United Nations secratic seminar

United Nations Socratic Seminar

  1. What role does the UN play in the world? That is to say, what are all the metaphorical hats that they wear?
  1. To what degree does the UN act as a government, a think tank, a propaganda machine, an imperialist entity, a disaster reflief agency, a police force of the world, a political voice for all people?
  1. Should we have this organization? Are they a meddling entity that should not have any authority and ability to operate within and/or heavily influence other nations?
  1. Let’s take a look at the main bodies of the UN:


  1. The trusteeship council has been disbanded, to what degree does this show good faith towards the UNs progressivism and ideology of self-governance and self-determination?
  1. Would you rather be a UN ambassador working in their secretariat bureau for this global agency and the arguably betterment of the world as a whole, or would you rather work as a diplomat for your own nation acting as an ambassador of your nation, your culture, and working towards the betterment of your own nation as it relates to networking goals around the world? Why?
  1. War crimes/criminals. International terrorists. Inter-state disputes by the UN’s member states… The Hague in the Netherlands is where these issues are tried by the UN’s International Court of Justice under international law and code. Is this a good thing? Are there any drawbacks that you may think of?
  1. The Security Council has the primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members (5 permanent (US, China, Russia, UK, and France) and 10 non-permanent members (rotated and elected every 2 years ). Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions. The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Security Council has a Presidency, which rotates, and changes, every month. It is said that the UN uses the most amount of military restraint possible with regards to military action in areas of threat. Having said that, there are plenty of examples where a joint UN coalition will act on aggression and human rights abuses. Do you agree with how the UN Security Council operates? What are some examples of no-question asked, UN military intervention is justified? What are some examples (either real-world/historical ones or hypothetical ones, where the UN would be overstepping their boundaries if they got involved in a military context?
  1. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights is widely considered the benchmark for progressive, modern Enlightenment ideals that all nations, all leaders, and all people should adhere to. Let’s take a look at this and unpack it.



  1. I think most would agree that the first 12 articles are really just commonsense, basic human morality. But, let’s take a look at Article 13. Do you think that a nation has the right to restrict movement of its people? If so, when is that appropriate, if at all? Why do you think so? Are citizens possessions of their state or are they free agents so to speak?
  1. Let’s look at Article 16. This article speaks specifically about free will with regards to marriage. In nations where culturally it is normal to have arranged marriages, and both parties don’t object to the marriage, is Article 16 being broken? What about in the situation where one or both of the parties don’t agree with the marriage and are effectively being “forced” or “coerced” into the marriage; is this breaking Article 16? That brings up the bigger question, to what authority (if any) should the UN have in rewriting cultural norms in nations?
  1. All of these Articles really have many nuanced concepts that we could discuss, let’s take a quick look at Article 26 regarding the basic human right for people to have access to education and the right of parents to have choice in how their children are educated. To what degree do nationalized educations contrast with what the UN calls the basic human right of education? For example, is China’s national education, that is largely forced upon its people and truly propagates the Communist/State agenda in adherence with this Article?
  1. Obviously, the UN has its hands full with all sorts of global issues (managing areas of conflict/political corruption, balancing ever-increasesing environmental issues with sustainable development within nations, supporting equality and equity of all people within all nations, races, and ethnic groups, managing a growing refugee crisis (economic, political, and climate refugees), and continuing to provide both logistical and strategic support as well as financial support for nations and people around the world to overcome obstacles and foster higher quality of life. Having said that, what specific examples of global issues do you see the UN having to really tackle and play a larger role in the upcoming decades?
  1. Ok, good discussion everyone. Does anyone have any other questions or comments that they would like to add and ask the group.
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