Meet your Director, Ariba Memon!

Ariba is a junior majoring in physiology and neurobiology with a minor in political science. She has been involved in Model UN since high school as both a delegate and a director. This is her third year working on the staff of UCMUN. After serving as an assistant director for the UN Security Council her freshman year and director of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees her sophomore year, Ariba is very excited to be back in the Security Council! Besides UCMUN, she enjoys being on the executive board of the Pakistani Community at UConn and doing research in a psychology lab. In her spare time, Ariba enjoys sitting outside of the Beanery and drinking lots of coffee. She is looking forward to meeting all of the delegates and encourages them to contact her with questions at



Meet your Topic Specialist, Harry Zehner!

Harry is a junior majoring in political science and minoring in environmental policy and economics. He currently works for an environmental advocacy group and plans on pursuing a career in environmental policy. In his free time, Harry is the Opinion Editor at The Daily Campus, runs a tutoring club for local middle school children, is an Assistant Editor for the Undergraduate Political Review, and plays intramural soccer. Harry is tall, redheaded and ready to inform UNSC on their topics at the 2019 UConn Model UN Conference!


Topic A: Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar

Following independence from Great Britain in 1948, internal conflicts among ethnic and racial groups rose in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic minority, were formally denied citizenship by the newly formed nation as they were considered illegal immigrants from Great Britain’s rule, and denied a previously promised autonomous state. As a result of this formalized statelessness since 1982 and discriminatory regulations by the Myanmar government, Rohingya people have struggled to access basic rights including health care, education, employment, and most importantly, the freedom to worship. As a result, the crisis in Myanmar has turned into a genocide. Since the last exodus in August 2017, almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh in fear of ethnic and religious persecution. Militants have destroyed villages in the Rakhine State, committed human rights violations, and forced this mass migration of refugees. Although recently the Myanmar government has been condemned for its acts of genocide by the international community and the UN Security Council has intervened, no sanctions have been imposed.

Topic B: The Polar Silk Road

As a result of climate change reducing the amount of ice in the arctic, the race to extend each nation’s “Polar Silk Road” has begun. The Northern Sea Route, links the Atlantic and Pacific regions along the Russian coast and is beneficial in connecting Europe, Asia and North America. A 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea grants each arctic state–Canada, Denmar, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US–a restricted zone from their coastline. However, increased ambitions to extend that zone is causing tensions(Jessica Brown). Early in 2018, China announced its extension of the Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure for new shipping lanes in the arctic to connect China to Europe and the Middle East(China Unveils Vision). This has raised concern over new military deployment in the region, and for China’s interest in newly available sources of oil, gas and mineral resources. On the other hand, there is concern over the rights of indigenous people in the Arctic and their desire to conserve the natural environment. Many of these nations have also taken strides towards developing and utilizing The Northern Sea Route for their own economic development. The Security Council must act promptly to prevent tensions from rising between these nations and determine new regulations for this newly accessible route.