Article provided by BERMUN Press team Eleanor Kelly and Rebekka Schoell
This year, over 500 delegates from around the world gathered at the John F. Kennedy School for the 22ndannual BERMUN conference. They debated critical topics ranging from the right to education to the situation in Syria and regulations on cyberterrorism. As in previous years, BERMUN succeeded in providing students with valuable insight into world affairs, as well as giving them the opportunity to form intercultural friendships.
The conference began on the afternoon of November 20th with an opening ceremony at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. The Secretariat, composed of four John F. Kennedy High School students, warmly welcomed the General Assembly and introduced this year’s conference topic of education being the key to advancement, equality, and a secure future. Markus Jungnickel, Secretary-General, along with guest speaker, Professor Dr. Thomas Rommel, highlighted the importance of education for all and how social and financial backgrounds do, but should not, influence access to education.
The Youth Assembly (YA) had a separate opening ceremony at the Taipei Representative Office in Berlin. The YA is a distinct body of the BERMUN conference, in which participants devise reasonable action plans that they will carry out in their schools and communities. Alex Schaper, JFKS alumni and YA co-founder, conducted a motivational workshop at the ceremony.
The remaining days within each committee were spent in debate. The General Assembly (GA) consisted of four committees, each discussing subjects pertaining to both the conference topic and the topic within their own group. In addition to the GA, the Security Council debated its internal structure, which impacts its efficiency, as well as the ongoing Syrian crisis. Meanwhile, the newly created Historical Security Council made its debut with the topic of the 2003 conflict in Iraq. The Special Conference debated a number of educational topics, whilst the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) debated scientific advancement, digital divide, and the human dignity of migrants and refugees. Another separate entity of BERMUN was the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ruled on the issue of whaling in Japan and Australia.
Friday, November 22nd marked the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. In honor of its host school’s namesake, BERMUN commemorated JFK at the conference. Each committee viewed a brief video provided by the BERMUN Press Corps and held an honorary moment of silence. As Kennedy’s legacy included education for all in addition to international cooperation, it merged well with the theme of this conference.
Not only did delegates simulate foreign diplomats and contribute to drafting resolutions, they also raised over 1400 Euros that will directly benefit the victims of the recent disaster in the Philippines. This was originally brought to light in the Opening Ceremony, when JFKS student, Sophia Natividad, delivered an inspiring speech on the country’s current state, and two Filipino singers sang a native song in heartfelt tribute.
All in all, the conference was a very successful time of debate and creation of international friendships, providing everyone involved with long-lasting memories.