Meet your Director, Cayleigh O'Connell!

Cayleigh is a sophomore political Science and French double major at UConn. Because she did not have an opportunity to be a part of Model UN when she was in high school, she was excited to find out that UConn hosts a conference. This is her second year participating in UCMUN, having been an assistant director for UNICEF last year. Outside of UCMUN, Cayleigh enjoys playing guitar, reading, watching television series, snowboarding in the winter, hiking in summer and fall, and spending time with friends. She can not wait for the conference to commence and to meet the delegates. She encourages you to contact her with any questions at cayleigh.o'


Meet your Topic Specialist, Srishti Banerjee!

Srishti is junior at UConn studying Political Science with a minor in Spanish. Just last semester she added her Spanish minor because she studied abroad in Granada, Spain. Her passion is to travel (during her semester abroad she visited 11 countries), play her guitar, hike, read, and exercise. Srishti likes to meet new people which is one of the reasons why she joined UCMUN. She has been a part of the UCMUN community for three years now. Her first year in UCMUN she was on the UNESCO committee, and for the other two years she has been with UNICEF. This year she is the Topic Specialist. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact her at


Topic A: Children’s Access to Proper Health Care

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)  has worked since 1946 to help children receive health care that they deserve but do not receive due to conditions out of their control. There was estimated to be 216 million reported cases of malaria in 2016, resulting in 440,000 deaths, 70 percent of these were children. Also in 2016, pneumonia was one of the leading killers of children under five years old with diarrhoeal disease following closely behind. All of these are easily treatable diseases for children in developed countries ; however, in countries like sub-Saharan Africa they go untreated, and eventually become fatal to vulnerable children. There are countless illnesses and diseases that can be treated with proper health care, but due to the lack of available health care they are some of the highest causes of death in young children. UNICEF is committed to administering health care to children and expectant mothers in countries that do not provide their citizens proper health care, hoping to reduce to reduce high death rates in children. UNICEF achieves this mission by working  with governmental and non-governmental organizations to train and send volunteers into areas that are in need, as well as raise awareness for the situations that are occurring. UNICEF’s goal is to provide all children with healthcare through community outreach and governmental programs with the intent to create a healthier future for children.

Topic B: Children Soldiers in Northern Africa and the Middle East

Child soldiers are nothing new in the history of warfare, but their use in armed conflicts around the world became more prevalent in the latter half of the 20th century. To counter this malicious exploitation, the usage of children for military purposes was banned by the United Nations on 25th August 1999 under the Security Council Resolution 1261. At the time it was signed, there were thought to be as many as many as 300,000 children under the age of seven serving as guerillas, mercenaries and armed militias in several countries worldwide. Among these were Sudan, Angola, Sri Lanka, Yeman, Afghanistan, and Iran. These examples show just how widespread the problem was, and how the issue of child soldiers was not contained to one geographical region in the world. Today thousands of children are still being forced to assist militant groups and terrorist organizations, such as Daesh, Boko Haram, Lord’s Resistance Army in the Middle East and Northern Africa. These organizations instill fear, and in some cases chemical dependency, to make the children fight for them. UNICEF has teamed up with other UN organizations and states to fight toward ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers.