UGRAD Alumni Debate Turkey-Armenia Rapprochement through Model UN
Turkey-Armenia rapprochement is a long running political controversy, but a group of UGRAD alumni tackled the issue head-on in a two-day Model United Nations summit organized by IREX Armenia, the UN Office in Armenia, and the Armenia Model UN Association.
Several dozen UGRAD alumni and other Yerevan-based university students gathered at the UN Office in Armenia in late October, 2010, to discuss recent developments between Turkey and Armenia and to simulate using UN mechanisms to approach the issue. After receiving visits from notables such as UN Resident Coordinator Dafina Gercheva and US Embassy in Armenia Assistant Public Affairs Officer Sean O'Hara, the participants launched into heated, diplomatic discussions about Turkey-Armenia relations.
By the end of the Model UN summit, participants had passed resolutions proposed by students representing Nigeria, Germany, Lebanon and the United States which reaffirmed the importance of the UN in preventing and resolving the conflict; stressed the importance of dialogue between Turkey and Armenia for the establishing diplomatic relations; and encouraged the creation of a working group to support the normalization process.
As one participant, UGRAD '10 alumnus Edmond Ghulyan, said, “This experience helped me improve my debating and public speaking skills. It was a great opportunity for everyone to develop new professional skills and better understand the United Nations as an organization.”
Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia and Central Asia (Global UGRAD) is administered by IREX and funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State.