“This has been the best academic experience of my life” is one of the sentences worth remembering after C’MUN 2014, which confirms the need of continuing organizing a simulation of the United Nations in Barcelona. In fact, it’s more than a simulation; it’s an engine of change for the youth coming from all continents of the world. We have used the great potential and unique opportunity of engaging C’MUN 2014 to shape the next global decisions as the outcomes are sent to the United Nations councils and committees as well as the European Council. The conference took place from 29th April till 2nd May 2014 in Barcelona and has been an inspiring experience for all the participants.
Despite the fact that the organization and delegates had to face complex and challenging situations, especially but not limited to the economic crisis, before and during the conference, the Model UN of Barcelona has been a success. Throughout the conference we have witnessed how C’MUN serves as an engine of change with what former Secretary-General, Raül Jiménez, referred as the “C’MUN values”: the value of dialogue, of seeking consensus, of plurality, of debating, of empathy, of community and the aim of universality. From here we would like to thank him and acknowledge all his support throughout the years that he has dedicated to empower young people to make a positive difference in the world. C’MUN continues to serve as an engine of change after all these years.
Nowadays, it is not a surprise to mention that we are in times of crisis in many scopes of society. The organization and the delegates had to face very challenging situations and the results proof that we have managed successfully. It hasn’t been a mere international simulation where enthusiastic young people met and discussed; it has been a lot more. It has served as an international arena bridging cultures, from east to west, north and south, among the youth in order to get closer to peace and sustainable development. The world is in a critical situation as we see armed conflicts, destruction of Mother Earth and severe violations of human rights. Therefore, we need change before it’s too late. You may know that when written in Mandarin Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters: one represents danger, the other represents opportunity. During the conference we used this opportunity to engage the global discussion and be part of the solution from now onwards.
The Action Agenda for C’MUN 2014 has highlighted the topics of international security, human rights, status of women, action against corruption, democratic values, migration issues, refugees and ethnic minorities. We would like to recognize all the youth that have been creative and imaginative in finding solutions, yet they have remained enough realistic about our possibilities in order to be able to implement them. Nevertheless, we have recalled what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. So we have urged to all the participants to dream because every positive change in the world starts with each of us and that’s what we have been working on each of the conference’s days:
Day 1: The first day starts with the feeling that we have done all our best with the previous preparations, also with the Chairs informal meetings to make sure all have the same understanding of the rules of procedure. We are ready to spread a lot of positive energy to the world. In the morning thanks to the whole team, but especially to Aleksandra Semeriak, President of EC, and Daniel Gindis, Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, the Training Session was a success that made the start of the conference very dynamic as well as smoother for first-time participants. After registration had been completed in the conference venue, CosmoCaixa as well as UNA-Spain Headquarters, all participants headed to the opening ceremony in the at the Saló de Cent of the Barcelona City Hall, a magnificent historical venue that, despite the crisis, deserves to be maintained. The inauguration was chaired by Mr. Martí, Deputy Mayor for Barcelona, Mr. Tarradellas, Director of the European Commission Representation in Barcelona, Dr. Nair, Director of the United Nations University in Barcelona, as well as UNA-Spain’s presidency, the simulation direction and the chairs of C’MUN 2014 committees and commissions.Many topics were addressed during the speeches notably how youth can make a positive change in the world within the framework of the United Nations values and objectives.
Day 2: The second day of the conference started with extremely relevant guest speakers for each of the committees. The Commission on the Status of Women started with the powerful speech by Mrs. Rosa Ana Alija, PhD in Law and also expert on the topics of the committee: feminicide and violence against women. At the same time in the Alliance of Civilizations Committee, Dr. Sonia Andolz, shared her expertise as highly experienced MUNer and presented how important is to be open to dialogue in order to negotiate as well as an extremely valuable presentation on post-conflict reconciliation and democracy as a universal model. Meanwhile the guest speaker at the Security Council, Dr. Jordi Quero, discussed the concepts of international security and terrorism, especially the cases related to the Middle East and North Africa. At the European Council the key-note speaker was Eduard Sagarra, President of UNA Spain, who introduced the topic of migration and encouraged participants to debate a more European rather than a State to State migration policy. The Human Rights Council received the guest speakers: Juan Cuenca and Maria Lasala from Roca Junyent law ﬁrm that presented the new conflicts that arise in the age of technology with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All Delegates felt that the guest speakers were very relevant to their topics of discussion. After an intense day of opening statements and start of discussions, delegates continued informally negotiating in a more relaxed atmosphere during the social event in the evening at the Hard Rock Café Barcelona, where they proved who had more knowledge about the UN during the Quiz Night.
Day 3: After seeing such a productive first day it wasn’t a surprise to see already the first outcomes during the beginning of the second day of work starting with the presentation of several the working papers and later in the day appeared even the first projects of draft resolution for the UNODC. The participants representing ministers in the European Council had very intense discussions but the toughest ones had been without doubt in the Security Council where More Yahalom and Ali Zain Kara chaired a thrilling session where delegates were giving all of their maximum potential. Every single word had to be rigorously negotiated and thanks to the cooperative approach of leading delegates the work had been equally divided among the different simultaneously created working groups. In all committees we could see how Delegates were taking their job very seriously, with a lot of writing, debating and negotiating using the state-of-the-art producing their best outcomes. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Council had an incredible time working under the leadership of Saudi Arabia which made sure all its proposals in the working paper were approved by an overwhelming majority; they really took seriously the art of diplomacy and negotiating skills in order to convince the others effectively. By the end of the working sessions all committees had introduced a draft resolution and the Alliance of Civilizations as well as the UNODC had passed already their first resolutions and started discussing the second topics of their respective agendas. After the formal sessions Delegates met for the committee dinner to get to know the local Mediterranean culinary culture of Barcelona followed by an improvised social event at one of the most renown cocktail bars of the city.
Day 4: The day started with many draft resolutions being discussed and a considerable number of delegates presented several amendments in all the committees and councils. It was indeed very nice to see how the European Council approved by consensus their final decision. On the contrary, the Security Council after extremely long discussions managed to pass the first resolution on international security and terrorism in North Africa and the Middle East. However, the SC didn’t reach an agreement on the reform of its structure and subsequently refusing to have lunch on time because Delegates were so passionately involved in the discussions. It’s the last day of the simulation and we can see that everyone is so engaged in the simulation that it seems that they are real diplomats and many wished that the conference lasted longer. The final resolutions passed thanks to the dialogue and agreements among Delegates. Finally the closing ceremony arrives with the best delegates, outstanding delegates and best rookies awards. Everyone has done an amazing job and it’s time to recognize it. Surprisingly, delegates coming from IMUNA (Israel) have received a great number of awards in different committees due to their excellent preparation and performance during the conference. Congratulations distinguished delegates! We saw how all these great motivated university students have learned so much about the United Nations and European Union during these days and we have witnessed how much potential they have. I bet some of them will have a bright future as diplomats or even become world leaders. The closing ceremony was also very special having a fully packed conference hall of CosmoCaixa. The key-note speaker of the closing was Miss Guardiola, from the Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Government of Catalonia, that received a big round applause after encouraging youth to become active global citizens as well as change makers. We could keep a couple of great quotes that are worth mentioning and that could sum-up the spirit of the conference that Daniel Gindis couldn’t express any better saying that “in a war there are only losers; so promote peace and become a winner” and “remember that every positive change in the world starts with YOU!”.
After all, many said “This has been the best academic experience of my life” and C’MUN must go on to continue sending a strong message to the “older” generations to empower the future generations of young leaders that shaped by the values of the United Nations will make a difference for a better world. At the end of the day it’s also your world!