Nine university students from around the world have been chosen through a competitive process to form the Secretariat of the first-ever Global Model United Nations Conference. The announcement was made during a brief ceremony in the General Assembly Hall at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The Conference, organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information, will be held in Geneva from 5 to 7 August, and bring together the best university-level students from Model UN programmes around the world under the theme “The Millennium Developments Goals: Lifting the Bottom Billion out of Poverty”.
Hannah Moosa (South Africa) was selected as the first Secretary-General of the Global Model UN; Jin-Soo Huh (United States) as Deputy Secretary-General; Gong Ting (China) as Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management; Daniel Walter (Switzerland) as Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; and Aneliya Nazirova (Russian Federation) as Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
Selected to serve as Secretaries to four of the General Assembly's six Main Committees were Roberto Vinicius P.S. Gama (Brazil), First Committee (Disarmament and International Security); Dennis K.A. Penu (Ghana), Second Committee (Economic and Financial); Samafilan Ainan (United Republic of Tanzania), Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural); and Syed Nishat Kazmi (Pakistan), Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee).
“I am humbled and honoured to be chosen to serve in the position of Secretary-General of the first Global Model UN and I hope to bring my knowledge and expertise to bear on this important UN initiative,” said Ms. Moosa, a 24-year-old doctoral student at the University of Toronto. “In this role, I hope to help to educate youth in the Millennium Development Goals, to raise awareness of what the United Nations does, and help to bring more attention to the Organization's work in social and economic development.”
All those selected to the Global Model UN Secretariat have wide leadership experience in their respective national Model UN conferences and in international Model UNs. Together they bring a range of disciplines -- including medicine, law, economics, international relations and international politics -- to their task of planning and organizing the Global Model UN Conference.
Attending a three-day workshop organized by the Department of Public Information, the nine students gained invaluable insights into the Organization's workings and interacted with senior officials. They also delivered individual presentations on the question “How can the Global Model UN engage youth in achieving the Millennium Development Goals?”
The presentations focused primarily on the role of the Global Model UN in young people's lives. In her presentation, Ms. Nazirova, Global Model UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said: “Life is not about taking, but sharing what you have with others, so let us give the deprived more hope”. Mr. Penu, Global Model UN Secretary to the Second Committee said: “The Global Model UN Conference can engage the world youth to learn, live and lead to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
Through the Global Model UN Conference, youth will be empowered to engage effectively and actively with the public, as well as local authorities, national Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector. The Secretariat officials hope that through their participation in the Conference, the Organization's work will be better understood by youth, and that the voice of young people will be strengthened at the United Nations.
The student Conference, which will become an annual event, aims to serve as a model of best practices for Model UN conferences. It will involve youth in all aspects of the planning process and encourage the establishment of new Model UN programmes where they do not exist. Furthermore, it is expected that the Global Model UN will inspire the next generation of leaders to become involved in national and global issues.
The Global Model UN Conference will introduce rules of procedure that closely represent how the United Nations functions, and give students access to United Nations officials prior to, and during, Conference deliberations. The Department of Public Information will provide training materials and online tools that will allow participants to collaborate using new communication technologies. The Conference will significantly expand and deepen the Department's outreach to youth, a top priority for the United Nations.
Approximately 1,000 university-level students between the ages of 18 and 24 will be invited to participate in the Conference. The selection of student delegates by their peers was done during the latter months of 2008 and is expected to continue in 2009.