Members of Bronxville High School’s Model United Nations Club hosted a panel discussion on Oct. 4 via Zoom to discuss the political and humanitarian aspects of the Yemen crisis. Organized by seniors Isabella Bouvard and Mimi Zannetos, the conference featured notable panelists who highlighted the severity of the situation and further educated students on the complex issue.
“As a Model UN chapter, one of the most prevalent topics of discussion at conferences is the Yemen crisis,” Zannetos said. “It is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children. The country is enduring a ruthless civil war over governmental rule.”
Panelists included Katherine Zimmerman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and adviser to AEI’s Critical Threats Project, whose work is focused on terror groups; Jeff Bachman, a professorial lecturer in human rights at American University, whose research and teaching interests focus primarily on critical genocide studies; Matthew Ellis, a professor and chair of Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College, whose work specializes in the social, intellectual and cultural history of the modern Middle East; and Summer Nasser, a speaker and analyst on Yemeni affairs and chief executive officer of Yemen Aid. They reflected on what Yemen looked like prior to the crisis, how the involvement of other countries affected the civil war and discussed humanitarian assistance to Yemen.
The students hosted the panel discussion in lieu of in-person conferences this fall. Each year in November, Model UN members attend the Princeton Model United Nations Conference.
“Yemen is one of the most complex topics in Model UN,” Bouvard said. “I have personally worked with it in the past through my involvement in the Economic and Financial Committee at Princeton, but this discussion opened up so many different types of thinking that I had not previously considered. Something that I really hope the audience took from this conversation was that there are so many ways to help, money doesn’t have to be the only factor. Pressuring local and statewide representatives to take action on this situation may have a drastic effect.”
In addition, club members have raised more than $330 for Yemen Aid, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, and will continue their fundraising efforts.
“We believe that the humanitarian assistance and resources that it provides is essential towards combating this crisis,” Bouvard said.