Meet your Director, Srishti Banerjee!

Srishti Banerjee is a senior at UConn studying political science with a minor in Spanish. She likes to meet new people, which is one of the reasons why she joined Model UN her first year at UConn. Srishti did not participate in Model UN during high school, so she started off as a member of admin for UNESCO. She continued with UNESCO the following year as an assistant director, and last year was a topic specialist for UNICEF. This year she decided she wanted to be a director. Along with Model UN, Srishti is involved with the Human Rights Department on campus and the Global House learning community. During her spring 2018 semester, Srishti studied abroad in Granada, Spain. She loves to travel, play guitar, hike, read, and exercise. If you have questions about anything, please do not hesitate to contact her at


Meet your Topic Specialist, Nicole Ledesma!

Nicole Ledesma will be entering her senior year at UConn in the fall of 2019. This is her fourth year being part of UCMUN; last year she was a topic specialist for UNICEF. This year she is a topic specialist for SOCHUM. Currently she is a psychology major with a minor in Spanish. In her junior year, Nicole studied abroad in Barcelona and was able to travel throughout Europe, which is one of her favorite things to do. Getting involved at UConn is a very important aspect of her life; aside from being part of UCMUN, she is also a Husky Ambassador, so she does the Husky For a Day shadowing programs. In her free time she likes to read, workout, and occasionally watch Netflix. She is extremely excited to serve as a topic specialist for the 2019 conference, and anticipates hearing great debates for this year’s topics. She can be reached at

Topic A: LGBTQ Marriage Rights

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) social movements have begun to spread around the globe. Awareness for the LGBTQ community started centuries ago, but LGBTQ movements began to stir during the early 20th century. Society has been continuously battling between advocacy for the LGBTQ community and repression. On April 1, 2001 the Netherlands signed the first law in the whole world that legalized same-sex marriage ( On June 26, 2015, all bans of same-sex marriage were struck down in the United States ( As recently as December 9, 2017, Australia legalized same-sex marriage and, thus, became the 26th country to legalize same-sex marriage ( All these countries are slowly starting to give rights to the LGBTQ community. It is becoming a well-known global movement, yet there are still 73 countries where homosexuality is illegal, and eight in which it is punishable by death ( The Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs Committee (SOCHUM) needs to work together to discuss what needs to be done to further advance LGBTQ social movements. Everyone is entitled to the same rights and freedoms. This year, delegates of the SOCHUM Committee will discuss the marriage rights of the LGBTQ community - if they are human rights, why marriage rights are banned in some countries, and what can be done to help change those bans/

Topic B: Criminal Justice Reform in Developing Nations

The criminal justice system in any country is the institution that holds every citizen accountable for their actions. The key to enhancing the criminal justice system is to prevent and respond to crimes such as corruption, terrorism, other organized crime, drug trafficking and more, while keeping the needs of vulnerable crime victims in mind. Many countries’ criminal justice systems are weak, which leads to an increase in crime rate and corruption. Countries like Kyrgyzstan face this issue. Their prison system lacks many crucial aspects among infrastructure, like qualified staff and training, separation of offenders and, most of all, space for the offenders ( In nations like Vietnam, sexual assault and domestic violence are taboo issues that are rarely tackled by law enforcement ( These are only two examples of the many countries where there is a lack of a strong criminal justice system. In many ways, developed countries like the United States also have a corrupt criminal justice system. The SOCHUM committee will discuss different reasons why criminal justice systems need to be reformed in developing countries, how they can be reformed, and what kinds of systems work around the world.