WorldMUN Vancouver is liveblogged by Larissa Taciuk, a Vancouver native who did MUN at McGill University and staffed at UNA-USA MUN with us
As the city that recently hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Vancouverites like myself are no stranger to welcoming visitors from around the world into our beautiful city. But I’m willing to bet that never before has the city seen such engaged, idealistic, and well-dressed young men and women descend upon it as during the 21st annual World Model United Nations Vancouver 2012 Conference! From March 11-15, delegates will share five days (and nights, reminded Secretary-General Kathleen Tang) debating, writing resolutions, wearing suits, maybe a little partying, and perhaps most importantly, meeting awesome, driven, like-minded people from around the world.
WorldMUN’s Opening Ceremonies were held downtown Vancouver at the beautiful and historic Orpheum Theatre, built in 1927. The “excitement in the building was palpable,” mentioned Murali Chandrashekaran, one of the evening’s speakers, as almost 2000 delegates from over 65 countries descended into the venue. Speeches from Maher Nasser (the current Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information), Jeremy Kinsman (retired Canadian diplomat who’s roles included Canada’s Ambassador in Moscow in 1992 and the Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels from 2002-2006), and Mr. Chandrashekaran (Associate Dean, Professional Graduate Programs in the UBC Sauder School of Business) were enlightening. Some highlights included a promise from Mr. Nasser, on behalf of the United Nations, to increase their commitment to youth and Model United Nations in particular, including the impending appointment of an UN Special Advisor on Youth, and Mr. Kinsman’s excellent advice to delegates to listen more, talk less, and not to be too conservative in their ideas. Mr. Chandrashekaran reminded us that leadership today increasingly meant a process of managing change, highlighting the particularly challenging and important need to manage information and global communications in particular.
Opening Ceremony attendees were also treated to a witty and poignant poem from Barbara Adler, an award-winning Canadian slam poet, as well as performances from Git Hayetsk, an aboriginal dance group who welcomed the audience with songs and dances for peace and victory, and the 2011 Canadian National Hip Hop champions, Freshh.
I look forward to the rest of the week and getting more chances to talk with delegates and attend some incredible events! I’m already loving the good vibes and energy I’ve felt walking through the Vancouver Convention Centre and I know all the hard work and dedication going into this conference from staff and attendees alike will result in an incredible and productive conference – after all, as Mr. Kinsman reminded us, we’ve only got the world to save.
More Opening Ceremonies photos can be found on this Facebook album.