Dear Delegates, Advisers, and Guests,
On behalf of the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, I would like to invite you to attend Rutgers Model Congress 2014. The conference will be held from April 3rd to 6th, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Over the course of the four day conference, students will have a unique opportunity to learn about the congressional process by taking on the role of politicians to debate, negotiate, and write legislation. Students will not only gain insight into American politics, but also valuable public speaking and research experience.
IDIA prides itself on offering a professional environment for students to learn and develop. Our staff is committed to encouraging cooperation and learning and we pride ourselves on the extensive measures we take each year to ensure an experience that delivers exactly that. In committees, our Directors are there for students to facilitate debate, answer any questions, and encourage participation amongst even the newest delegates. Our goal as an organization is to give your students experiences that will help make them enthusiastic scholars, active members of their communities, and informed decision makers.
Each IDIA conference has a thematic focus that connects each of the debate topics. The theme for this RMC is “Justice and Diversity in American Society”. Justice, to give each person what he or she deserves, is a core tenet of all democratic societies. The idea of justice is essentially interchangeable with fairness. In the United States, we do have justice in the way the law is applied, but this does not guarantee those laws are just. Most people would agree that justice and fairness are important, but the major disagreement would be over how to determine what is fair. Is it fairer to give assistance in proportion to a persons need or should it all be equal? Is it fairer to give people equal resources or an equal opportunity to earn what they have? Is it fair if a person is at a disadvantage for reasons beyond his or her control? Now take those abstract ideas and decide how we should make fair solutions for problems related to income inequality, lack of health insurance, workers rights, civil rights, gun violence, and pollution? The answer is not simple. Lawmakers especially must try to strike a balance between practical and ideal solutions when it comes to guaranteeing fairness.
The challenge is further complicated when these terms of justice have to be delivered across an extremely diverse population. Americans are diverse in many different ways including race, culture, and religion, but also income, family types, structure of communities, occupation, political beliefs, and health. The number of ways that people and communities can differ on these factors makes problems multifaceted and rules out any one size fits all solutions. In a society where each person has their own set of needs and abilities, guaranteeing any sort of just results is increasingly difficult. We want to challenge our students to be able to determine in what ways the principle of justice should be delivered by policy and what form this justice takes.
Following the global financial crisis, we can see dramatic inequalities in America that are bringing the issues of justice and fairness to the forefront of the political debate. In accordance with our ideals, we must ensure that we are still providing justice to our fellow citizens. Still, not all inequality is inherently unfair and we must consider the entire issue. Then when developing solutions, the needs of all groups must be taken into account. RMC will examine these kinds of issues and dive deeper into all areas of justice. Delegates will get to debate mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines in the House Judiciary Committee, reevaluate the War on Drugs in the Senate Caucus on Narcotics, analyze the most controversial parts of the US tax code in the Senate Finance Committee and look at how mental health is cared for in the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee. Delegates in our Advanced Committees will get the chance to even take a more in depth look at these issues from the perspectives of Members of Congress in the 1964 Civil Rights debate and from within the New York City Mayor’s office as a Deputy Mayor. These highlights are only a small sample of the range of issues delegates will be debating at RMC and students can look forward to a high level of debate and an inviting learning environment no matter what committee they choose.
Registration for RMC 2014 will be open on December 1st, 2013. Because of limited capacity, I urge you to claim your spots early. If you have any questions about the conference, the registration process, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our staff members are available through e-mail and the RMC website. If your school is new to RMC or you would like some assistance preparing for the conference, we regularly hold outreach sessions in which experienced IDIA staff members will come to your school. Our staff will focus on presenting the essential information about RMC, outlining rules and procedures for the committee room, developing research, writing, and debate skills, and many other topics that teachers request. If your school is interested, feel free to contact our staff. Thank you for your interest in RMC 2014 and I look forward to seeing you all there.
Rutgers Model Congress 2014