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Meet your Director, Rebecca Ouellette!

Rebecca is a senior Honors student double majoring in Political Science and Chinese. This is her second year with UCMUN, having previously served as the Assistant Director for the Commission on the Status of Women. She has worked as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C. for Representative Jim Himes, and loves all things politics. She has also been learning Chinese since middle school! This past summer, she spent a month in Shanghai at Fudan University studying the language. She aspires to apply her knowledge of Chinese culture, politics, and language in her professional life. Outside of UCMUN, Rebecca is an Assistant Student Manager for the campus’s five cafes, and is a leader for Younglife. When not in class or at work, you can catch her showing everyone pictures of her cat and watching the Food Network. She encourages you to reach out to her with any questions at rebecca.ouellette@uconn.edu.

 

Meet your Topic Specialist, Zoya Ali!

Zoya is a junior majoring in economics and minoring in public policy. This is her first year with both UCMUN and UNDP, having attended MUN conferences as a student in high school while living temporarily in Malaysia. Zoya is interested in higher education and hopes to pursue her senior thesis on education access in impoverished nations. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies with friends and making music videos with her two siblings and two dogs. Please reach out to her at zoya.ali@uconn.edu with any questions.

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Topic A: Chinese Silk Road 2.0 and Job Creation

China’s infamous Silk Road was a major catalyst for development in ancient times, with many trade routes stretching throughout the entirety of Eurasia. Current Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, in 2013, with hopes to emulate the development that the ancient Silk Road created. Once completed, the BRI will affect over 65 percent of the world’s population, generate a combined Gross Domestic Product of over $21 trillion (40 percent of the world’s GDP), and three-quarters of global energy resources. The One Belt One Road (OBOR) has far-reaching implications that are congruent with the UNDP’s initiatives of global sustainable development, with potential to create millions of jobs, connect underprivileged populations to energy and opportunity, and improve the quality of life across Eurasia.

Topic B: Modernization of Rural/Developing Areas

As many countries across the globe continue to industrialize, rural populations are often left behind. In India, for example, the Dharavi slum contains over 60,000 structures with as many as one million people living in an area that is around two-thirds the size of Central Park. Many parts of Africa and the Middle East have rural populations that constitute well over 50 percent of the total population. Major countries and world powers have vast  rural populations - India and China have rural populations of 66 and 43 percent, respectively. In nations that are rapidly industrializing and developing, these rural populations are often left in the dust, resulting in huge inequalities and growing slums that threaten the well-being of the majority of the population. The UNDP is responsible for keeping track of infrastructure, jobs, poverty, and effective development and seeks to provide solutions on a global, national, and local that will address how countries can use development to reach rural populations and promote the committee’s Strategic Development Goals.