ethnic boundaries and thereby assure a failed state, because Britain had learned through history that failed states were the easiest to control. This was their preferred MO in India and numerous other colonies, and by 1916 it was a more or less perfected tool of statecraft. I don’t want to jump too far ahead too soon, but I am citing this factual passage to invoke your thoughts about the future of our world and the role of a major world power like any P5 country. In school, especially grades K-12, we learn that wars happen due to evil personalities and corrupt governments who take advantage of people… and that “peacekeepers” like the most “excellent” United States intervene and set these evil leaders straight. I don’t want to discuss the truth of this lesson yet, instead I want to share some of the foreign policy activities of P5 countries interfering in the Middle East in the past year. Assad’s Syria, as an ally of Russia and the sovereign controller of land that is ideal for a network of transcontinental oil and gas pipelines, is no friend of the UK or the United States, aka “The West”. The West, along with Saudi Arabia, begins sending weapons to the “Syrian rebels”, which are actually a faction under the Al Qaeda umbrella, a well-known terrorist organization that has been supported by Saudi Arabia since the 80’s (notice how the mainstream news never tells us that “the US is paying for weapons to be given to the same terrorist organization who claims responsibility for 9/11″… but instead they say that “we’re supporting the Syrian Rebels”). Exactly one year ago, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tells us, “We have stepped up our assistance, but I cannot inventory for you all the elements of that assistance. We have provided and will continue to provide substantial assistance to the Syrian opposition, as well as the Supreme Military Council.” After a false flag chemical attack and under the...

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What’s your SIQ?

Posted by on Apr 13, 2014 in Blog, Lessons, ModelUN, MUN, MUN-E, Social Skills | Comments Off on What’s your SIQ?

What’s your SIQ?

If you haven’t heard of “Social Intelligence”, you’re behind the ball… and a few good reads or youtube videos about it is a must! On the @StanfordBiz twitter feed, you can scroll through the topics… and you’ll notice how many are related to personal confidence, public speaking, emotional control, reflection, etc. This is STANFORD BUSINESS SCHOOL! There are actually less articles about the economic details of world markets (e.g. globalization of the raw materials market, the transpacific parternship, and the Keystone pipeline) than articles about Social Intelligence topics! Tweets by @StanfordBiz So what’s your SIQ? It’s your social intelligence quotient. It’s like an IQ for social skills. Harvard offers you a small online quiz that you can check out here all about reading the emotions through the eyes. Another business mogul created a social intelligence quiz for you to rate yourself here. Here is another emotional intelligence test, which is closely related to Social Intelligence. Why is this skill important? Well, you must establish a “connection” with someone if you’re ever going to find out how they really feel about a topic or their opinion about a situation. The word describing this “connection” is RAPPORT. If you have the goal of forming a bloc or establishing an alliance, well then you NEED rapport (Here’s an article on Rapport if you’ve never heard of it. Or you can get our book since we teach you how to establish and maintain rapport!). If you want to change someone’s mind or influence their opinion, you’ll never succeed without rapport. And you’ll never know that you’re in rapport if you don’t know anything about social intelligence. We call it MUN-E (pronounced MONEY), because it’s the most valuable skill we can teach....

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ANTI-P5 Policy & Debate

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Blog, Lessons, ModelUN, MUN, MUN Debate Topics, MUN-E, Uncategorized | Comments Off on ANTI-P5 Policy & Debate

