Dr. Kamal Malhotra’s Speech

with Dr. Kamal Malhotra’s speech at our Opening Ceremony:

Excellency Mr. Phuong Le, President of the General Assembly at the 10th Annual UNIS Model UN;

Excellency Ms. Jina Park, Co Secretary-General of the UN at the 10th Annual UNIS Model UN;

Excellency Ms. Amani Parvathaneni, Co Secretary-General of the UN at the 10th Annual UNIS Model UN;

Dear Model UN representatives from UNIS and other schools;

  • Having had children who participated in many global Model UNs at the UN General Assembly in New York through UNIS New York, having hosted a global Model UN in Malaysia around 7 years ago when I headed the UN there, and spoken at a national Model UN in Turkey a few years later when I was the head of the UN there, I am very glad to be at yet another Model UN this time at the second UNIS in the world in Hanoi. It is particularly inspiring to see such a large and enthusiastic group of more than 350 young adults from approximately 15 schools from all over South-East Asia engaged in global issues. The world needs many more Model UNs all over the world.
  • Together, you present the UN as it should be – people from different countries coming together to tackle the most pressing global challenges, including conflict, climate change and environmental degradation, as well as poverty and injustice, all issues that affect everyone around the globe.
  • The world today is at a critical, unstable conjuncture, as it transitions from a unipolar to multi-polar world order. It is not just this significant geo-political re-ordering of the world that is contributing to increasing instability, but the latter is magnifies because it is accompanied by the dangers of an exclusive not inclusive globalization process which benefits a few disproportionately and marginalizes many. We also have to simultaneously address the many facets of climate change and multiple political crisis, including black swans symbolized by violent extremism of a type that the world has never seen before from non-state actors in the Middle East, Europe and North America but also increasingly in Southeast Asia.
  • Severe and protracted conflicts have resulted in shocking and seemingly endless human suffering, visible in refugee figures that have not been seen since the UN’s creation. The UN Charter, its Member States commitment to multilateralism and the values and principles the Charter embodies, have also never been under as much threat as they are today, not least from many of the very countries that founded the UN less than a century ago.
  • The Charter, nevertheless, remains timeless, and an appropriately reformed United Nations remains critical to our imperfect global governance architecture. Our motivation should continue to derive from the UN’s three interconnected, indispensable founding pillars: peace and security, human rights and development and as we speak and meet here today, the current UN Secretary General has put forward bold proposals to reform the UNs architecture in all three areas.
  • There cannot be development without peace or peace and security without development and neither will be sustainably possible without the fulfilment of core human rights. Agenda 2030 therefore embodies all of the UNs three founding pillars and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that comprise it embody the most ambitious global and universal agenda the world’s leaders have ever agreed.
  • Yours is the first generation which has the opportunity to live in a world without poverty if Agenda 2030 is achieved. At the Model UN, you have the opportunity to broaden your own horizons by learning, discussing and networking. Moreover, your generation will not only need to contribute to the efforts of the United Nations to establish peace and security, secure human rights and enable all people to live in dignity, but you will need to generate new ideas to find innovative, inclusive and long-term solutions to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Many of you have been asked to represent national agendas that you may or may not personally agree with. I am sure you will do so fairly, as open-mindedness is the essence of successful learning and negotiation. The ability to understand and analyse different opinions and positions, including those that you might be opposed to, is one of the most important characteristics that you will need to display this coming week.
  • This years’ theme “Our world – taking care of our home” and the associated topics that you have chosen to discuss in this forum are a testament to the wide range of your interests and the skills which you have gained through your education and personal experiences. You will be able to develop, discuss and approve resolutions that will influence future global and regional discussions of social, economic, humanitarian, cultural, as well as political and security-related issues. This will also help you understand the complexity of discussing and trying to find solutions to the tragically widening and too often protracted conflicts of our time.
  • Finding solutions to these daunting issues and problems is a difficult task. But the UN has proven, at various stages of its history, and continues to prove that it can rise to new challenges. Your support and voice will be of crucial importance to the world you will live in, and I look forward to seeing the results of your discussions. As leaders of the future, you have the duty to propose innovative approaches in this MUN which will be required to help confront both the challenges of our time and the future.
  • Model UN representatives: allow me to conclude on a serious but lighter note by saying that following your example at this year’s Model UN session at UNIS Hanoi, I sincerely hope that, in the future, we will have a woman UN Secretary-General or even Co-Secretaries General. At this stage, in the real politik geo-political world of today, at the UN, we have only managed to achieve having a very impressive woman Deputy Secretary General!  
  • I thank you all for your commitment, and wish you a most stimulating conference!