World Health Organization
With every year, we live in an ever-more complex globe. And with the greater connection of our international communities through immigration, our global economy through trade, of faster improving and efficient technologies, of the rise of independent, non-state actors, and the evolution of our information exchanges, the need to collectively organize and enact change through the global community has never been more important.
As part of the World Health Organization, we are entrusted, as the active stewards of this world’s global health, with the mandate and duty of improving the health and well-being of individuals across the globe—regardless of where one just so happens to be born. Think about this: an individual from Chad has the average life-expectancy of 50.20 years old—but that same individual—when born in the US, has a life expectancy of 79.80 years old (CIA World Factbook, 2016). In addition to asking ourselves what are the sorts of conditions to account for those differences, and how even we ourselves (individually and nationally) might be involved in this problem, we need to ask ourselves if this is a problem worth fighting for, the fight against global health inequity.
As the Director of the World Health Organization, 2018, I hope to engage with you all in the sorts of discussions that can reveal new frameworks for thinking. Having been the Director of the Human Rights Council (ECOSOC, HNMUN, 2016), of the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development (GA, HNMUN, 2017), and now assuming this directorship opportunity at this member body, I feel excited to create new ideas and solutions to some of our most intricate problems with you all. Having spent time working as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab, interning in a developmental economics group, and this past summer, interviewing people in Karachi, Pakistan for my senior thesis, I have come to realize the power of a community, in providing constructive feedback, update, and support for an individual’s sight. In this session of the WHO, I intend to place two very important topics in your sight for the field of global health: A) the influence on global health of wartime social and psychological trauma, and B) the effects of climate change on human health. I hope you find this corresponding background guide helpful, and if you have questions do not hesitate to reach out.
I am incredibly excited to see you all soon. In the meantime, if I’m not too burdened by the weight of a 120-page post-colonial studies thesis on public healthcare in Karachi, or by thinking about graduation, you might find me reading Harry Potter, walking around leisurely, or chilling with my roommates!
Please take care until February 2018, and I look forward to our discussions!
Director, World Health Organization
Harvard National Model United Nations 2018
Topic Area A: Wartime Social Psychology
As explosions rattle battlefields in far-off lands, it is easy to ignore the shockwaves rippling through home territories. After all, while the physical casualties of war may be many, the psychological injuries can be countless. Both during and after times of violent conflict, it is crucial that involved governments be mindful of the hearts and minds of their citizens.
The psychological effects of war are multifaceted and manifold. This topic will cover phenomena from panic to post-traumatic stress disorder, examining how civilians can be consoled both in times of war and in its aftermath. Equally though, the WHO may also want to consider how to prevent aspects of wartime social psychology from being exploited. Corrupt or authoritarian governments may, for example, take advantage of the “rally around the flag” effect, using extreme wartime patriotism for self-interested political causes. In all cases though, it will be of paramount importance to consider the different options available for prevention, cure, and long-term recovery as they pertain to these psychological conditions, whilst being mindful that no treatment is likely to be equally effective in all parts of the world. No doubt, it should soon become clear that stabilizing the national psyche might well in fact play an important part in bringing about international peace.
Although the issue of Wartime Social Psychology is one that has yet to be thoroughly explored by the international community, it nevertheless has major consequences for global order.
Topic Area B: Effects of Climate Change on Human Health
Health effects of climate change are not often a topic of consideration when thinking about the environment or environmental policy. However, climate change has a potentially large impact on human health and well-being; the WHO expects climate change to cause 250,000 deaths per year starting in 2030. Warming can cause deaths from extreme heat or drought, water-borne diseases could be transmitted in new or more recurrent ways, and extreme weather patterns may become more common. Such effects would be vastly different in different areas of the world, as more extreme climates are likely to be more affected by rising temperatures.
Together, the global community has a responsibility to combat climate change and its many effects, including those that directly affect human health. To this end, an effective plan to combat climate change must incorporate and directly address the imminent consequences for human health, and developed countries must recognize their role in assisting developing nations and those nations in vulnerable climates.