“Smart young people,” tweeted UN Office at Geneva director-general Kassym-Jomart Tokayev after speaking to the introductory ceremony of the 13th Annual Geneva International Model UN conference (GIMUN) on Monday. “I firmly believe your voice is important to our work,” he told the student delegates. “I feel we are at a critical point in the UN and we need to hear from you what kind of world you want to live in.”
Eleven students from Pace University New York City’s Model United Nations program are participating this week at GIMUN, held in the auspicious Palais des Nations — former League of Nations headquarters and current location of the UN Office at Geneva.
The GIMUN conference mirrors its 2012 theme of “Achieving Dialogue and Development through Cultural Diversity.” Participants hail from 49 countries, and committee sessions are simultaneously translated between French and English. Student delegates are discussing a broad range of issues, including conflict in Southeastern Europe and India, the rights of LGBTQ people, multilateral debt relief, the humanitarian impact of climate change, religious freedom and ending poverty.
GIMUN differs from other Model UN conferences by having students participating as translators, bloc representatives and journalists, as well as delegates of member states. It is also highly selective; aspiring delegates had to apply individually to attend. According to the GIMUN recruitment team, only 183 of 390 applicants were invited to come, based on “criteria including experience, motivation, dynamism, leadership, creativity and openness.”
For more information on GIMUN, read this interview with Nicolas Vetterli, president of GIMUN. For regular updates on the conference, follow the daily GIMUN newspaper Perspectives or the official GIMUN Twitter feed and ‘like’ GIMUN on Facebook.
Located only two express subway stops from the iconic United Nations complex on the East River, Pace University’s New York City Model UN program has a 60-year history of excellence in regional, national and international conferences. Model UN at Pace is uniquely integrated into the Political Science curriculum within the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.