The second installment of MUNSC Salient, organized by the United Nations Association of Slovenia, successfully concluded on July 15th. The conference was held under the honorary patronage of Mr Borut Pahor, the President of Slovenia.
The conference took place between July 11 and 15, 2016 at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Fundamentally a youth conference, the aim of MUNSC Salient is to supplement the traditional Model United Nations (MUN) experience with educational content in form of interactive lectures, roundtables and workshops. The 70 participants of the conference hailed from Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey. The overarching topic this year was “Contemporary Inequalities” and all three simulated committees saw fervent discussions on related issues. The UN Security Council discussed the threat posed by youth radicalization to international peace and security; the UN Human Rights Council discussed the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity; and the European Council revisited the future of EU policy in the post-migration era.
The opening ceremony included several keynote speakers: Professor Dr Bojko Bučar, the president of the United Nations Association of Slovenia; Mr Martin Nesirky, Director of the United Nations Information Service Vienna, via video address; and Ms Veronika Bošković Pohar, Deputy Director General for Multilateral Affairs, Development Cooperation and International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. The first public event after the opening ceremony featured H.E. Mr Mykhailo Brodovich, the Ambassador of Ukraine in the Republic of Slovenia, who spoke about some of the issues faced by the Ukrainian people and government, titled: “Lost Generations: humanitarian crises, development challenges and youth.” His address was followed by a public lecture by Professor Dr Maja Bučar on the topic of the development-migration nexus.
The second day saw the commencement of formal discussions within the simulated committees at the conference, as well as the roundtable titled “the (Multi)cultural Future of Europe” attended by Mr Matjaž Gruden, Director of Policy Planning at the Council of Europe; Dr Neža Kogovšek Šalamon, Director of Peace Institute; Mr Ervin Hladnik Milharčič, journalist and publicist; and moderated by Dr Ana Bojinović Fenko, Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences. The panellists tackled the topic from several unique points of view, providing the event attendees with a comprehensive overview of the issues related to multiculturalism, migration flows and integration, human rights protection and future European policy prospects in these areas.
On the third day of the conference we hosted an exclusive discussion with H.E. Mr Paolo Trichilo, the Ambassador of the Italian Republic in Slovenia, on the topic of “Assisting vulnerable Populations: – Italy’s Experience with Refugees.” The final workshop was in fact conference-long, having started on the first day after the opening ceremony and persisted until the last day of formal discussions. In the context of this workshop, the participants of the conference were divided into two asymmetrical groups – the privileged, enjoying several simple benefits, and the unprivileged, enjoying no benefits. Doing this, we sought to evoke a sense of injustice and inescapabality from the structures through which we maintain the status quo. The participants were thus surrounded by the “inequalities” agenda at all times during the conference, both in formal and informal contexts.
The conference was concluded with a lively closing ceremony which took place at the Municipality of Ljubljana and closing remarks by the Mayor of Ljubljana, Mr Zoran Janković.
The conference was supported by Central European Initiative, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana and Faculty of Social Sciences. The MUNSC Salient 2016 Team deeply thanks all the contributors for their support and trust.