Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee

Chair: Robert Stewart
Assistant Director: TBD
Staff: TBD

Committee Topics:

Topic A: Preservation of Endangered Cultures:

         Almost every two weeks, a prominent elder in a tribe speaks the last words of his or her native tongue and dies, disappearing an entire language. A language’s significance is not merely its grammar and usage but the worldview and imagination of reality from which that language is constructed. The extinction of a language marks the vanishing of a time-tested cultural worldview and perception of reality. Language is a tool for communication albeit a treasure rife with the collective consciousness, history, and spirituality of an entire ethnicity of people, and just one example of an intrinsic value embedded in all culture. Upon our agreement that every human ought to have the right to exercise their own conscience and spirituality through culture, we are obligated, as members of a global community, to preserve, support and foster those universal human rights to culture as a means of spirituality.

 As more and more people believe and treat the world as “flat,” the faster ideas, thoughts, stories, and relationships are shared across borders between people. This globalization, fueled by widespread technological innovation and digitization, demands transnational corporations to exploit the earth for natural resources, found abundantly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, whereby the corporations threaten the local, indigenous peoples’ ways of life by exploiting their environment. Indigenous peoples’ sacred rites of passage and unique worldviews are inextricably linked to their relationship with the natural elements, which foreign companies aim to exploit and disrespect.  Importantly, there is a normative stance implicit in corporations’ actions: the priority of resource-extraction through an any-means-necessary for-profit approach supports the worldview of western industrialized society over that of the local tribes and cultures atop the resource wealth. The reconciliation between clashing worldviews is paramount in any current discussion of the preservation of endangered cultures.

 

 

Topic B: Rights of Children:

        Everyone in the world is either a child or a former child. This statement is simple but not empty of meaning insofar as parents agree to protect and raise children as a debt owed to their parents but directed in their own households. In short, we all understand the life of a child and the universal norms we place around the treatment and respect of children. While different cultures view children differently - a rural couple advantages from a large amount of births than an urban couple because each child provide farm labor during harvest season - there are certain circumstances which children face and certain practices through which children are used that no child deserves to confront. The burden lays on adults from all walks of life in the international community to ensure a proper debt be paid forward to the next generation.

         Here are some of the major infringements on the rights of children in the global arena, today. Children are recruited, lacking viable alternative options, by armed militia and opposition groups. Recent estimates number child soldiers, under eighteen, at a quarter of a million. Often these quasi-military groups will indoctrinate and inculcate malevolence in these child to commit violent acts. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 200,000 children work as slaves in West and Central Africa- usually, girls are sold into prostitution and boys into plantation work. Families will often sell their daughters into prostitution if they have not already been kidnapped by child sex traffickers. Children are often bonded to labor as a payment made by the parents or collateral for a loan. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates a couple hundred million children between five and fourteen are forced to engage in drudge factory work for little pay, where about half of those children work to support their destitute families. Researchers must not only analyse the causes of these issues from the level of children but from the family and community level to apply effective, nuanced and sustainable measures to help these children, whose rights are surely disrespected and neglected.

 

 

SOCHUM Background Guide

 

Email: sochum@henmun.org

rstewart@udel.edu