Berlin Conference (1884-85)

Topic Area Summary:

Since the beginning of 1880, the African continent has been ravaged by war and conflict, including the Mahdist War, Mandingo War, Basuto Gun War, Anglo-Zulu War and the First Boer Wars. Apart from these wars, there have been numerous other direct and indirect attempts by European countries to attain geographical and economic dominance in Africa.

The aforementioned ‘Scramble for Africa’ has left Europe in turmoil, with tensions between opposing colonial empires rising at an alarming rate. The 1885 Berlin Conference marked the beginning of a long era of fierce rivalry and economic competition amongst the major powers of Europe, along with the sudden rise to prominence and power of Imperial Germany, further intensifying the fight for European Supremacy amongst all nations.

Organised by Otto von Bismarck, this conference encompassed 13 European countries along with the United States with one sole aim – the ‘peaceful’ colonisation of Africa amongst the countries present. The rest is history.

Your committee will begin after Otto von Bismark’s opening speech of the conference. The focus of the conference will be on all matters relevant to the colonisation of Africa, including discussion on free trade as well as territorial disputes. However, keep in mind that while this committee’s focus is largely on Africa, the world is not devoid of tension, and European powers will not stop at anything to gain power. The fate of an entire continent hangs in the balance, and the members of the conference must come to an agreement before it’s too late.


Letter from the Director:

Welcome to the Berlin Conference! My name is Akshaan Parikh, and I am a senior at the Cathedral and John Connon School. More importantly, however, I have the pleasure of being the Director of this committee at CMUN 2017. I have been involved in Model UN for the past several years, and it is something that I am immensely passionate about. As a delegate, I have attended several international and national conferences including HMUN, Boston. In terms of staffing, I had the pleasure of being Assistant Director of the World Health Organisation at CMUN 2016.

Something that I believe has sparked my passion for Model UN’s is my love for history and politics. Apart from MUN’s I enjoy playing and watching sports, especially football.

In just three days, you will have to decide the fate of not one but two continents and thus shape the future of global imperialism. This great task has fallen upon you, and I am excited to see how you discuss, debate and ultimately settle on a solution. Also, I am excited to see how you react to the crises we throw your way. On a side note, though some amount of Machiavellianism might find its place in committee, it should never replace substance. I believe that the mark of a good committee is the overall experience of the delegates. And to that, the Secretariat here at the Cathedral MUN will do our very best to ensure that you have an experience that is unparalleled to all others.

I greatly look forward to meeting and getting to know you. If you have any questions or concerns or just want to introduce yourselves, please do not hesitate to reach out to me - I would love to hear from you, feel free to contact me at

Until August,

Akshaan Parikh,
Director, Berlin Conference,
Cathedral Model United Nations 2017.