ANTI-P5 Policy & Debate

Gearing up for the BIG conferences? HMUN? ILMUNC? NAIMUN!!!? If you didn’t get a P5 country, do you feel like you’re already losing? Well, in today’s world of instant information and detailed historical events, the P5 countries may have a weaker position than ever before. YOU have to be the one to call out these major players on their historical failures! It’s the MODEL UN, not the REAL UN, so there are no real consequences to calling the Russians liars, or calling the Americans arrogant. We have seen small countries like Bolivia completely upend the position of the United States by citing the corporate privatization schemes the Americans push in small countries around the world (Bolivia almost had its entire Water Supply privatized at the end of 1990’s). Sometimes you have to be clever about your position. You have to use emotion and diplomatic “outrage” at the policies of the big boys in order to cement your benevolent resolutions! Remember, in the UN, there are only a handful of “big guns” while there are more than 100 small nations who would rather support a non-P5 with a strong voice, instead of the typical powerhouse high schools who always get China or Russia. You have to be clever at how your argue against the powerful. We’re going to run down a spin of the P5 (UK, US, RF, China, & France) and show you some gaps that can be exploited for political gain! These are useful in both crisis and large committee… and they’ve been proven to work. Let’s start with the original P1, the British! The United Kingdom Why did we call the U.K. the original P1? Well, one look at this map should tell you why. The Royalty of Great Britain have reigned over most of the world. In all countries that are now “independent,” the UK still maintains corporate economic power as well as military power through key investments and allied military bases. Just because these territories are no longer called “territories” does not imply that they are sovereign, independent states. For example, the borders that were drawn around Iraq by the British after World War I were known to house mutually despondent cultural groups that still struggle against one another today. Were new borders drawn and economic policies reformed, the place may find peace… but why would any superpower want peace in a faraway land? Well, they don’t. Main Lesson of this article: Superpowers maintain power by “allowing” instability to be maintained in lesser nations. This is how the P5 operate under the mandate of the oligarchs that manage their welfare. P5 economies and their militaries are too powerful to be usurped by nationalist intentions of smaller, unstable countries. After World War 2, all of the countries between East Germany and the Ukraine became a border of chaos between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. This was done ON PURPOSE so that neither side (UK/US vs. Russia) could gain an inch. The political war in this region is still going on, the most notable recent event is the Ukrainian anti-government protests, arguments over being economically...

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MUN-E Cheat Sheet: 2012-2013

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Blog, Current Events, Lessons, ModelUN, Updates | Comments Off on MUN-E Cheat Sheet: 2012-2013

MUN-E Cheat Sheet: 2012-2013

We at Model UN Education and The MUNIVERSITY are happy to FINALLY bring you what will become our “annual” international news pre-season summary. Have you ever heard of Fantasy Football or even an All-Star game in professional sports? Well, this is our all-star list of newsworthy world events starting from the near end of your previous school year. We hope to give you a quick overview of the summary of these events, linking each one to a series of news articles. We will undeniably confess that we have our own bias as EVERY organization does. As educators, we seek to give a bird’s eye view of each event on a large timescale. As a lesson, you should NEVER believe what you read in a single article, especially when it comes to anything you read on the INTERNET. The sooner you begin to use your ability to CURATE YOUR RESEARCH, the more embarrassment you will avoid in the future. Some opposing or allied delegates will lose trust in you immediately if you begin quoting a source that is completely wrong, for example, when John Kerry says the USA has a very strict line about chemical weapons, you cannot quote him and assume that we have never sold chemical weapons to middle eastern countries. The mountain of historical evidence is against you.  We also do not want you to think that we are historians. We have no intention of giving a complete deconstruction of ANY event. We may actually phrase our bias in such a way that you, as a Model UN delegate, can “spin” your position the way we will undoubtedly spin ours. But you will have to rephrase your research through the perspective of your respective country or the person that you represent in your respective committee. For example, don’t use our arguments about Barack Obama’s failure to work with Congress if you are a representative of the United States. Our review will begin in the summer, post-Putin election. Note that the links we are attaching are from a site that simply aggregated a series of news articles so that you may do your own investigation. We wanted to thank the creators of the website endgame.com but there is no information through which we can thank them. So give them some clicks and do your proper diligence of RESEARCH: Spain Accepts 100 Billion Euro Bailout Deal. (06-08-2012, 40 Records) Financial issues are becoming the hallmark of every political decision in the world. If you are going to have any power as a diplomat, you are going to have to become financially savvy. In the case of the European Union, you need to focus on the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BOE). The Federal Reserve of the USA (the Fed) is a replica of the BOE and the ECB is a modern, overextended replica of the Fed. European countries that rely on tourism much less than Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain (unfavorably called the PIGS), have much more stable economies. Greece’s troubles should be relatively familiar to you, and Italy, Spain, and Portugal are experiencing very similar troubles...

