So What's the Verdict? Can MUN Really Change the World?
A record-breaking moment in history took place in the UN General Assembly Hall on August 26th, 2016. Delegates from all around the world gathered at the MUN 2016 Youth Assembly, as we officially announced the results of prior 3 day long discussions on the theme: Can Model United Nations Change the World?
This is a recap of the very first Model United Nations Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, a unique project launched by United Ambassadors. To see the executive summary of content discussed and proposals raised, please see here.
1) Diversity of Participants: Delegates, staff & observers from over 100 countries of origin + residence took part in this MUN Assembly. They included: The United States, Canada, Jordan, Lebanon, France, Portugal, The United Kingdom, The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, The Republic of Korea, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, The Russian Federation, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Singapore, The Philippines, Ghana, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, China, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Tanzania, Bolivia, Malaysia, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Palestine, Morocco, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya, and more. The delegates are those who contributed to the discussions within committee rooms and drafted the resolution. The staff are the organizers of the event, and the observers were last minute registrants who attended our last day’s closing plenary in the GA Hall to hear the results. All participants were quite diverse in many areas including age range (15-28), MUN experience, spoken languages, field of education and personal background.
2) “Global MUN Strategy” Topics: All topics at this Assembly revolved around Model United Nations, and various recommendations and insights that revolve around it. These MU strategy topics were divided into Sustainable Development Goal integration within Model UN conferences, educational programs and activities by Model UN youth leaders, and structural MUN reform like Multilingual MUN, UN4MUN and MUN procedures around the world. To review the background guides, click here.
3) Held entirely inside the UN: The inaugural MUN 2016 Youth Assembly was held entirely inside of the UN Headquarters for 4 full days, 9 AM to 6 PM, in which our participants convened in the Economic and Social Council, various Conference Rooms and the United Nations General Assembly Hall. This is the longest an MUN related event has ever taken inside of the United Nations. In total, 81 (eighty one) hours were booked,including nine hours inside the UN General Assembly Hall.
4) 66* Speeches delivered from a podium at the UN HQ: A Model UN Record.
56* statements were made by selected delegates and secretariat, who had an opportunity to deliver a speech from the podium of either the ECOSOC or General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, in addition to 10 UN speakers who delivered statements to the participants throughout the event. The combined number of 60 speeches at the UN, is quite a record for a Model UN related conference. This ordinarily does not occur in regular 4 day Model UN conferences, due to limited time available inside of the UN HQ.
5) United Nations Speakers, Officials, Diplomats & Guests: The MUN Youth Assembly by United Ambassadors was honored to host a number of UN guest speakers who greatly inspired our participants. They included HE Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, La Niece Collins, United Nations Academic Impact, Mr. Maher Nasser, United Nations Department of Public Information Director of Outreach, Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, Ms. Kristen Gutenkunst, United Nations SDG Action Campaign Project Manager, Mr. William Yotive, (former/retired) Project Manager of the UN Global Teaching Project and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, who’s inspiring statement to our participants was delivered by UN Youth Envoy, Mr. Alhendawi. Many thanks to the valued guests in our audience that included Excellencies, Ambassadors and Deputy Permanent Representatives of various UN member states, and the hosts of our Youth Assembly, the Permanent Missions of Jordan and Lebanon to the UN, New York.
Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly, 2016.
6- Valuable Discussions: Aside from speeches delivered on the podium of the ECOSOC & GA in the opening and closing plenary, delegates were invited to speak from their seat in the ECOSOC chamber, or deliver statements inside committee rooms. As a result, various high quality debates and negotiations took place on our list of topics throughout the event, particularly within specialized committees.
These intense discussions led to the production of recommendations from each committee that later became the MUN 2016 resolution.
7- Result: The world’s first MUN Resolution: A 103 clause resolution resulted after ideas proposed by various participants were consolidated into 1 comprehensive, detailed and practically oriented document. See the resolution here.
So, can MUN change the world?
8- What the UN said: “Think about how you can contribute to Agenda 2030. Only you know exactly how you can contribute”. In a following statement, he said: “Don’t ever give up on your dreams. If you believe in something, you can achieve it.”
Mr. Maher Masser, Director of the Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information, Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, UN Youth Envoy and Ms. Nabila Elassar, UA Founder.
And in response to the delegates ideas on UN4MUN successfully growing around the world, the director of outreach of the United Nations stated: “We consider United Ambassadors to be another potential partner in the future.” – Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach, UNDPI.
“In Model United Nations, you simulate the UN, and simulate the issues we discuss at the UN, but this is not just an exercise or simulation. So, the MUN4UN Youth Assembly is a way for you to know how we can move the 2030 Agenda forward as youth in MUN. Move the Model United Nations experience, to one that inspires you to think about the Sustainable Development Goals. We are the first generation that has the tools and resources to eradicate extreme hunger & poverty, and may be the last one that has a chance to do something about Climate Change – No pressure. So, I encourage you to go back and speak up, and keep in mind this monumental task that is ahead if us all – Agenda 2030.”– Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, UN Youth Envoy
Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, United Nations Envoy on Youth.
9- What did our delegates say? The most insightful, inspirational and moving statements were made by our delegates. Aside from their recommendations and discussions throughout the event, the statements made in the General Assembly, and ECOSOC on the question “Can MUN Change The World”, is what assures us that it is in fact possible. Some delegates mentioned specific ways through which they intend on implementing the resolution, like initiatives they planned to start upon returning. Some delegates answered the question generally, and made it clear that they believe MUN is an educational platform that can create global, responsible aware youth citizens. And with that, the answer to the question becomes clear.
10- What we say: Well, we’d rather not say, but do. United Ambassadors is proud to be launching the MUN Hall of Fame Competition, that is inspired by the outcome of this inaugural MUN Youth Assembly, and hopes to recognize MUN leaders who believe that the most successful MUNers can win awards, but can also implement projects or ideas that add value to the Model United Nations experience.
Conclusion – We cannot guarantee whether MUN can change the world. But, we are working to prove that is more than just a dream. This is the ultimate purpose of the world’s first and only Model United Nations Youth Assembly, by United Ambassadors.
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