The vast KIIT University campus was buzzing with activity as delegates gathered for the KIIT International Model UN conference in Bhubaneswar. With 1500 participants, the MUN is one of the largest in the country, and the energy and excitement were palpable. “The UN is called upon to tackle nearly every major crisis the world has seen,” UNIC Director and Chief Guest Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman said in her inaugural address. “And young people are crucial to the UN’s efforts – it is therefore wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which you’re gearing up to discuss issues of global concern during this MUN.”
KIIT founder Dr. Achyuta Samanta was present to encourage the young diplomats as were several members of the KIIT faculty, including Dr. A. Samanta, Registrar, KIIT University; Prof. P.P. Mathur, Vice-Chancellor; and Dr. Sucheta Priyabadini, Director, Student Services.
“There is much to learn during this 3-day MUN, and we hope that at the end of it, you will come up with innovative, sustainable solutions to global challenges,” Dr. Achyuta Samanta said in his address. “You may start small but you must dream big. Anything is possible if you set your hearts to it.”
All the speakers emphasized the UN’s role in prevention of conflicts, mitigation of the effects of war, and in furthering development and human rights. “The UN today is being called upon to respond to issues across widely disparate fields – from the maintenance of international peace and security, the work of the UN has expanded into development, human rights and essentially everything that allows an individual to live a life of dignity. It is a gargantuan task – and yet the UN is responding,” Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman observed. “You, representing countries from across the globe, know this better than anyone. You see value in coming together to inform yourselves of the challenges, and apply yourselves to finding a solution.”
The three-day MUN simulated 11 Committees, exploring issues such as the legality of foreign military bases, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, trade regulation, the spread of the Ebola virus, aerospace security, the rights of asylum seekers, the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and the framing of an international convention of the legalization of prostitution.