Welcome Message from the UN Secretary-General
UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL
H.E. MR. BAN KI-MOON
MESSAGE TO THE 3rd GLOBAL MODEL UNITED NATIONS
I am pleased to greet all participants in the third Global Model UN Conference organized by the United Nations. Your interest in international affairs comes at a time when young people are playing a growing role in shaping our world. The revolutions sweeping North Africa and the Middle East have been led largely by youth, who have made up for their lack of political power and military might with dedication, creativity and courage. The results have left a remarkable imprint.
These youth and others around the world are re-making the way we achieve social and political change. They are confounding dictators and authoritarians who stand in the way of progress. Regimes that depend on shows of force may be well-equipped to fight armies and rebels, but they are completely unprepared to battle Facebook and Twitter.
Around the world, rigid hierarchies are giving way to decentralized networks. Today, position in society matters less than how much energy and principled action a person brings to a cause. This new paradigm offers expansive opportunities for young people to make their mark.
The noble principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter have long inspired people to overcome injustice, from the fight against racism to the struggle for women’s equality, from the drive for fair treatment of persons with disabilities to the battle to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. What has changed recently is the speed of our connections, the distance our messages can travel, and the degree to which we can link likeminded peoples and movements to achieve shared goals.
Advancing human progress in harmony with nature, the theme of your meeting, demands just this sort of collective action. The ecosystems and resources you will inherit have been subjected to unprecedented stress and exploitation. Different countries and societies have made very different contributions to this state of affairs, but all should be able to agree that it is unsustainable – and that we need to find a more balanced and sustainable approach.
It may be difficult for some members of the older generation to imagine how we can fundamentally transform lifestyles and consumption patterns, or how we can create a more equitable world. But I am confident there are few such limits on your ability to envision a better tomorrow. I urge you to use this Model United Nations conference to start planning for it today. The skills and understanding you gain through this experience will serve you well in the future as you advance the goals of the United Nations and help build a better world for all.