Meet your Director, Matthew Macesker!

Matthew is a senior in the Honors Program double majoring in both electrical and computer engineering with a minor in math. He has been involved with UCMUN since he was a freshman, having previously worked as an assistant director and topic specialist for DISEC, and then as the director for CTC. This year, as the assistant director-general and the director for the Security Council, he hopes to ensure that every delegate has a fulfilling experience at the conference. Outside of UCMUN, Matthew does undergraduate research involving system optimization, spends summers interning with top engineering companies, and goes on long painful hikes with the UConn Outing Club. In his free time, he enjoys going kayaking, playing video games, and building a collection of vinyl records that would make any hipster blush. Please feel free to email him at matthew.macesker@uconn.edu with any questions or comments involving the Security Council or UCMUN in general!

 

 

Meet your Topic Specialist, Cameron Cantelmo!

Cameron is a junior political science major in the Honors program and UConn Special Program in Law. He was the secretary general of his high school Model UN club, was the assistant director of DISEC for UCMUN XVIII, and was the topic specialist of ILC for UCMUN XIX. This past spring, Cameron worked in Washington D.C. for the House of Representatives. He hopes to attend law school after he graduates. Additionally, Cameron enjoys debating politics, collecting maps, and listening to folk music. He is very excited for this year’s conference, and hopes that his committee effectively addresses some of the world’s most pressing security threats. Please feel free to contact him at cameron.cantelmo@uconn.edu.


Topic A: International Help in Somalia

Over 25 years have passed since the first United Nations Operation in Somalia, and although the details have changed, the story remains the same: Somalia’s weak central government is fighting rebels, this time in the guise of terrorist organizations al-Shabaab and the Islamic State, to regain territory in its southern provinces. Over 500 people died to an al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu as recently as October of 2017, with hundreds of thousands more displaced and deceased due to the recent conflict (Guled). Though the UN and some individual countries have provided some level of aid to Somalia for the most recent phase of the conflict, much of the combat support comes from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a Security Council-approved peacekeeping operation drawn from neighboring countries. AMISOM has been crucial in helping the fractured Somalian army to recapture territory; however, its UN-approved mandate ends in 2020, and the African Union is already planning for troop withdrawals (“East African”). This move threatens to undo ten years of gains against terrorist groups, but the international community cannot expect the African Union to fight in a never-ending war. The Security Council, learning from the failures of previous peacekeeping missions across Africa, must devise a comprehensive strategy to defeat the terrorist element within Somalia and establish stability for years to come.

Topic B: Instability in the Korean Peninsula

Though tensions still exist between major powers, the United Nations and other international agreements have provided a common playbook by which conflicts can be resolved peacefully. In this era of relative peace, however, when a rogue state such as North Korea openly ignores treaties on human rights and nuclear testing, it poses an existential threat to global stability. Known commonly as a “hermit kingdom,” North Korea is one of the world’s few remaining totalitarian dictatorships and is accused of severe crimes against humanity including excessive torture and forced labor (“Rights Trends”). Recently, international focus on North Korea has been on its repeated nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions. In spite of recent peace efforts, rising tensions exist not only between North Korea and its likely targets, such as South Korea and Japan, but also between perhaps the regime’s most vocal opponent, the United States, and its occasional benefactors, such as China (Jung-a). The Security Council is tasked with preventing further escalation in the region; be it through peaceful negotiation or direct intervention, the decision will have major consequences for the future.