Everything to know about BSBMUN

By Luiza Boiteux and Huat Hee Chiang

A few weeks ago, between October 18 and 20, EAB hosted its fourth edition of the BSBMUN conference. For the unaware, Model United Nations (MUN for short) is a live United Nations imitation which allows students to learn about diplomacy through UN-style debates which can involve topics ranging from the Myanmarian Sectarian Crisis to the South China Sea Conflict. Annually, EAB hosts an MUN conference denominated BSBMUN (BSB being an abbreviation for “Brasilia”) which counts on the participation of various school across Brasilia where students can debate topics and learn about international relations and public speaking to reach a resolution agreed upon by all.

In the most recent fourth edition of BSBMUN there were eight committees: the Security Council, the ECOSOC, the Commission on the Status of Women, the World Health Organization, the Council of the People’s Commissars (Lenin’s Cabinet) – 1918, the Munich Conference – 1938, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Assembleia Legislativo do Rio de Janeiro – Sessao Extraordinaria de Crise (1997 – 2018).

Security Council

The Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It is tasked with discussing topics that will maintain world peace and has powers to establish peacekeeping operations, international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. In BSBMUN, the Security Council had two topics: Topic A – Drafting strategy in dealing with Islamic militancy in Afghanistan; and Topic B:​ Dealing with Myanmarian sectarian disputes. The chairs for this committee were Gabriel Paiva and Joao Guilherme Borges, both from School of Nations.

ECOSOC

An abbreviation for the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC is also one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It is tasked with the discussion of economic and social issues and the coordination of related work of several other UN agencies. In BSBMUN, ECOSOC had two topics: Topic A – Solving the social and economic repercussions of the Congo wars; and ​Topic B – Analyzing the social and economic ramifications of different prison systems. The chairs for this committee were Andressa Souza from EAB and Mariana Farhat from School of Nations.

Commission on the Status of Women

Abbreviated CSW, the Commission on the Status of Women is “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” In BSBMUN, CSW had two topics: Topic A – Women’s Reproductive Health and Abortion Policies; and ​Topic B: – Addressing the Women’s Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia. The chairs for this committee were Giovanni Tigges from the Swiss School of Curitiba, Julia Quintao Frade from UnB, and Rafael Almeida from Brasilia International School.

World Health Organization

Abbreviated WHO, the World Health Organization is a specialized UN agency on the topic of international public health. It has played a vital role in the eradication of smallpox and currently is focused on both communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV, malaria, ebola, nutrition, food security, and sexual and reproductive health. In BSBMUN, WHO had two topics: Topic A – Women’s Reproductive Health and Abortion Policies; and ​Topic B -​ Addressing the Women’s Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia. The chairs for this committee were Luisa Rasia Montenegro and Isabella Marques from EAB, and Jing Jyng Chang from School of Nations.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Abbreviated UNODC, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime “is one of the top enforcement agencies in the world focusing on illicit drugs and international crime.” It has three main pillars which are field based cooperation, to aid member states in their fight against crime and illicit drugs; analytical research, to increase knowledge of such illicit activities; and normative work, which assists in the implementation of treaties and legislations. In BSBMUN, the UNODC had two topics: Topic A – The Question of Combating the Opioid Crisis in Asia; and ​Topic B -​ The Question of Combating Human Trafficking in Latin and South America. The chairs for this committee were Ryan Sayah and Kenna Reichner from EAB, and Rebecca Salazar from Colegio Presbiteriano Mackenzie.

The Council of the People’s Commissars – 1918

The Council of the People’s Commissars is the name given to Lenin’s Cabinet “during the initial days of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.” It was tasked with making decisions that will have to recover the Soviet government from its “most desperate hour” along with keeping the population fed and its armies fighting. Taking place in 1918, the Council of the People’s Commissars is a committee that does not follow standard BSBMUN procedure. The chairs for this committee were Victor Foresti and Victor Rasia Montenegro from EAB, Luiz Buscariolli from CMB, and Joao Cardoso from St Nicholas School (in Sao Paulo).

The Munich Conference – 1938

After the dictator of Germany annexed Austria and wanted to take Sudenteland from Czechoslovakia as well, the Munich Conference was called where Adolf Hitler met with representatives from France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. An agreement was reached where Hitler could annex Sudenteland but had to promise to not invade any other sovereign territories. In BSBMUN, the Munich Conference had two topics: Topic A – Sudeten Crisis; and ​Topic B – Revisiting the Treaty of Versailles. Taking place in 1938, the Munich Conference is a committee that also does not follow standard BSBMUN procedure. The chairs for this committee were João Vitor Oliveira de Souza, and Laura Uccello and Yasmin Abbas from EAB.

Assembleia Legislativo do Rio de Janeiro – Sessão Extraordinária de Crise (1997 – 2018).

“Assembleia Legislativo do Rio de Janeiro” was the only committee in Portuguese and thus, also does not follow standard BSBMUN procedure. In this committee, delegates will discuss ongoing questions about crime and public security in Rio de Janeiro that has plagued the region since 1997. Since it was enacted as a crisis, the two topics of this committee were only revealed on the day of the debate. The chairs for this committee were Isabel de Ávila Torres from Colégio Presbiteriano Mackenzie, and Artur Coutinho from School of Nations.

 

Image Source: 

“Brasilia Model United Nations.” BSBMUN IV, http://www.bsbmun.com/.

An Afternoon at the Brasilia Zoo

By Ana Cecilia Oliveira

The Brasilia Zoo may have been forgotten by most Brasilia residents—those without small children in the family, at least—or written off as a decrepit childhood remnant, but it is still a vibrant place! Out of curiosity as to how the zoo had changed in the ten years we hadn’t been there, my family decided to visit last Friday (29). What we found is a place full of helpful volunteers and exquisite animals.

One of the first animals we came across was the zoo’s newest resident, a spectacled bear! Nei, an eight-year-old male, arrived in Brasilia on September 9, having come all the way from the Rio Grande do Sul Zoological Park. He is the zoo’s first bear of this species since it opened its doors in 1957.

The spectacled bear gets its name from the distinctive markings around its eyes, which resemble eyeglasses. It is the only bear species native to South America, and there are two zoos in Brazil with breeding pairs of the species. The zoo in Rio Grande do Sul is one of them, and Nei comes from that lineage. His arrival is part of an exchange between the two zoos; in return, our local zoo sent a male maned wolf.

According to a zoo employee I interviewed, the zoo’s next move will be two acquire two adult females in an attempt to start breeding them. The spectacled bear is an endangered species, and there has recently been a movement in South America zoos to create more breeding pairs and protect the animals’ genetic diversity. The same employee said the zoo is negotiating with other zoos in Bolivia for female spectacled bears.

When I visited him, Nei was pacing his 800-square-meter enclosure and occasionally  playing with his water tank. “You’re lucky to catch him awake!” a zoo volunteer told me, “Spectacled bears are nocturnal, and he usually sleeps during the day. This is unusual behavior for him.”

It seemed to be a very auspicious day all-around, since we were also able to see a black panther and Pantanal jaguar playing, two cougars sunbathing, and two very friendly elephants who came over to the edge of the paddock to say hi.

In addition to the animals in enclosures, all sorts of others roam freely around the zoo: small micos navigate the fences between enclosures; dozens of wildcats move in and out of the paddocks. Even capybaras can be found relaxing with the giraffes and walking through the grounds! “They [the capybaras] like the popcorn,” a vendor told me, laughing at the capybara that approached him hopefully, “That’s why they come!”

The Brasilia Zoo also boasts an enclosed butterfly garden, where butterflies of 14 different species flutter freely, often landing on unsuspecting visitors. As I was entering, a man was kept from leaving because there were three butterflies on his baseball cap that had to be removed! Visiting the butterfly garden is also an educative experience, since it is staffed by friendly volunteers who are more than willing to answer questions.

“Most of us are studying biology in college and know a lot about butterflies!” Sarah, a volunteer, told me. She also explained that, contrary to popular belief, butterflies don’t live solely off of nectar from flowers. Many species feed off of decomposing animal carcasses or rotting fruit. This is why, in some cultures, butterflies are a 
symbol of death. According to Sarah, you can also tell the age of a butterfly by looking at its wings: older butterflies have wings that are more worn or even deformed, missing pieces due to wear and collisions.

“Some of these animals were rescued from the wild, but we can never return them because they’ve become too used to humans,” said a volunteer in the deer area. This is the case with one of the zoo’s red deer, who is blind. After spending years in the zoo, these animals lose their fear of humans and the defense mechanisms developed to survive in nature. This is why many came to greet us when we came close to the enclosure’s fence, instead of fleeing and hiding.

I may have been skeptical about the zoo’s entertainment value when I first arrived, but I learned a lot from its knowledgeable volunteers and the animals I was able to see. The atmosphere is enjoyable, since the grounds are full of wildlife, trees, and small lakes. Friendly volunteers and guards are scattered around the entire perimeter, making it an enjoyable and informative experience for people of all ages, not just families with young children!

As a general tip: do not visit the zoo from the hours of late morning to early afternoon. These are very sunny times so that the animals aren’t likely to come out, and also peak times when the zoo is packed with people—especially on weekends! But, if you are new to Brasilia or haven’t visited in a while, it is a worthwhile trip on a cloudier afternoon or early morning!

Image Source: “Elefantes Do Zoo De Brasília.” Santuário De Elefantes, santuariodeelefantes.org.br/elefantes-zoo-de-brasilia/.