The question of ethics is one that occupies almost every area of society and our lives, from the news we read to the conversations we have to the handling of cultural and religious issues. Given this relevance, it should come as no surprise that ethics represent a large part of the process of CAS, including planning, decision making, and presenting. Of course, you’re probably wondering how Model United Nations could possibly be unethical, I mean after all it’s just a bunch of teenagers dressing up and talking about some random issue, right? Wrong. Although MUN may not be as obviously ethically relevant/controversial as other projects, it has areas that must be carefully considered. One of the main areas is the representation of countries and beliefs in terms of the assignments to students. MUN consists of over 193 countries, many of which have varying degrees of different values, especially when it comes to issues such as women’s rights and abortion/birth control services. These countries also practice different religions and have different cultures and history. I have personally watch someone who was assigned to represent the country they were from struggle greatly, as their country was facing an internal crisis that brought serious emotions to surface and was incredibly difficult to tolerate. It is my job to ensure students are challenged without being put into positions where they are so uncomfortable/emotional that they are not able to perform. This brings me to my next point of ethical contention, which is the issues I choose to have students discuss in their committees. Many issues, such as those of illegal immigration or economic/internal crises are ones that people in our school can relate to personally, meaning I must be extremely careful to ensure that students feel comfortable and not targeted. I have to walk an extremely fine line between ethical and comfortable while still being challenging and pushing students to explore new skills and ideas. I can very easily relate the theory I studied in TOK, moral relativism, to my CAS project. Moral relativism is the idea that there is no objective set of morals, and that morals are instead defined by each culture or society. In truth, this theory essentially represents the while purpose of the United Nations themselves. Our world is classified as anarchic, meaning it is devoid of a single ruling party or code of ethics. The goal of my CAS project is to expose students to the idea that there are cultures and countries that have values completely different than their own, but this does not make them less valid and they must still be worked with. I must be careful in my project to respect culture and personal connections while still exposing students to the ideas of moral relativism and cooperation.
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