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Secretary-General Ban kicks off model U.N. conference

Aug. 11, 2011 - 19:35 By
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday kicked off a U.N. conference where students from some 60 countries will discuss global warming and other pending issues.

“You are an important part of the solution. The world needs your active engagement,” the 67-year-old diplomat told those attending the event in Incheon.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) and Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil (right) attend the opening of a model U.N. conference Thursday at Songdo Convensia in Incheon. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

The twice-elected secretary general offered strong words of encouragement to the university and graduate students taking part in the exercise, placing faith in their future endeavors.

“You will soon be the government officials who negotiate peace; the community leaders who will help feed and shelter the vulnerable; the entrepreneurs and innovators who will get carbon emissions under control; the lawyers and human rights defenders who will fight injustice, impunity and intolerance.”

The annual conference, hosted by the international body and participated in by nearly 1,000 college and high school students, will be held through Sunday under the theme, “Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature.”

Some 650 college students taking part in the conference will hold discussions in accordance with U.N. protocol at the conference, role-playing as diplomats representing a nation of a non-governmental group in simulated U.N. sessions.

“Help shape our world for the better; help us meet the collective tests of our times; and help the United Nations deliver what the world needs at this crucial moment,” said Secretary General Ban.

Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil also addressed the delegates at the Songdo Convensia.

Song talked about Incheon’s tireless efforts to bring such events to the coastal city, including the development and advancement of Incheon International Airport, and the Songdo Global Campus which boasts renowned local and international university campuses.

Cultural events where students exhibit traditional costumes and musical instruments will also be held on the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday and Thursday. A Korean b-boy team will perform at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

By Robert Lee (