It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 20th session of the Cathedral Model United Nations. CMUN is India’s oldest MUN conference, and prides itself on the highest possible quality of debate.
In 1996, the world was a different place, and our school undertook its mission of giving youngsters a platform to voice their views- and more importantly, laid down a template for the generations to come.
The world today has its fair share of problems. Tensions between Israel and Palestine have reached an all-time high, and Daesh continues its reign of terror. The loss of lives seen in Syria has long been consigned to the peripheries of our minds,with no substantive action being taken. The refugee crisis seems to have reached its peak, with the European Union unsure of how many more refugees it can accept. The refugees risk their lives as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean in search of asylum, often in disheartening conditions, aboard unstable barges. Unfortunately, this perilous journey too frequently ends in disaster: in 2015 alone, 1,600 migrants lost their lives traveling from Libya to the European mainland, sometimes within sight of the Italian shore. As these incidents gain international attention, the European Union is now hastily scrambling to contain this humanitarian crisis, and critically address the gaps in its common immigration and asylum policies.
The United States’ military has never been stronger, and nations all around the world are growing increasingly chary of its devastating capabilities. Even as you read, the CIA continues its dominance in terms of intelligence gathering and espionage. Does the much-needed balance between our need for security and desire for privacy really exist?
Moving to the region of Asia - the conflict of the East China Sea has long been neglected as an issue of debate- and yet, the international community has no concrete solution to the problem. Kashmir, too, remains an issue that seems as if it may never be solved. Neither India, nor Pakistan shows any signs of relenting, and the battle between political dominance and the value for human life seems to favouring the former more and more as days go by.
This year, CMUN will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. As a consequence, our Secretariat is striving to produce a conference that will hopefully continue to remain the nonpareil for years to come. This will be the first time CMUN will be hosting five constant crisis committees. Three have been spoken of earlier (namely the Triple JCC), and the fourth is CMUN’s tradition - the Historic Security Council (HSC). The HSC this year will be discussing the conflict in Vietnam, during a tumultuous period we now know as the ‘Cold War’. At number five, we have the Press Corps - again, a CMUN mainstay. The Press Corps will be revolutionised this year, and will aim to be something no aspiring journalist has ever experienced.
Hostility between nations is rising, and now more than ever, diplomacy is the need of the hour. And that, delegates, is where you come in. CMUN is known for gathering the brightest minds of our generation and tackling issues from a fresh perspective. You will solve financial crises, destroy terrorist organisations, debate human rights issues, and perhaps- just perhaps- bring about world peace. You have read about all these issues in the newspapers; now, you will engage with them, analyse every aspect of them, turn them on their head. You will argue sides you do not personally agree with, and debate with your fellow delegates to come up with solutions that benefit everyone. It is, after all, the diplomatic spirit that encapsulates the true essence of any MUN.
This CMUN will be my fifth- and my second as a member of the Secretariat. I fondly remember my times as a delegate as some of the most exciting moments in my life. It is therefore no surprise that this year’s Secretariat hopes to see each and every one of you leave the conference being able to say the same for yourselves. Remember, delegates, that sometimes work can be more fun than fun.
Cathedral Model United Nations 2016.