The Model UN conference is renamed to honor Jerome J. Shestack, Esq.
click here to learn more about Jerome J. Shestack, Esq.

The Jerry Shestack Model UN Conference on the Rule of Law, using the Global Classroom format of the UNA-USA, seeks to engage students in high schools in greater Philadelphia in a classroom or extracurricular activity around two fundamental questions that carry global weight:

1) Can youth play a constructive role in the mainstreaming of the rule of law as envisioned and propagated by the World Justice Project (WJP)?
2) What are five key recommendations that the youth of Philadelphia would suggest to the leadership of the WJP to improve better scores on the Rule of Law Index for specific countries?

Each participating student will role-play as a representative of one of the organizations that make up the WJP; the first question requires a reflection on the role of youth in civic organizations and should lead ideally to a well-reasoned request or demand for a voice in the affairs of the WJP. For the second question, each school or each team will study the conditions in one country and make a formal report to the board of the WJP. At the conference, where the school teams will congregate, the request for youth participation will be formalized. At the conference, the second question will be handled by comparing recommendations, improve language, negotiate relative rankings, allow specificity of circumstances to be weighed, and finalize a compilation of resolutions.

Scope of the Jerry Shestack Model UN Conference on the Rule of Law:


UNA-GP seeks participation from six high schools, four from the city school district, two from outside the district. Interested teachers, parents or high schools students can email.

UNA-GP is still seeking experts/volunteers to help with mentoring and fundraising. If interested, please email.

Background:


The Secretary-General of the United Nations defines the rule of law as:

a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.(More information)

The General Assembly has considered rule of law as an agenda item since 1992, with renewed interest since 2006 and has adopted resolutions at three sessions since then. The Security Council has held a number of thematic debates on the rule of law, [See United Nations Security Council debates S/PRST/2003/15, S/PRST/2004/2, S/PRST/2004/32, S/PRST/2005/30, S/PRST/2006/28.] and adopted resolutions emphasizing the importance of these issues in the context of women, peace and security, children in armed conflict, and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The Peace-building Commission has also regularly addressed rule of law issues with respect to countries on its agenda. The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action also requires the rule of law be included in human rights education.

World Justice Project


The World Justice Project, a non-profit organization committed to advancing the rule of law around the world, states that the rule of law refers to a rules-based system in which the following four universal principles are upheld:

1. The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law;
2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable, fair, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property;
3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient;
4. Access to justice is provided by competent, independent, and ethical adjudicators, attorneys or representatives, and judicial officers who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

The World Justice Project has developed an Index to measure the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The WJP Rule of Law Index is composed of 9 factors and 52 sub-factors, and covers a variety of dimensions of the rule of law such as whether government officials are accountable under the law, and whether legal institutions protect fundamental rights and allow ordinary people access to justice.