Future leaders to cut teeth at model UN forum

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Future leaders to cut teeth at model UN forum


Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil gives a lecture about future world leaders on the first day of the Global Model UN Conference, the only mock UN conference arranged by the world body, in Incheon yesterday. The five-day conference has drawn 646 college students from 61 countries. [YONHAP]

The Global Model UN Conference, the only mock UN conference arranged by the world body, began its five-day schedule in Incheon yesterday. 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who sent prerecorded video messages for the previous two editions, is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech today on his first appearance at the event. 

This year’s theme is “Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature.”

Ban will also give a special lecture to a group of Korean students today at the conference, which was designed to arm future leaders with an opportunity to acquire leadership skills and experience in consensus building and conflict resolution. 

This year, 400 high school students from Incheon will make up the numbers after they were invited to attend as observers. Some 200 UN and government officials, as well as press corps have also registered.

The annual event has drawn 646 college students - including 70 Koreans - from 61 countries, almost double the number last summer in Kuala Lumpur. The conference has grown from a three-day event in Geneva two years ago.

This week’s forum will see college students aged 18 to 24 take on the assumed role of diplomats in simulated UN sessions, including ones that replicate the body’s General Assembly. 

Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil signed an agreement in January with Kiyotaka Akasaka, the UN’s under secretary general for communications, to cooperate in hosting the pseudosummit. 

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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