|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference on 2011 Global Model United Nations Conference
Introducing the student leaders of the 2011 Global Model United Nations Conference, planned for Incheon, Republic of Korea, 10-14 August, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information said today that such events helped mobilize students to engage in United Nations issues.
“This deliberation by students will pave the way for the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012,” Kiyo Akasaka said at a Headquarters press conference, noting that the theme of this year’s event was “Sustainable Development: Advancing human progress in harmony with nature”. “I am very happy to work with young leaders on that issue,” he said.
Introduced by Mr. Akasaka, and joining him at the podium, were Tatiana Makarova of the Russian Federation, who will be serving as the Secretary-General at the Conference, and Dongyeop Lee of the Republic of Korea, who will be the President of the General Assembly. As he also introduced Oliver Pase of Australia, who will be Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Akasaka paused for a moment of recognition. “He’s me,” he said.
This was the third annual such Conference organized by the Department of Public Information in coordination with United Nations associations around the world and host countries, Mr. Akasaka said, with the previous ones having being held in Geneva and Kuala Lumpur. (See also Press Release PI/1987 of 8 June 2011)
He said that this year, new rules of procedure would more closely reflect those of the United Nations and the student leaders would have more access to the world Organization. “We hope that it will be a good model of the model United Nations of the world, which mobilize half a million university students,” he said.
Taking the microphone next, Ms. Makarova, noting that soon all the delegates would begin their journeys from around the world to unite in Incheon, pledged to work hard to make the Conference a memorable experience for them, and to make them “fall in love with the United Nations”. She hoped that the Conference would also “make sure that this young generation will make our economy green”.
Mr. Lee expressed his pride in the Conference as a Korean, and noted that, as individual students, it was hard to change the state of the world, but coming together in Incheon, he hoped they would have influence. He hoped the Conference would help enlighten youth around the world, so they could then influence and prompt the right changes in the minds of global leaders.
Listing the names of the student leaders who would chair the various General Assembly committees, he said that the topics to be discussed in each committee would relate to the committee’s area of expertise, combined with the sustainable development theme. For example, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) would discuss green energy, among other topics.
Mr. Pase said that the Model United Nations brought to the fore the realities of the United Nations, and made young people feel like they have the ability to make a difference. Only in its third year, the Global Model United Nations already had the reputation of being the pinnacle of the Model United Nations experience, and was preparing students to become involved in a complex set of issues.
Asked how she had been selected to be Secretary-General and if there had been more than one candidate, Ms. Makarova said that 10 people had been nominated from around the world in a long and difficult process. Debates and interviews had followed. “It was hard to get here, but I am humbled and honoured,” she said.
In response to other questions, the students explained that delegates were assigned to represent specific countries, often not their own. The objective was to represent them in good faith to the best of their abilities. The countries they represented were selected by the Department of Public Information.
On financing, Mr. Akasaka said that the Conferences did not have a regular budget, but that the Department had a partnership with the World Federation of United Nations Associations, as well as with the United Nations Foundation. Many national United Nations associations organized their own Model United Nations and provided financial support to the Global event. Beside various other extrabudgetary contributions, some students used their own financial resources, or raised money themselves.
* *** *For information media • not an official record