CIMUN Chronicle / Article / 2016

Questioning Religious Intent in SOCHUM

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Jasmine Ericson, Dawn

This morning, delegates in the SOCHUM subcommittee discussed inequality in education, which includes but is not limited to gender inequality, rural-urban inequality, technology inequality and more. A large portion of the conversation concerns the national sovereignty of a nation's right to form their own education curriculum, specifically in a religious context. 

Turkey, a historically secular country that has been slowly shifting to an increasing Muslim atmosphere has managed to maintain a delegate balance. One of the Turkish delegates from SOCHUM commented: "even though the majority of our population is mainly Sunni Muslims, our education is largely secular". Due to being at "a crux between the European Union, North Africa, and the Middle East", they understand countries' concerns of western hegemony impeding their curriculum. Some countries like France swear that a universal curriculum would not favor Western or Eastern ideas, and encourages the committee to address national sovereignty together to move forward. 

On another note, the Holy See's prominence in the committee is a force to be reckoned with. Their Catholic blessing for the committee and its work brings a smile to everybody's face, and their words and advice have significant weight in both debate and writing. Despite these good feelings for the Holy See, one delegate from Croatia went out of the way to emphasize how their bloc's planned World Education Fund would not be influenced by religion; even the Holy See (which is apart of the same bloc) reiterated that their education is secular and do not "promote religious preferences". Whether or not this quells suspicions and concerns from other delegates remains up in the air. 

With a body as large as the United Nations General Assembly, diversity is bound to cause friction. All things considering, SOCHUM is heading down a good road since their successful refugee resolutions have been passed. Let's hope SOCUM can continue this momentum to institute action that will make lasting change. 

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