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Model UN Preparation

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Blog, Lessons, ModelUN, MUN, MUN Debate Topics, MUN-E | Comments Off on Model UN Preparation

Model UN Preparation

We’re going to paste some instructions for those of you preparing your research for a present day committees (as opposed to a historical committee) at a Model UN Conference. This is just a preview of the details we give in our book! [BuyBookCenter] Remember, follow these steps as we’ve laid them out. Whenever questions come up in your own research, you must find the answers to those questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow delegates or a social studies teacher in your school. Most people get great satisfaction from teaching you something you want to learn. RESEARCH STEPS FOR PRESENT-DAYCOMMITTEES Step 0 (we call it ‘Zero’ because it should be obvious) Read the background guide… duh. Research everything in the background guide that you don’t know about. Start a small journal and write about how you feel about the details of this topic thus far. If you can establish an emotional connection to this content, you’ll retain it much better. Step 1 One or two months ahead of time, you need current information. Get a good magazine: The Economist. One comes out every week. Get it every week. Read at least a quarter of the whole magazine. A quarter is not much… but you’ll quickly understand why I told you to read this magazine once you get started. Step 2 Go to the CIA factbook. Read everything about your country and your country’s neighbors. Who are your allies? Who does your country have a poor relationship with? If you are a person, go to wikipedia and start there (if you want REAL references from wikipedia about a particular subject, pay attention to the little numbers that look like this “[9]”… click on them for the actual reference and see if you can find that reference on the internet). Then ask yourself the same questions about allies and enemies. TAKE NOTES as you do this stuff! Step 3 Based on the topic of committee, the current world’s political pulse, and the major players in your community, choose a motivation and go check out the next appendix for help with the position paper. Write a draft of your position paper EARLY. You don’t need to have the final draft done for a while… but you should still do it EARLY. When any project is nearly done, it becomes natural to keep your eyes open for more ideas! If you want proof of this, read ahead in one of your classes. In a few days, you’ll notice that you understand the teacher much better than you did before. Step 4 Concentrate on the current issues in the world that directly relate to your country’s positions and “supposed” intentions. Start thinking about your potential arguments, compromises, strategies, and goals. Do it in that order. Write them down. Step 5 Go find facts to prove your arguments. Go back to chapter 5 in our book and remind yourself of those concepts about directing your arguments properly. Now with a friend explain the important issues in your committee, your delegation’s place in it, and then have some practice arguments. Step 6 (If you’re ready for Expert Level Research) Go to the United Nations website and search for recent resolutions passed in your exact committee… or research trade and military agreements between your nation,...

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No more Powerpoint! Visualize!!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Blog, Current Events, Lessons, Social Skills | Comments Off on No more Powerpoint! Visualize!!

No more Powerpoint! Visualize!!

In today’s world, we’ve got lots of information to give our audience… whether it’s in school, business, science, or a crisis. But with so much information and only so little time to talk, how can we transmit this wealth of data to our audience? Can we do it better? Faster? And another question that you might not think of: Can we make our information pretty?? More easy on the eye? On Wednesday I went to see the world’s foremost expert on visualizing data. His name is Edward Tufte, he teaches at Yale, and he’s one of the best known statistical experts on the planet. Some might even say that he’s one of the most socially intelligent people on the planet. He is an incredible teacher who has been contracted to teach audiences complex ideas, design instructional content, and create beautiful infographics. Tufte’s seminar was six hours long. If there’s one point that I would take away from the talk, it was the need to give as much information to your audience with the highest resolution in the most efficient manner possible. In other words, ditch the powerpoint. (yes, even the CEO of Microsoft thinks the format has already become archaic) Simple instructions and data should be exactly that… SIMPLE. For example, here’s a beautiful little graphic that shows a baseball player how to pitch! They use words and sentences instead of bullet points (contrasting with powerpoint). The eye is naturally drawn to the top left of a page. It usually scans downward first, then to the right of the page. Websites are designed this way, tables of contents are designed this way, and you should design your graphics to do this, too. Tufte constantly came back to great webpages that have so much accessible content in such a small space… for example, Google News, National Weather Service, and even ESPN.com’s recap of games like the SuperBowl and World Series and how baseball box scores may be one of the greatest data tables ever created. Click on those pages and take a look at the huge amount of data that comfortably hits your eyes. It’s like they’ve predicted every question you could have thought of. Have a talk to give to an audience? When you have a powerpoint, some people in the room may really care about what’s on slide 7, and others may be looking forward to slide 21. How long are you going to make them wait to get to that information? Here’s Tufte’s suggestion: Design a FLAT surface (not a decked, hierarchical one like powerpoint) and put all of the information for your powerpoint on that piece of paper with nice, informative, simple graphics… feature the graphs and images that are important and use SENTENCES to describe them, NOT Bullet points. Print a copy of that piece of paper for everyone in your audience. When your presentation begins, give them that piece of large paper so that THEY CAN CHOOSE what they think is the most important, interesting part of your presentation. Give them about 8 minutes to read through your work. Now take the two or...

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