UN Secretary General calls for surge in diplomacy for peace
By Ada Anioji
Commentators say the recent Lagos Model United Nations (LMUN) 2017 event organised by the University of Lagos, Unilag, in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos Nigeria has registered a new high in international cooperation models for young people in the country.
At the session, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, called for a surge in diplomacy for peace and for a new emphasis on preventing conflicts. “We are also working to improve living conditions everywhere through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” he said in his message to the assembled students.
The LMUN which was held on 13 – 15 July 2017, had the theme, “Innovation, Development, and Diversity for Global Sustainability” and was attended by 200 delegates from 14 Universities in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Mr Guterres noted that “All parents want a better life for their children. All religions value peace. All communities thrive when they value diversity”. “Today”, he continued, “people around the world are inter-connected. Conflict, environmental destruction, poverty and injustice affect everyone. We have to work in common cause for our common humanity.”
He urged the delegates to follow the UN social media accounts and stay fully engaged in their communities. “Together, let us create a more compassionate, inclusive and peaceful world”. The Secretary General added in the message read by UNIC Lagos Knowledge Management Assistant, Ms Bolanle Olumekor.
Addressing the delegates, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, noted that the Lagos Model United Nations is “essential in preparing our minds on the need to achieve global peace and prosperity through your simulation of global actions by modelling the UN through your Committees.”
Represented by the Acting Director, Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abiodun Richards Adejola, the Minister explained that simulation in communication skills, diplomacy, public speaking, resolution writing, international law and politics as well as trade relations would assist in understanding the overall objectives of the United Nations, its rules of procedure and its modus operandi.
The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Professor Ademola Abass, in his speech urged the delegates to read more in order to learn more. “Among the benefits that learning offers is that you get to critically analyse your knowledge and take it even further,” he noted.
Mr Onyeama explained further that the future of this country and the world rests in the ability of the delegates to look inwards and outwards for ways they can reinvent the wheel positively, to actively challenge old traditions and models that do not necessarily translate into this era, to explore the ways they can marshal the amount of time spent with technology for good.”
The Dean Faculty of Law, UNILAG, Prof Ayodele Atsenuwa, thanked the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and other partners for ensuring the success of the LMUN. She emphasised the commitment of the student-organisers for their drive.
The Secretary General of the LMUN, Mr Aliu Gabriel, in his message, urged delegates during committee sessions to foster innovative ideas towards addressing some of the prevailing issues around the world.
Cross section of participants at the event