By Mawuli Affognon.
This is my last blog post for the 18th Geneva International Model United Nations Annual Conference. I would just like to let you know. I hate writing in the first person. I don’t like talking much about my life not because I don’t think it’s that interesting, but that’s how it is. From 25th to 31st March 2017, I watched young people from all around the world debate a variety of topics. I saw conviction, emotions and bursts of laughter. I worked with ambitious young people; worried about their image and under pressure to be successful in life. It was the first time that I’d spent a few days in Geneva. It’s often just a transit city for other destinations around the world. This Swiss city is beautiful, particularly because of its buildings, but above all these people that come from all seven continents. Over the course of the week, the gaze of the woman who was serving the NATURA menu at the restaurant has intrigued me. I would have liked to have asked her opinion on the issues that our delegates have been discussing over the last six days. Does she have an opinion on international politics?
Within these beautiful institutions with its impressive walls, sometimes it is easy to forget about the little cogs in the big wheel. The woman who wakes up early in the morning to clean, the gardener who looks after the flowers or the cook behind stoves that light up to the appetite of the undeterred men and women. I drank a lot of coffee to keep up. I arrived in Geneva on the evening of 24 March from Paris, where I had participated in UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week on behalf of KEKELI LAB based in Togo. In other words, I was tired when I arrived in the city of the Jet d’Eau. But I wanted to do this. I have to admit that I didn’t drink just coffee; vanilla chocolate and vanilla milk were also favourites of mine. I confess. I had the honour of meeting the lady who was in charge of the big coffee machine. Yes, it was an immense honour to meet the person that made magic possible. I think that our world would be more peaceful if we had the humility to observe and to give a voice to those who often do not have one. I’m going to stop there so I don’t miss my train to Lausanne.
In a few years’ time, I hope the young people who had simulated UN negotiations will not lose their innocence, their faith in humanity and their desire for a better world. Many of them will represent governments, multi-nations, powerful lobbyist groups over the coming years, and I hope they don’t succumb to the animal face of humanity. I hope that they don’t succumb to the desire for destruction and the greed that lives in each one of us. As for me, I’ll be heading back to my life as an African student in Europe. Like our world, I think I need love and to smile.
Long live GIMUN! May peace reign over our families in the regions of the world where the greed for surplus value and the murderous madness of trigger-happy madmen reside.
About five months ago now, hundreds of students from all around the world were reunited at the UN headquarters in Geneva for the annual GIMUN conference. During a week, time stopped, and almost all boundaries vanished. The excitement around this event is like no other! It starts when you first apply to participate. For most of us I think, it began with a leap of faith and a few expectations here and there. Until we received that first email, the kind that turns your day around. It says: ”Congratulations, you have been selected for the 18Th annual conference of GIMUN”
And that’s when the real adventure begins…
All of us, no matter the mission, we had during this conference had to get to work at that point. Whether it was, writing study guides, designing the Journal (GIMUN chronicles), setting up the program, preparing proposals and much more.
Then came the Big day. On March 25th. We all met at UNI Bastion in Geneva, and even though we were all over eighteen, we could sense this childlike feeling, in the atmosphere, that one can experience at every age when discovering a new world, or getting into one that he or she loves.
It was a Saturday, the first day of the preparation week-end; leading towards our very first day of work inside the UN, on Monday. Meeting the people that we talked to on WhatsApp or via email, for the first time, sharing first impressions and expectations, and of course running around getting everything ready for the conference.
During our week and the UN headquarters, I felt like we all lived a life-changing experience, to a greater or lesser degree.
When I started my work as a journalist, I was immediately impressed with the involvement of the delegates, who for most of them seemed so young, but so well prepared and passionate about their subjects.
Watching them throughout the week, getting more comfortable and professional each day, made me understand their love for diplomacy. It, in fact, holds the great power to bring people’s mind’s together, before and beyond anything else. Diplomacy is a chance to really communicate and be heard, as there are so few in the outside world.
My personal experience was not only a fulfilling professional one but also a very enriching human one. First with the Press and Media team, which I think wouldn’t be exaggerated to qualify as “my family for a week.“ And with all the USG’s I got to interview and learn about behind the scenes work.
And finally, comes this one encounter that leaves us with the best memories, and the motivation to keep up the good work. I had the chance to meet and share moments with people who traveled all the way from Egypt, USA, or Ghana for example, and I realize we share the same hopes and values…and even the same humor!
The MDGs established in 2000 by international agreement are probably the most significant major attempt to defeat poverty ever undertaken. The UN set out eight development goals to reduce global poverty substantially by 2015. They are viewed as basic human rights – the rights of every person on earth to health, education, shelter and security. Reasons for variable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets can be determined through examining different regions. These include Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Read the rest of this entry »
By Lama El Khamy & Michelle Bognuda
@Lamaelk_GIMUN | @mbognuda_gimun
Alas, along with your final committee sessions comes our final issue. This conference had it all: fierce debates, laughs, and long queues (especially the fight for coffee!). We hope that your week has been as fun and successful as ours. The conference was filled with many surprises which made it all the more interesting, like for instance the opening ceremony concert. We have been graced with guest speakers and debates that have filled our brains with more information that we could ever ask for. Our last three guest speakers are featured in this issue, and we managed to get informative interviews with two of them.
Memories were made and friendships were created. Try to keep in touch with the people that you have encountered here, because they might just be the most important people you’ve ever met.
