Panel Discussion Report 50: Success and Failure of United Nations

Introduction:

United Nations is the world’s largest organization and it is one of the most prominent organizations on earth. It has gained a huge reputation and fame for promoting world peace and providing help for millions of people who are suffering from poverty, natural disaster, wars and many other problems. Many people appreciate its contribution to make the world a better place for all, however there are many others who put forward that UN is not playing the role it supposed to play in today’s world.  Our panel was about whether UN is on the right track to achieve its aims and missions or not. The center of our discussion was, why some of the people consider UN as success while many others consider it a failure. The topic is debatable in nature; therefore it is separated us into two groups with different viewpoints. The next paragraph will state the two opposing stands which were covered in the panel.

Overview of the points discussed

To begin with, two panelists were claiming that UN has fully accomplished its aims and the first point they covered was, UN promoted and maintained world peace by mediating between countries in war. Secondly, UN helps countries which are unstable as a result of political instability or economic instability. Thirdly, it established Millennium Development Goals (MDG) aimed to improve the lives of the people in many ways like health, women empowerment, alleviation of poverty and ensuring free education for the poor.  Lastly, the two UN pro panelists discussed about UN’s importance for combating terrorism and preventing nuclear proliferation. The third panelist and I were claiming that UN is just nothing more than a failure.  The first point we proposed was, the lack of clear motive and agenda. We also put forward UN’s weakness to enforce its resolutions due to insufficient funds and military. In addition to this, UN tries to uncover its shortcomings instead of monitoring and overcoming them; hence we discussed this and gave vivid examples. Furthermore, we discussed UN’s failure for delivering food and other necessary things for the victims because many UN agencies are corrupted. Lastly, we analyzed UN’s failure to protect human rights, since it mainly protects the interests of the powerful member states.

Process

a) Planning

We had our first meeting in the class and after few minutes of discussion we chose the topic. In this meeting, we also prepared our first proposal draft, chose the roles played by each student and scheduled the time for the next meetings as well as the consultations with the lecturer.  We met again during the weekend and we used this meeting to prepare the points to be covered as well as a revised draft of the proposal. We arranged another meetings after consulting with the lecturer and we finalized our proposal. Besides to this, we agreed to meet one more time for rehearsal but we could not manage it since some of us were busy. This did not hinder our planning and managing our time, therefore we informed each other to come to the class at least one hour earlier so that we can get time to prepare further and rehearse.

b)  Agreement/disagreements and the resolutions

It is very pleasurable to say that everything was going on smoothly starting from the planning until the last day of the presentation. Our discussions were open and we fully participated to interchange our ideas. However, we only had a minor disagreement about which topic to choose, because at first every one of us suggested one or two topics. Therefore, it is was a kind of dilemma on which topic to choose. We first listed all the suggestions and then we spent some fifteen minutes to shortlist the suitable ones. At last, we were left with four topics and in order to agree with one topic we did voting. Hence, we have chosen this topic which the majority of the members voted for it. The other members appreciated the resolution and we decided to move on. In addition to that, we met to one critical obstacle which hindered the efficient of our meetings. This was the lack of punctuality during our first two meetings, nevertheless we overcame this problem by reminding each other to keep the time or calling the member(s) who are late.

Implementation

The panel was held on Tuesday 18th of June and our group was the fourth group who presented the panel on that day. We all decided to prepare fully and come to the class on time, and for that reason we all came two hour earlier of the scheduled time. We utilized this time to further prepare and revise our points and we also tried to watch other panel discussions to expel fear and gain confidence. I believe being prepared and coming to the class on time was our biggest strength. We asked our respected lecturer to give us thirty minutes for rehearsal just before the panel. Our panel started wonderfully with the moderator, Mr. Cyril who welcomed us and we get a warm applaud from the audience as he introduced the topic. I am very happy to say that most of us get the fruits of our hard work and we performed it marvelously. The discussion was very lively and we really feel contended when we saw how attentive our audience were. This shows that the topic was interesting and the audience were really keen on to listen us. In addition to this, the nature of the topics which is very debatable as I mentioned earlier made it more fascinating. Although we did our best, there is still a room for improvement. This means there was one thing which I was not personally satisfied and I believe we should improve it. Some of us  failed to avoid gazing at the notes which is really a bad habit and it hampers one’s ability to become an effective speaker. In general our performance was great and I hope it meets with the lecturer’s requirements, however I believe we should overcome the problem mentioned above which  is becoming a huge obstacle to many of our students.

Learning and Reflection

It is beyond the slightest doubt that each time you try to speak in public or share speech with other people, you will improve your communication and presentation skills. I realized this because I could clearly see my improvements each time we rehearse and my friends told me this as we keep preparing and getting ready. Similarly, I could saw my group mates’ development each time we practice. In the beginning, though we had many panel discussion before, none of us were confident and ready. However, we overcome this problem by practicing more and seeking advice from each other. I also appreciated the dynamic team work and cooperation we have during discussions. Honestly, I am very euphoric to admit I have learnt many new English words which I did not know before or I could not use when I speak. All these things helped us to perform well and it was clear from our panel that how much prepared we were. I believe I have learnt a lot from this panel starting from doing the research up to the last day of sharing it with the audience. Despite presenting a debatable topic, the audience questioned us only once. The question was asked one of the panelists who playing the role of UN representative and he answered it nicely. On the other hand, since I was opposing UN success I saw this a golden opportunity to enforce my points hence I utilized this opportunity. The person who addressed the question agreed with me and he said what other option we have if UN is failing. The mere point which answers it is, the permanent members of the UN, or the so-called super powers should rethink and abandon their individualistic interests which have been weakening the international bodies so long.

Conclusion

All in all, this panel discussion was one of the most hilarious panels I have attended because the topic was very debatable and exciting. The moderator’s last comments summed up our discussion as concluded that UN is like any other organizations and everyone organization has strengths and weaknesses. The main goal is UN should continue to work and no one can deny their importance in today’s world. Yet, they should not ignore their weakness rather they should monitor and find ways of improving them. Personally, I gained many benefits from the panel discussions and it helped me in numerous ways. I did not only improve my communication skills, but I also learnt how to do a research on certain topic and critically analyze it. In addition to that, it enabled me to learn how to work with diverse students since I never worked before some of my group mates. Lastly but not certainly the least, panel discussions help the students to improve in many aspects, because they serve for many purposes which other assignments cannot fulfill. This means one can develop his/her communication skills, research skills, writing skills and time management techniques at the same time from doing a panel discussion, therefore it is my contention that many students will benefit more panel discussions are included in the assessments  of other subjects.

References

Criticism of the United Nations. Retrieved June 6, 2013 from  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_United_Nations‎

Benson. D (2010). Has the United Nations failed to fulfil its founding promise to maintain international security. Retrieved on 16, June, 2013 from http://www.academia.edu/1464402/Has_the_United_Nations_failed_to_fulfil_its_founding_promise_to_maintain_international_security

Jeffrey, G. (2010) Mass Rapes in Congo Reveals U.N. Weakness Retrieved on 16, June, 2013 from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/04/world/africa/04congo.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Harrison, Mark & Wolf, Nikolaus. “The Frequency of Wars”. University of Warwick, 10th March 2011.http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/harrison/public/ehr2011postprint.pdf

“UN admits Rwanda genocide failure”. BBC website, 15th April 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/714025.stm

“MacFarquhar, Neil. “Peacekeepers’ Sex Scandals Linger, On-Screen and Off”.  New York Times, 7th September 2011.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/world/08nations.html?pagewanted=all

“Membership of the Human Rights Council”. United Nations website, 2011. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/membership.htm

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