Past Conferences

2020 Megacities: A Sustainable Future

This year’s conference title will be Megacities: A Sustainable Future. Rapid urbanization is shaping our future. We live in a world where the majority of society already lives in urban areas. As a result of rising populations and increasing migration, megacities are emerging across the globe. In order for us to achieve sustainable development, we must make significant changes in the ways in which we build and manage our urban environments. The 2020 UNIS-UN conference will examine the implications of the increasing concentration of population, goods, and services seen in these urban areas. We will investigate the role of government as well as the roles of AI and surveillance. In addition, we will explore the vulnerability faced by cities regarding environmental threats, and discuss how we can work to make cities resilient against them.

2020 Working Paper

2019 Ripple Effect: The Water Crisis

This year’s conference topic will be Ripple Effect: The Water Crisis. Water is central to the wellbeing of people and the planet. The availability of safe water and adequate sanitation is changing worldwide. Without effective management of our water resources, we risk intensifying disputes between communities and increasing tensions among nations. The 2019 UNIS-UN conference will examine the role of water in relation to sustainability and geopolitics. We will investigate how growing demands, climate change, and increasing pollution are affecting water security. In addition, we will consider the political and economic implications of mass migration due to flooding and drought, innovative solutions in cleaning up the ocean, and the consequences of ice melts in the Arctic on trade and travel.

2019 Working Paper

2018 Under CTRL: Technology, Innovation and the Future of Work

This year’s conference topic will be Under CTRL: Technology, Innovation and the Future of Work. We will be exploring present innovations and the possible social and political implications. It is clear technology is already shaping our lives significantly, in terms of production, energy use, development and security. The 2018 UNIS-UN conference will explore questions regarding the way in which innovations will improve not only lifestyle, but also efforts in development. We will investigate how our increasing use of technology may also be a risk to our privacy, and the profound social and political effects, the rapid rise in automation may have on future generations of workers. As ambassadors for the future, these issues will have the greatest impact on our own lives, and therefore, it is critical that we develop a deeper understanding of these issues and how to address them properly.

2018 Working Paper

2017 Migration: Crossing the Line

This year’s conference topic will be Migration: Crossing the Line, which will focus on the global movement of people. This issue currently holds the international spotlight as migration has and will continue to impact countries around the globe through a variety of forms. The 2017 UNIS-UN international student conference will examine varying perspectives on the issues surrounding migration: the causes, individual experiences as well as the political and humanitarian responses to migration. As millions of people flee their countries to escape armed conflict, political turmoil and economic hardships, we will consider who is responsible for providing aid and to what extent. While we may not find express answers to these issues, we hope to lead a discussion that can result in a deeper understanding of global migration.

2017 Working Paper

2016 Media’s Influence: Opinions, Activism, & Outcomes

The 2016 UNIS-UN conference will focus on Media’s Influence: Opinions, Activism, and Outcomes. Media has a tremendous impact on global politics and societal issues, especially in today’s technologically driven and rapidly evolving world. Students from thirty different countries will explore media related topics such as propaganda, social reform, activism, political unrest, and the ways in which media shapes statistics and trends. We will investigate social media as a source of change and as a platform for propaganda. Social media enables businesses to advertise their products in an inexpensive and effective manner, allowing companies to enhance brand image. Social media has inspired mass movements in many countries, as well. Traditional forms of media such as television, newspapers, and magazines also have a major influence on our international relations. Traditional media offers an alternative and fascinating perspective on many issues. Nevertheless, it is important to question how this form of media has been forced to adapt to our technologically advanced generation. How has traditional media changed in the last twenty years and will it survive in the future?

2016 Working Paper [COMING SOON]

2015 Sustainability: Balancing People, Planet, & Profit

In 2015, the conference topic was Sustainability: Balancing People, Planet and Profit. The Millennium Development Goals, which targeted extreme poverty, health, and education in developing countries are coming to an end in 2015. The newest set of targets, the Sustainable Development Goals, build upon their predecessors and provide the framework for further improvements. As countries gather at the United Nations to reevaluate the MDGs and agree upon the new SDGs, it is the perfect time to explore what a sustainable future looks like and what is currently being done to achieve it. The 2015 UNIS-UN international student conference will examine sustainability in terms of its three interrelated components: the development of our society, the growth of the economies and the impact on the environment. We seek to explore topics such as climate justice, gender equality, and resilient cities, and to uncover how they are all key parts of fostering sustainable development on all levels. Through diverse speakers and open dialogue discussions we hope to engage young minds in the importance and possibilities of designing our sustainable and promising future.

