Speech for Ghulam M. Isaczai at the 2nd Model UN Summer School

Aug 2, 2016

Dear Young Leaders,

I am delighted to be with you today in this beautiful city of Ismayilli and participate in the second Model UN Summer School opening session.

My sincere congratulations to of you for being selected among hundreds of applicants to this programme. 

At the UNDP, we are extremely honored to be a partner with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the implementation of this important project helping young people to become better leaders of today and tomorrow.

Dear young people and leaders:

You are here to discuss some serious business.

 The choice of topics that have been chosen for you whether they are alternative and clean energy, Boko Haram or resolving conflict between powerful states are issues that threatens the survival of our planet, our humanity and way of life.

But most importantly these are issues that directly affect your present and future as young and adult people.

Therefore, I would like to pass on to you three key messages:

1. Make this one of the most enjoyable learning experiences as you have been presented with a unique opportunity to learn about the complex world of the UN and discuss some of the pressing global challenges that the UN faces.

You also have the opportunity to improve your skills in the art of negotiation, consensus building, public speaking and diplomacy.

These are the key skills you will need throughout your life in every profession that you pursue. Some of you may pursue a career in international politics tomorrow and will be defending the position of your country on the international arena. 

2. We see the Model UN as an excellent instrument to develop what is best in young people: their vision, creative power, and drive to make a substantial difference in our world.

We hope that this experience inspire in all of you a sense of activism, engagement and care for global issues.  

I would like to ask you to look beyond your own group, country and region.

Be a global citizen. Because the issues we face today are not local anymore be it climate change, terrorism and extremism or trade and business.

Today a conflict in one corner of the world upsets global economic order in other parts of the world

Today, excessive and irresponsible industrial activities in few countries threaten our shared environment and food security.  

Today, inequalities between and within countries, creates more conflict and wars around the world.

Therefore, as young people you cannot remain indifferent.

You should not only challenge your leaders, your friends, your colleagues – and even yourselves but inspire those around you to care about the world we share.

Albert Einstein once said: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

3. Support the UN as it is the only mechanism where countries come together to discuss, debate, and reach consensus and agreements on some of the most difficult and complex issues that our and future generations will face.

The UN is still the beacon of hope to millions of destitute and poor people around the world.  

When I was your age, I became a refugee in Pakistan. I left behind my family, my country, my friends and my childhood dreams. Living in a foreign country with no money and no future was pretty depressing but every time I saw that blue logo of the UN it gave me hope and a sense of protection.  From that point onward, the UN remained as an ideal world for me one that I pursued for the rest of my life. 

The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, often repeats “the United Nations is you.” This includes the currently 1.8 billion young people of this planet – the largest generation of youth the world has ever known – and those of you who will participate in the Model UN simulation.

Surely, the UN has its shortcomings as any other system or body but the UN in its 71 years of history has incredible achievements in every sphere of our lives.

The UN prevents conflict by deploying thousands of peacekeeping force between warring sides.

The UN is always in the front line to provide humanitarian and emergency aid to millions of affected population in war and after natural disasters.

The UN provides millions of children with vaccines and medicines to control, TB, Malaria, HIV and polio and other communicable diseases.

Some of the most important global agreements have been reached under the UN umbrella.

One of those agreements that 193 world leaders endorsed were the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with its 17 Goals.

Thousands of young people like you and youth-led organizations participated in the process and influenced the document.

Also, in the Paris Climate change conference last year, 5000 young people adopted the “Young Manifesto” to ensure the voices and concerns of youth are heard during the negotiation process and agreement.

Therefore, your activism works.

In the last decade, the UN has given increasingly more attention to youth affairs.

The SG appointed for the first time a youth envoy to bring voices of young people and represent them in major UN events and policy documents

The First UN SC resolution on Youth, Peace and Security was adopted in December 2015.

There are more UN resources and development work targeted at young people such as this MUN conference.

Therefore, at the UN we are committed to helping young people reach their full potential.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank the Government of Azerbaijan and its leadership for their support and commitment to youth issues and creating such opportunities for young Azerbaijani people.   

I would like to thank to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Azad Rahimov, his deputy, Mr. Intigam Babayev, the head of youth affairs department, Ms. Indira Hajiyeva for their  collaboration to successfully implement this historical project.

I also would like to thank the project focal points and the UN team and all the organizers of this event.

I wish you a pleasant and productive event.

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