Ending Human Suffering: Reassessing the United Nations' Role in a Globalized World

November 16, 2016
November 19, 2016

It is truly our great honor to welcome you to BERMUN XXV. Throughout the last decades, our conference has dramatically evolved; originating as a program with the purpose of opening dialogue between East and West Berlin, the Berlin Model United Nations is now an international program attended by over 700 participants from dozens of countries. After 25 years, we step back, in order to reflect on the very organ which we have simulated.

We all know how crucial the UN is in maintaining multilateralism, good governance, and development around the world. Months ago, the four of us talked for hours about potential themes for our 25th anniversary conference. It was clear that we could not settle for fragments of recycled UN agendas -- and instead, we wanted to look at the bigger picture, in all of its depth. At its heart, we believe, the UN was designed to dismantle human suffering, and it seems fitting that BERMUN approach this very concept in the most direct way. Model UN can easily be mistaken for an overly stylized academic exercise. Perhaps at one time or another, you too have felt that it glosses over the realities of the nations it strives to represent.

When we consider the issues that our generation faces -- mass migration, the rise of non-state actors, the ever-evolving landscape of security and technology -- the urgency of the UN’s deliberations seem all the more apparent. Our conference needed to reflect the concreteness of that urgency. We were especially inspired by Michele Mitchell’s The Uncondemned -- a legal documentary that refuses to shy away from the facts of the Rwandan Genocide. In the same way, we hoped our conference would look at the most pressing of issues with a certain level of responsibility, reflection, and decisiveness. Thus, BERMUNXXV has taken a new approach.

Almost six months ago, we met with our Student Officers to select committee topics that we all felt required reevaluation and special consideration. These are some of the most challenging subjects we have ever placed on the agenda for BERMUN. At the same time, everything from our speeches to the concept art for our posters is meant to be entirely anti-superficial. We cannot afford to be. Instead, we return to the most basic of the UN’s goals: to preserve peace and promote human rights. It is, in our opinion, the same age-old task that we must approach with a new set of a tools. Delegates, as rising diplomats, policymakers, and thinkers, we hope that you will approach BERMUN and your committee topics with more creativity and clarity than ever.

All the best,

The 2016 BERMUN Secretariat

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