2015 Working Paper [COMING SOON]

2014 Globalization: A World of Exchange

This coming year’s conference, to be held on March 6-7, 2014 is Globalization: A World of Exchange. We will examine the socio-cultural effects and repercussions of an increasingly interconnected world. As young people who have grown up in a world more interdependent than ever before, it is important for us to come together to learn about and discuss the new socio-cultural landscape of the world we will inherit.

We hope to do this through exploration and dialogue about issues such as the impact of social media on cross cultural ties, the displacement of refugees in war ravaged areas, and the effects of immigration.

We are aiming to find dynamic speakers, who can describe how they chose to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others through a passion that they have. This exchange of knowledge will be enriched by the sharing of perspectives of young minds from around the globe and cultivated by the presentations of speakers from various facets of the globalization issue in hopes of inspiring awareness and new outlooks on the state and future of our world.

2014 Working Paper [COMING SOON]

2013 Modern Youthquake: A Generation’s Impact

This coming year’s conference, to be held on March 7-8, 2013, is centered on change within a generation. Modern Youthquake: A Generation’s Impact, describes what we want the conference to be in only so many words.

We have a vision of making this conference one that attendees can look back and think, “I was inspired to change my world.” We hope to encourage attendees this year to think more deeply into what they believe and what they want to do by inviting speakers who have somehow made a difference in their world which in turn impacted our world, and more importantly our generation.

We are aiming to find dynamic speakers, who can describe how they chose to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others through a passion that they have. We want to show each student in attendance that we as a generation don’t need to sit around and wait for other people to make the world a better place to live; we want to show them that we are called to make a difference, that we can be part of a generation’s impact. And just like the youth of the 60s, we want to prove that we can change our world, just by doing.

2013 Working Paper [COMING SOON]

2012 Human Exploitation: Exposing the Unseen

The 36th annual UNIS-UN Conference highlights the unique connection between the United Nations International School (UNIS) and the United Nations. It will be held on March 1 - 2, 2012, in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. The title of this year’s conference is “Human Exploitation: Exposing the Unseen.”

This year’s conference aims to explore the hidden world of human exploitation through the various subsets of the topic, including child labor, human trafficking, and the sex trade, often caused by poverty, conflict, and more. The goal of this year’s conference is to view the topic of Human Exploitation through a global perspective.

Over the course of the conference, distinguished guest speakers will address the various aspects of Human Exploitation. Afterwards students will be given the opportunity to interact and engage in dialogues with the speakers in question-answer sessions. There will also be opportunities for students to discuss the conference topic and gain further insights through the Student Panel and Student Debate sessions.

We aim to develop a better understanding of Human Exploitation and its implication in our global society and in culture, and expose its many facets whilst encouraging participants to objectively develop their own opinions. Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness to the participants on Human Exploitation, a topic sometimes obscured from the media and news spotlight.

2012 Working Paper [COMING SOON]

2011 The Web: Wiring our World

The 35th annual UNIS-UN Conference, which is a unique collaboration between the United Nations International School (UNIS) and the United Nations, was held on March 3 - 4, 2011, in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. The theme of the conference was “The Web: Wiring our World.”

In the last decade or so, the Internet has undertaken a key role in every aspect of human life. People all over the world rely on the Internet for information, entertainment, communication, business, social interaction, and many other facets of their lives. The benefits of the development of internet technologies are plenty, but accompanying these benefits are numerous concerns. Regardless of whether it is viewed in a positive or negative light, the advent of the Internet has effectively revolutionized the lives of people in both the developed and developing countries.

The UNIS-UN conference concentrated on the evolving role of the Internet, and its far-reaching implications in different areas of society. The goal of the conference was to provide insight into a phenomenon that society has universally embraced without fully understanding its transformational powers. The conference examined issues such as the role of the Internet in political movements; the moral and ethical questions concerning the privacy of information; the potential use of the Internet during conflicts such as cyber warfare; and on a more theoretical note, how the Internet has affected our thought processes and our worldview.

2011 Working Paper [COMING SOON]