UNESCO

 United nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) works to create dialogue among cultures, peoples based on shared values. Some of the main topics include human rights, alleviation of poverty, building of peace and education.

   Topics for discussion:

  • Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites During an Armed Conflict
  • Media and the Handling of Terrorism Related News

Director: Antoine Lemonnier

Born and raised in France, my experience became international when I started university in Lyon for a Dual Bachelor of International Relations and Translation, where I had the opportunity to live in London, New York and explore several cities all around Europe. I discovered the MUN world in 2015 and since then have been addicted to it. I believe in the United Nations and its values, it carries a strong message of solidarity, hope and peace to humanity.
Starting in September, I will study Public Policy and Human Development in Maastricht at the United Nations University and Maastricht University.

Assistant Director: Beáta Bolyová

Beata is a master‘s student at the Law School of the Comenius University in Bratislava and holds two bachelor‘s degrees - in Law and Comparative Religious Studies. Currently, she is working on finishing the Law School and hopes to continue her education in the Netherlands. Previously, she worked for an international law firm and completed multiple internships with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak republic, Public Defender of Rights, Permanent Mission to the International Organisations in Vienna and many volunteering projects, such as working in Serbian refugee camps. She became captivated by the work of the UN after taking part in many UN committees´ sessions and international conferences during her internships (e.g. IAEA, UNCITRAL, COPUOS, The Wassenaar Arrangement, CTBTO). Beata feels passionate about combining public international law with cyber security and technologies, as well as coaching and competing in moot courts.

Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites During an Armed Conflict

The issue of the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict is undeniably a crucial one humanity is facing these days. Due to conflicts taking place in multiple regions in the world, there have been questions relating to the effectiveness of the existing United Nations framework in this regard. Whereas it has been true that these sites are often collaterally damaged and do not themselves constitute targets, the latest examples including that of the Islamic State partly destroying the Syrian heritage of Palmyra, do raise serious concerns. Without access to cultural heritage, we would lose not only a testimony to the past but also a background on which the identity of modern societies is built. With regard to the ongoing conflicts and military groups seeking to gain media attention and to destroy cultural sites which are against their religious agenda, the topic demands the immediate attention of UNESCO. 

Media and the Handling of Terrorism Related News

Around the world we see various actors staging violence against civilian population to foster fear and suspicion of others. Terrorism and the fight against terrorism have become major elements of domestic and international politics, with the media firmly on the front lines, especially when attacks target civilians. The coverage of terrorism and violent extremism in the media seems like urgently needed. The media are critical in providing verifiable information and informed opinion. However, with many terrosit attacks happening recently, it has become clear that the targets are in some circumstances being chosen to gain the attention of the media. Considering for example the attack on the Bataclan in Paris, the attacks in Nice or Manchester - people on holidays or having fun on concerts were targeted. Yet, there is an urge to sensationalise these  matters in news  in order to attract the interest of eyeballs, ears or clicks. It is critical to find balance between reflecting on how the media may be inadvertently contributing to this tense climate, and what steps should be taken to address this.