Regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Students defend Edward Snowden

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Students of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kolkata Kendra (BVB), hosted a model United Nations meet at their campus recently. Titled BhavMUN ’13, the event drew participants from 15 schools across the city and gave us an opportunity to discuss burning international issues.

The event began with me, the secretary-general, and under-secretary general Anubhav Khamroi addressing the delegates. Thereafter, the meetings were divided into three sections that were held simultaneously over three days. The first was United Nations Security Council that discussed the complex scenario of the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 and its aftermath but faced serious opposition from students representing the Anglo-French-Israeli coalition.

The second section was the United Nations General Assembly, chaired by BVB students Anushka Ghosh and Arkaprabha Gun. The topic for discussion here was national security versus the right to privacy. Students spoke for and against Edward Snowden, the American who exposed the nation’s global surveillance practises and the US delegation was particularly eloquent here claiming that the surveillance programmes only ensured national security. But the US’s stance was opposed by the Chinese and German delegations, who blamed the US for spying on them.

The final section — United Nations Crisis Committee — was set in a futuristic world of 2025. Students tackled the agenda of “doomsday” in this meeting, what with new foreign policies, new challenges and an impending nuclear war looming. Chaired by Anubhav Khamroi and Shrestha Ghosh, this was a fast-moving section that had some of the best young brains of Calcutta debating like their lives depended on it.

The event came to an end with the prize distribution ceremony, where many of the delegates received awards for their performance. La Martiniere for Girls walked away with the Best School Award. We thoroughly enjoyed the meetings and in the words of our classmate Anushka: “The aim of our model UN was not to find the best amongst us but to bring out the best in us.” The host students were grateful to our teacher co-ordinators Ketaki Hazra, Maitreyi De Sarkar and Sriparna Mitra Sinha for their help.

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