On the 14th of August 2017, the 6th edition of BerlInMUN officially started with the opening ceremony. This year’s conference is dedicated to “Future Generations.”
The president of the BerlInMUN association Hannah Bergmann opened the ceremony on Monday, the 14th of August, by welcoming the participants that have arrived from all around the world. Hannah is happy about the diversity of the conference and stressed the development of Berlin from dictatorship to democracy and from separation to unification and asks the participants to be understanding, respectful and compromising. She demands chairs, delegates and journalists to question stereotypes and to “step out of [their] comfort zone and make friends”.
The representative of the European Commission in Germany Richard Kühnel then held a speech about the European concept of diplomacy and supranationalism. He likes the idea to see through the eyes of others and to “build friendships that last for many years”. After Brexit, as Kühnel continued, there is the need of change in the European Union that will be the future of our kids. The Europeans should ask the right questions in a global framework to also overcome national concepts and to spread European values around the world. Countries should not be isolative but engage with others while also speaking up human rights standards. He also hopes for more passion, self-confidence and optimism in the EU since this is “what we all deserve”.
Franz Baumann, German former UN official, who served as Assistant Secretary-General in New York, claims for wisdom and engagement and for cooperation of states and people, stressing challenges like climate change and the already successful reduction of poverty and fights for gender equality. The aim of the UN is not only to keep peace as it was at its foundation but it goes far beyond now with a cooperation on many levels and in many fields of internationality. However, Baumann is also aware of criticism to the marginalization of the UN as principles such as equality and universality and effectiveness are often contradictory. International challenges require cooperation and rational discussions. Baumann concludes by asking: “How can cooperation be organized to be effective?” As the UN is an organization of states, represented by governments, is makes it difficult for the youth to get involved into its work and to get an insight into it, Baumann agrees to a question from the audience. Another point is the fear of Baumann that the Security Council might get marginalized and even more ineffective when it would get enlarged, Baumann answered to the question about the criticism of the unfairness and ineffectiveness of the SC. There are tendencies of more authoritative and more democratic governments, people and societies, but universality means to compromise on certain goals and standards, Baumann says.
Emma Vermunicht, having started two years ago by representing South Africa in the African Union, is honoured to have come back to BerlInMUN to be the Secretary-General of this year’s conference together with her Deputy Secretary-General Lorcán Hyde. Emma stressed the importance of future generations that our generation is responsible for and appeals to everyone to learn from the past and change our habits. She encourages the delegates to be courageous which is what MUNs are for – tackling new challenges, finding new solutions and helping future generations which teaches new skills by cooperating, discussing and participating. Emma: “Enjoy the city, the enriching debates and BerlInMUN!”
by Karina Blommen