On Friday, December 5th, 2014, the largest Model UN conference south of the Fraser River opened with remarks from George Somerwill, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.
Here is an excerpt of the address entitled, The Shock of the Possible: Making the UN More Relevant in a Cruel World.
“There are some people who say that the world is heading towards a confluence of disastrous events. I don’t agree with that statement, but if we as the human race don’t start to make some radical changes in the way in which we interact with each other and our planet…then we may well face some kind of worldwide disaster.
What kinds of mechanisms are available to us that can make an impact? There are some general considerations we should think about. I believe these work for us as individuals, but they can and must also work for us at the national or international governmental or institutional level.
Values/Goals: Justice, Equality (gender and racial, economic); Inclusivity, Discourse/Discuss.
Listen: …to others, analyze what are they really saying. Watch out for political ‘spin’. Think about what they are saying and what action needs to be taken? How can you as an individual respond?
Speak: This will be your first political act on an issue: outreach; clear and transparent; “this is what I/we think.” “This is what I/we will do.” How you follow up your speaking is critical.
Act: Your choice of action is critical. Your second political act. A plan of action demonstrating your ideals or goals.
These three things – Listen – Speak – Act should in the best of all worlds be how you, and the UN – the international community – responds to the threat of conflict. Clearly, we know it is not so simple. If it were, there would be no Syrian civil war or tension in Iraq or Nigeria or elsewhere. Syria still dragging on after 4 years. And with no war, ISIL would perhaps be less powerful.”