If you have not saved a copy of each of our issues and would like to see them again, do not worry, we have a solution for you. You can find us on the GIMUN website, or on GIMUN’s blog ‘UNO You Know’. We hope you enjoy your last read of the GIMUN Chronicles, 2017.
As a final word, we would like to share with you a quote from the eternal Dante Alighieri:
“Considerate la vostra semenza: fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza” (Inferno, XXVI)
“Consider well the seed that gave you birth: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge” (Inferno, XXVI)
See our articles
Read more about it at https://issuu.com/nathborys/docs/friday_31st_march_gimun_newspaper
By Meryl Brucker & Valentina San Martin
La semaine bat son plein, commençant peu à peu à s’essouffler pour bientôt toucher à sa fin. Prochainement, cette 18ème édition du GIMUN 2017 s’inscrira dans les mémoires de chacun d’entre nous comme un souvenir figé dans le passé. Il est temps de prendre conscience qu’il ne nous reste plus que quelques heures pour profiter de l’ambiance intense des débats et de la solennité du Palais des Nations qui accueillait encore hier la présidente du Chili. Il est temps de prendre conscience que l’expérience humaine dans laquelle nous sommes plongés va bientôt se terminer, et que nous avons probablement manqué quelques occasions de rendre cette semaine encore plus inattendue et sans pareil qu’elle ne l’est déjà. Avez vous saisi la chance de parler à votre voisin qui vient peut-être de l’autre bout du monde et qui n’a pas eu le temps de vous raconter son histoire? Avez-vous eu l’opportunité de partager la diversité de vos opinions avec vos collègues? Dans cette avant-dernière édition, nous vous proposerons notamment de retrouver nos invités d’honneur Didier Péclard et Abel-Hamid Mamdouh. Enfin, il est temps de partager vos avis sur les grandes questions abordées lors de leurs discours. Au plaisir de vous retrouver sur les réseaux sociaux…
Read more about at https://issuu.com/nathborys/docs/thursday_march_30th_gimun_newspaper
By Lama El Khamy & Michelle Bognuda
@Lamaelk_GIMUN | @mbognuda_gimun
There were so many of them, and they all arrived in a mass. They came from all over, at different times and in different ways. Some were tired, some were excited. They were all anxious about what lied ahead. Mostly, they came, because they wanted to pave a better future for themselves and those that they cared about.
So many people wanted to cross the border, and not all of them managed to do it. Some had friends from within the walls and knew what to expect, others had no idea whatsoever of what they would find. They swarmed in, all at once, and the locals were overwhelmed.
However, everything turned to be fine. Indeed, it was an utter success. People from all over the world were together, in the same place, and they discussed freely. They exchanged different points of view and they learned from each other. After a week of debating they unfortunately had to leave the Palais des Nations, because the Annual Conference had come to an end. They
loved it though, and leaving was bittersweet. They left the UNOG as better versions of themselves. Their views and horizons were better and grander than they were on registration day at Uni-Bastions. They promised their new friends to keep in touch, and they promised themselves to apply to GIMUN again the year after.
* * *
Yes, dear delegates and staff, this introduction was indeed about the conference, and not about illegal immigrants. But, Marco Sassoli’s contribution to the Human Rights Committee yesterday struck a nerve with us, and we wanted to tease your mind. As you will see if you check our article about his speech, he talked about diversity and immigration, among other things. And he talked about legal immigration as a possibility of solving a lot of the problems that we hear about, like raft accidents and so forth. If you were not there, ask your friends who were to bring you up to speed.
So, work hard in your committees. Learn how to debate, and use this invaluable skill to tackle discussions and topics such as that of Mr. Sassoli, even with people who don’t have your same frame of mind. We need this now, more than ever. Or, as Director General Michael Møller said, tagging us on Twitter, “faites entendre votre voix, participez dans le débat”!
By Valentina San Martin & Meryl Brucker
@ValSanMar | @MerylBk_GIMUN
Depuis quelques heures, la conférence annuelle de GIMUN 2017 bat son plein. Vous-mêmes, participants, êtes au coeur de cette expérience qui ne fait que débuter. N’est-il pas excitant de savoir que les débats, mais aussi les évènements post-conférence, vont continuer à se succéder au cours de cette semaine, alors que les rencontres et les discussions ne feront que s’intensifier ? Les articles du jour aborderont des thèmes tout à fait sérieux comme les injections létales ou le maintien de la démocratie. Ceux-ci seront agrémentés de clichés de la journée d’hier ainsi que d’autres divertissements variés. De quoi certainement patienter en vue de se retrouver ce soir autour d’une boisson rafraîchissante pour éventuellement élargir les débats. En ce qui vous concerne, sachez, chers participants, que nous savons que vous avez oeuvré pour cette conférence et que le résultat qui s’ensuit n’a pu être possible que grâce à des efforts continuels de la part de chacun d’entre vous. Il est désormais temps d’en récolter les fruits ou plutôt de «manger le gâteau », comme l’a si bien dit notre cher Secrétaire Général, Charles Bonfils-Duclos, lors de sa dernière interview. Nous voulons que vous savouriez ce gâteau, que vous partagiez ce plaisir via Twitter, Instagram ou même Snapchat ! Nous comptons sur vous pour faire de cette conférence la meilleure expérience genevoise possible car vous l’avez bien mérité. Sur ce mot de la fin, nous aimerions vous remercier pour votre ouvrage.