Meet your Director, Parth Patel!

Parth is a junior in the honors program pursuing a double major in molecular and cell biology and political science on the premed track. He participated in UCMUN as the director of the WFP last year, as well as participating in his freshman year as an assistant direct for the UNHCR. He had also done Model UN for his four years in high school. Parth is very passionate about directing another committee this year. He is excited to meet and work with all of his delegates. Outside of UCMUN, Parth is involved in many clubs and organizations including CLAS Student Leadership Board, Asha for Education, UConn PIRG, and UConn KDSAP. During his free time, he hangs out with his friends and binge watches The Office on Netflix. He looks forward to seeing some great debate at the conference. Please feel free to contact him with any questions or concerns at


Meet your Topic Specialist, Kayla Almeida!

Kayla Almeida is a senior political science major minoring in urban and community studies. She is hoping to become an immigration or civil rights lawyer, and eventually a professor. This is her second year participating in UCMUN, having served in 2018 as a member of the Press Corps. Kayla is greatly passionate about social justice, volunteering, and photography, and she has been a freelance makeup artist since she was 15. She volunteers through Community Outreach, specifically participating in Mansfield Middle School Tutoring, and is a member of the Distinguished and Motivated Academic Scholars through UConn’s Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and friends, cracking jokes, dancing, learning languages, reading, and watching Atlanta. Kayla can be reached at with any questions.


Topic A: Jammu-Kashmir Refugees and Fight for Independence

The status of refugees in Jammu and Kashmir have been a source of contention between Pakistan, India, and many other foreign powers who have interests in South Asia and the Middle East. The unrest in the region resulting from the Pakistan-India War and partition of land between both nations produced many refugees and displaced people who were a mix of the different ethnic and religious majorities that dominated within Pakistan and India, respectively. While Kashmir is a constant battle ground for power between the two nations, another source of tension comes between the West Punjab Refugees, Refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and Refugees from the Chamb. The Pakistani government and refugees of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir reject India’s claim to the entire region based on the Muslim majority demographic of the people. The Indian government and refugees of India-controlled Kashmir use the Instrument of Accession of 1947 to justify their claim in the region. Opinion in Kashmir is inconclusive, some support either Pakistan or India’s control of the region, while others want complete independence from both nations. The international community has a duty to protect refugees from war and political unrest of the region.

Topic B: Protecting Climate Change Refugees

Climate change refugees are victims of forced migration as a result of natural disasters or climate change outcomes. They must leave their homes because of sudden or gradual changes in their natural environments that lead to dangerous and uninhabitable conditions including water scarcity and crop failures through the destruction of land. Often times climate change can exacerbate an existing political conflict as depleted resources and unrest in a region can prevent aid from reaching affected communities.Although climate change itself has evolved to be a controversial issue, the UNHCR centers its efforts on the plight of refugees as a result of this natural phenomenon. Asia is most vulnerable to natural disasters and retains the largest percentage of the global population, resulting in the highest population of climate change refugees.  The UNHCR has a commitment to protect refugees, stateless people, and internationally displaced people who escape war, persecution, and often forgotten, natural disasters. Although these refugees may not necessarily be fleeing out of their country, they are displaced from their homes and must be assisted while resettling.