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Southern Ontario Model United Nations Association

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Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly (SOMA)
Soma Logo.jpg
AbbreviationSOMA
Formation1973
TypeNGO
PurposeEducation
Location
Official language
English, French
Secretary General
Wendy Wang


The Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of International Relations within the wider community.[1] Founded in 1973, the annual conference has run continuously for 47 years. With an international scope and delegates from dozens of nations, the assembly serves to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda. The conference is run entirely by student volunteers, coordinated by the efforts of the Secretariat under the Secretary-General Wendy Wang.[2]

History[edit]

The Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly (SOMA) is the oldest and largest Model United Nations simulation run entirely by high-schools students in North America. Founded in 1973, as a partnership between students at Port Credit Secondary School and the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), the organization was intended to be a dynamic replacement for the Toronto Assembly, an older Model UN that had suffered from a lack of leadership. The annual conference has run continuously since attracting students around the world to attend the conference, which is currently held at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario. The current session of SOMA is the 47th session.

SOMA offers committees in 4 categories

  • The General Assembly
  • Humanitarian, Economic and Social Committees, such as the United Nations Economic and Social Council
  • Regional Bodies, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
  • Historical Crisis Committees, such as Sino-Indian War

Staff[edit]

SOMA has a staff of nearly 80 high school students from the University of Toronto Schools. These staff are organized into two groups: the Secretariat and the General Staff. The secretariat oversees the administration of the conference while the staff ensure the proper functioning of the conference.

Secretariat[edit]

The SOMA Secretariat oversees the administration of the conference and are responsible for all branches and activities of the assembly. There are eight Secretariat members, including the Secretary-General, who is responsible for the conference as a whole. The Under-Secretaries General are responsible for various branches of the conference: finance, operations, outreach, crisis, etc. The Secretariat for SOMA XLV are the following:

  • Wendy Wang, Secretary-General
  • Rachel Kim, Director-General
  • Rajan Deshpande, Commissioner-General
  • Grace Parish, Chief of Staff
  • Alastair KA, Under Secretary-General: Crisis
  • Vedika Jha, Under Secretary-General: Personnel and Committees
  • Alison Xie, Under Secretary-General: Operations
  • Kyra Menezes, Under Secretary-General: Operations
  • Laia Bent , Under Secretary-General: Outreach
  • Matthew Davidson, Under Secretary-General: Finance
  • Sophie Fiala, Deputy Chief of Staff

General Staff[edit]

The specific role of the General Staff varies from branch to branch although they can be split into guest chairs, seconders, typists, committee staff, pages and other support positions.

Committees[edit]

The 47th session of SOMA was held from April 24–26, 2019, at the University of Toronto's St. George Campus.[3] All of the United Nations' 193 member-States were represented at SOMA by over 600 student representatives divided into 2 to 7 person delegations.[4] The three day assembly will host 10 unique committees:

  • Security Council
  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme
  • General Assembly
  • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • Economic and Social Council
  • Human Rights Council
  • United Nations Children's Fund
  • World Health Assembly
  • United Nations Reform Committee
  • One historical Crisis

Opening Ceremonies[edit]

SOMA's opening ceremonies are one of the defining aspects of the conference. The events center on an opening speech, usually by a prominent academic or politician. Previous speakers have included:

  • Chris Alexander - Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence
  • Sujit Choudhry - University of Toronto Professor of Constitutional Law
  • John Duffy - Founder of StrategyCorp
  • Mark Kingwell - Associate Chair at the University of Toronto's Department of Philosophy
  • David Morley - President and CEO of UNICEF Canada
  • Allan Rock - President of the University of Ottawa/ Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations (2004-2006)
  • Kathryn White - Executive Director of the United Nations Association in Canada

Finances[edit]

SOMA is a registered charity and reports annual revenue of approximately $75,000 CDN, with approximately $75,000 of that being spent on their programming.[5]

Scholarship Program[edit]

The SOMA scholarship program is a merit based award to cover the conference fees of a number of low-income students. The program was initiated during SOMA XLV with the goal of making the conference more affordable to all students. The scholarship was supported by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs. All recipients during the inaugural year were invited to a reception lunch with the honorable Chrystia Freeland.

References[edit]

  1. "GREENWOOD SENDS DELEGATES TO THE SOUTHERN ONTARIO MODEL UNITED NATIONS ASSEMBLY" Greenwood School. N.p. Web. May 2nd, 2018. https://www.greenwoodcollege.org/news-detail?pk=1181757#
  2. "Home." SOMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. <http://www.soma.on.ca/>.
  3. "Home." SOMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. <http://www.soma.on.ca/>.
  4. "Home." SOMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. http://www.soma.on.ca/>.
  5. "2009 Registered Charity Information Return for Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly." N.p., 31 August 2009. Web. 8 March 2010. <http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form21-eng.action?b=119157501RR0001&e=2009-08-31&n=SOUTHERN+ONTARIO+MODEL+UNITED+NATIONS+ASSEMBLY&r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cra-arc.gc.ca%3A80%2Febci%2Fhaip%2Fsrch%2Fbasicsearchresult-eng.action%3Fs%3D+>.


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