Faculty, Students and Alumni Involved in UN Committee on International Security and Disarmament
As member states deliberate on international security and disarmament issues this month in the UN General Assembly First Committee, it has become increasing clear that Pace University New York City – particularly its Model UN program – is playing an emerging role in global policy discussions.
On Tuesday, 28 October, two Pace University professors – Dr. Emily Welty and Dr. Matthew Bolton – gave testimony before the First Committee on behalf of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), calling for more involvement of civil society in disarmament processes and greater awareness of the gendered dimensions of weapons.
“Gender shapes the impact of weapons and violence on societies,” said Dr. Welty, assistant professor and director of Peace and Justice Studies in the Women’s and Gender Studies department, in a statement on behalf of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and other NGOs. “It shapes the role of weapons in society. And it shapes how we work together to develop and implement the policy and legal responses that violence demands.”
Dr. Welty’s statement built upon the outcomes of a Forum held at Pace University earlier this month, where Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams challenged campaigners working on disarmament and arms control to take gender more seriously.
“We cannot limit disarmament to the arcane discussions in grand rooms such as this one,” said Dr. Bolton, assistant professor of Political Science in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and advisor to Pace’s New York City Model UN program, in a statement on behalf of Article 36 and other NGOs. “If we can engage in educational dialogue with the global public, we can empower citizens with the knowledge and necessary tools to shape decisions about their own security.”
In addition to faculty, current and former Pace Model UN students have also made their mark on the First Committee’s proceedings. Vato Gogsadze ‘15 and Munaza Javed ‘14 are serving with the Permanent Missions of Georgia and Pakistan, respectively, and Shant Alexander ‘14 has been supporting the Control Arms coalition’s advocacy regarding the Arms Trade Treaty.
Meanwhile, research that Cassandra Stimpson ‘13 did as a student at Pace is credited in a new policy report by WILPF and Article 36 on the gendered impact of drone strikes that has been distributed in First Committee and widely read by diplomats.
“However, staying connected to Pace allowed me to make connections I would not have otherwise,” said Cassandra who, while at Pace, excelled in Model UN conferences in Washington DC, Geneva and Costa Rica. “Just having my name mentioned and some form of my ideas in the General Assembly room isn’t something I expected, and I hope is a sign of more to come. The opportunity to be ‘heard’ by the international community is so empowering, and motivating.”
Located only two express subway stops from the iconic United Nations complex on the East River, Pace University’s scholars actively engage with global policymaking debates. Numerous Pace students interned or worked with Control Arms in advocacy efforts during the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations in July 2012 and March 2013. Last year, Pace hosted an expert symposium on Robotic Weapons Control, and the university has partnered with the UN Commission on the Status of Women to create workshops on global policies that affect women and girls.
Pace University has a 60-year history of excellence in regional, national and international Model United Nations conferences and encourages its students to develop the skills and capacities needed to thrive as global citizens. Drawing students from around the world, Pace has numerous academic programs related to international affairs, including political science, peace and justice studies, women’s and gender studies, global Asia studies, international management, Latin American studies, modern languages and cultures, and environmental studies.