Meet your Director, Justin Rastinejad!

Justin is a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in math. This is his second year in UCMUN and fifth year doing Model UN. He previously was an assistant director for the Joint Crisis Committee and served as a delegate in high school at NHSMUN in DISEC, IAEA, and UNEP. He is also in an outreach club called Engineering Ambassadors where members try to create interest in STEM fields for high school students throughout Connecticut. Outside of school, Justin loves to watch football and basketball; he's a big Patriots and Celtics fan. He also enjoys watching TV shows such as Psych, Brooklyn 99, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld, and has watched every episode of Last Week Tonight at least 3 times. He can be reached anytime at justin.rastinejad@uconn.edu


Meet your Topic Specialist, Luis Cruz!

Luis is a junior political science major at UConn. This is his third year participating in UCMUN. Last year, he was the administrative director for the United Nations Security Council, and he previously served as an assistant director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Luis enjoys going on runs with the UConn Running Club, taking part in Mexican Student Association events, and working at the UConn Financial Aid Center as a Student Processor. On a typical day, you can find Luis pumping iron at the gym, swimming laps at the pool, or watching movies and eating Ted’s pizza at his dorm. He is most passionate about debate in Latin American politics and encourages delegates to email him with any questions about UCMUN at luis.e.2.cruz@uconn.edu.


Topic A: Energy Production in Developing Countries

Energy is the backbone of the modern era. However, according to the UNDP report of 2017, even though over one billion people have escaped the poverty line in the past 26 years, only a few dozen million have been given access to power (“Annual Report”). As many third world countries begin to develop in the upcoming century, we as a global society must determine how this energy should be produced. The global climate is currently at its highest recorded temperatures in human history, as CO2 levels reach record heights (“Global Temperature”). Much of this is due to the burning of fossil fuels, which is a cheap and established practice. It is the safer method for an individual country to attain energy. However, additional CO2 emissions would be catastrophic for the global environment, as they would create a domino effect that releases methane trapped in the arctic tundras and reduces the effectiveness of natural carbon sinks (“Future Boost of Methane”). Therefore, we as a committee must find incentives to make countries more inclined to use renewables such as geothermal, hydropower, solar, or wind power. However, there are drawbacks to these as well, because not every country has the necessary resources to use these processes (“Barriers to Renewable Energy”). Additionally, renewable energies can cost between two for four times more per kilowatt than fossil fuels. There is also the option of nuclear energy, which is cheaper and more efficient. However, it is viewed negatively by the public after the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, and no deep geological repositories have been built to dispose of the dangerous nuclear waste. Regardless, these small hurdles need to be conquered to reduce our carbon footprint. Therefore, we as a committee must decide on what incentives can be used to ensure that developing countries produce renewable energies and not contribute to the growing issue of climate change.

Topic B: Urban Development in Latin American Cities

Urbanization presents many human development challenges that, according to the UN, include: "Environmental concerns…[which make] many cities located in coastal areas or on river banks… vulnerable to natural disasters such as storms, cyclones and floods. Likewise, poor urban infrastructure - such as unreliable power systems, congested roads and poor public transport, inefficient ports and inadequate schools - reduces cities' competitiveness and economic prospects.” As more countries in Latin America seek to industrialize, there is an upward trend in the amount of energy consumed to keep up with the increase in population, and it’s worth discussing the implications this has on our environment and on the living conditions of those cities’ residents. Infrastructure is necessary for the further development of a country. Paved roads allow shorter commuting times, meaning there is more time for work and leisure. Strong and large buildings in cities create a centralized location for businesses to grow, allowing for economic, social, and educational developments. Plumbing and sewer systems promote proper hygiene and improve the health of the location. Efforts have been made to improve the infrastructure, but infrastructure is expensive. An example of this is Brazil’s intercontinental railroad system, which has yet to be finished but has cost the country $1.8 Billion USD over the past 10 years. We as a committee must discuss how to tackle this problem. How can these countries fund such expensive projects? Additionally, which infrastructure projects should be prioritized for the creation of sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities in the developing world?