Discuss Terrorism at Brandeis HS
By Marie Holmes
students gathered in Brandeis HS’s sprawling auditorium on the
Upper West Side to attend a panel discussion entitled, “A Global
Response to Terrorism: the U.N.’s Role.” The event, organized
by Brandeis’ Model U.N. club and the United Nations Association
of the United States (UNA-USA), the nonprofit organization which
facilitates Model U.N. activities, featured speakers Kouroush
Ahmadi, Counsellor for the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic
of Iran; Maurice Biggar, First Secretary for the Permanent Mission
of Ireland; Kevin S. Kennedy, Principal Officer of the Executive
Office of the Secretary General; and Jeffrey Laurenti, Executive
Director of Policy Studies at UNA-USA.
The discussion was moderated by Bradford Billet, Deputy Commissioner
for the U.N. Consular Corps and Protocol.
U.N. Day, the occasion which had drawn the speakers, was described
by Mr. Kennedy as “a day when some papers were handed over to
the U.S. government,” specifically, the last ratifications required
to create the international entity. Contrasting the global situation
of 1945, the year that the U.N. came into being, and today, Mr.
Kennedy encouraged the students to view the work of the U.N. as
“an evolutionary process,” of supreme importance, albeit “not
regrettably, changed everything,” Mr. Biggar told the students,
adding that their generation would be forced to take account of
terrorism in “a way that no other generation ever had.”
Speakers addressed various issues related to terrorism and international
relations, including the difficulty of defining terrorism, the
role of the U.N. and the current conflict between various U.N.
member states and the U.S. regarding planned action against Iraq.
The students, several of whom stated that their course requirements
had allowed little class time to discuss current affairs, were
nonetheless able to respond to the panelists’ presentation with
questions ranging from speakers’ views on the United States’ relationship
with the U.N. Security Council to the role of freedom of the press.
Mr. Biggar, who also noted that the U.S has not signed the convention
establishing the international criminal court, “and would not
appear to wish to do so,” stated: “The position of my government
is whatever action is taken in the end must be taken by the security
council.” The other panelists concurred; Mr. Ahmadi went so far
as to call the Bush administration’s cries of preemptive strike
and regime change “erroneous concepts.”
Many students shared these views. “I think the U.S. is really
influencing the U.N.” said Yneth Murillo. “The U.N. is supposedly
an organization of the world, not the U.S.”
U.S. should not jump the gun on terrorism,” added fellow student
Shirley Prudoth. While admittedly frightened by the turn of global
events in the past fourteen months, students expressed considerable
faith in the international community’s efforts to combat terrorism.
A few students did voice concerns that as the U.S. government
and the U.N. deliberated, terrorist groups were planning further
teenagers,” Crystal Tejeda summarized, “we all see that the world
is not all flowers and peaches.”#
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