ACMUN 2011 Opening Speech – “You have been negotiating my whole life – don’t tell me you need more time.”

Nabeel Al-Hassan (Bahrain, UWCAC 10-12)

I’m going to start this off with a bit of a story, Delegates I’m sure you’re aware of the recent climate change conference in Cancun. Well at last year’s conference, among all the politicians, debaters and media – Christina Ora, a seventeen-year old girl from the Solomon Islands wore a t-shirt saying:  “You have been negotiating my whole life – don’t tell me you need more time.” Words that I remember to this day – filled with passion but at the same time covered in denouncement. And she wasn’t the only one. Only two months ago at COP 16 that single act by Christina was enough to a year later inspire 1000 youths to do the same. The message people our age have sent to the people in power is very simple and direct. Act. Deliver. To match words by actually doing something about them. This where the theme of ACMUN 2011: ‘Inspiration for Action’ is influenced from.

Atlantic College is an ideal place to hold a Model UN Conference; for most of you here every country represented will have a face behind it, a person to think of. Look around you, from Norway to El Salvador; China to Israel; and Kenya to the USA – I can see it in your eyes – each and every one of you is thinking of a person from these places. With each and every one of you having your own individual history and wealth of experiences that no one else can claim as theirs. And because of this you are able to share ideas and different viewpoints but this time it will be from the view of the person next to you. To help you understand why that person from Venezuela thinks that way of his President, or what your friend from China does in her spare time whilst half of their web is censored and just how come that guy from Nigeria is willing to spend his life working for his country. The targets have been set – to help us gain an understanding of the world’s problems and how we go about combating them in the future.

I have already gained self satisfaction from having prior knowledge that each and every one of

You will benefit greatly from this event. Whether this is your first experience or not, you will learn new things and improve on so many levels. Hopefully, the ACMUN environment will allow

You to do exactly that, to both enjoy and learn through experience at the same time.

And if ACMUN has had an effect on just one of you – it will have made the conference all worth it. I’ve spoken too many of you about your futures, goals and dreams and among us I can see, just here there are budding lawyers, engineers, and diplomats. But no matter your path, never forget to do your own part. My personal favourite quote is to ‘do your little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’ Christina Ora did it and I put strong faith in you to show everyone just a glimpse of that trait as I am sure all of you have leader qualities, I see it happening every day – in class and out of it. Although our human instinct acts as a barrier sometimes to us revealing our true qualities, I encourage you to try to overcome this barrier, as this really is YOUR time to shine.

There is a famous Chinese proverb which states: “An army of a thousand is easy to find, but oh

How difficult to find a general.” I want to see the General in you so don’t be shy to let it come Out.

As the President of ACMUN 2011 I am honoured to call this conference to order.

-United World Colleges Student Magazine-


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