All protocols observed,
After five days of intensive negotiations I am very pleased to tell you all that the 8th Annual Kenya Model United Nations has ended. Around 300-400 delegates from 17 universities all over the country have participated in a very successful conference at UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme). I have had the great honour to represent Ukraine, and (as always) I made my appearance a noisy one.
The Russian Federation has never before been so attacked, embarrassed and compared to ABBA-songs, James Bond-movies and The Devil himself (after inspiration from Hugo Chavez). Ukraine has never before been so evil and loud. We even presented a draft resolution where we expressively said that the Russian Federation should shut off their own gas for a couple of weeks, to know what it feels like. That is true and noble diplomacy.
The reason why I am writing to you all in English is basically because this is the official language of the UN together with French, and Swedish is actually not permitted (not even to send note papers between delegations). By a coincidence, I actually met a Finnish guy (representing Singapore) who spoke fluent Swedish, but when we wrote to each other in Swedish the functionaries got pissed off. We found a way, though, to overcome this; every time we wrote something in Swedish, we made a bad translation, e.g. ‘vilka javla nollor delegaterna i Sverige ar’ means ‘thank you very much’ in Swedish. You do not have to come up with similar tricks though, and since your conference is an exception you will of course be debating, lobby and negotiating in your mother tongue.
The conference has been long, the rules have been hard, the delegates have been bright and the chair has been as lousy as they always seem to be. Basically every country and observer (e.g. Greenpeace International, Red Cross and the Vatican) in the United Nations has been represented, and of course all internal and transnational conflicts were brought up. Nigeria repeatedly commented the pronunciation of Niger’s official name, Western Sahara was often offended by Morocco’s ‘imperialistic ambitions’ and, of course, the situation between Israel and the Palestinian authority were as fun as it was tense.
Finally, we managed to present intellectual solutions to some of our many international issues. We do not have specific topics (like you will in your MUN), and the main headline for the conference concerned the international financial crisis and youth engagement to solve this. In our committee (Peace and Security) we dealt with more severe things though, and finally we came up with good resolutions to the questions of Piracy Along the Horn of Africa (Somalia), the question of Protection for Palestinian Civilians, the questions of Combating the Global Threat of Terrorism and, of course, the question of Conflicts Concerning Natural Resources in Eastern/Central Europe.
As a delegate, I have had a great time during these five days, and it actually feels pretty cool sitting in a (real) United Nations conference room, with microphones at every seat, big screen cameras following the speakers and with 400 delegates, observers and press dressed formally, according to protocol. Not only have I had a great and fun session, but I have indeed learnt a lot about African conflicts, the many difficulties with diplomacy and the injured, yet hopeful, world of today.
I sincerely hope that you all will have an as fruitful session as I have had, and that you all as diplomats follow your foreign policies (according to the UN Charter), make serious efforts to solve some of the biggest challenges we face today and (most important of all) have a hell of a great time. If you ever doubt your importance, remember the words of our very own former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold:
‘ Everything will be all right - you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves '
Please accept the renewed assurance of my highest consideration,
Robin Wikstrom, Ambassador and Head Delegate of the Ukrainian delegation
KMUN, United Nations Information Centre, Nairobi