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


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


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.