Model UN Conference: A Message to the Next Generation of Multilateral Diplomats

Today the Department of State extends a warm welcome to more than 600 Washington, D.C. metropolitan area students, teachers, and guests for a day of speeches, ceremonies, and mock-debates during our annual Model United Nations (UN) Conference. The Bureau of International Organization Affairs is proud to host this event in partnership with the National Capital Area chapter of the United Nations Association. Over the last dozen years, this program has brought more than 7,000 area students to the Department.

To you delegates I say welcome and congratulations. Just by virtue of being here today you have demonstrated a keen interest in international affairs. Over the preceding weeks and months, you’ve been studying complex, real-world issues like climate change, the political and humanitarian crisis in Syria, nuclear non-proliferation, and global trade. And here you are, ready to debate those matters very much as working diplomats do every day.

You have many things in common with the Department employees with whom you will interact today. Like you, they believe that the United Nations has an important role to play in resolving conflict, protecting human rights, promoting economic development, and much more. No single nation, even one as powerful as the United States, can solve all the world's problems on its own. Ultimately, the United States supports the United Nations because we think it is an investment in the world's security, and therefore an investment in ours.

Over the last year, we have accomplished a great deal thanks to the enduring structure of the United Nations. In September, the United Nations General Assembly launched the Sustainable Development Goals, which establish ambitious new goals in areas like poverty reduction, gender empowerment, hunger alleviation, etc. In December, world leaders agreed to a comprehensive agreement to address global climate change. And just in January, we reached a critical and auspicious milestone with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, as the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran had honored its commitments to date to alter -- and in fact, dismantle -- much of its nuclear program in compliance with the agreement that we reached last July.

The demands of diplomacy are continuous, and American leadership on the global stage requires an active, expert community of diplomats. I hope that your Model UN experience fuels a continuing interest in international affairs, and that someday you return to this building as a member of the team. 

About the Author: Mark Schlachter serves as Director for Public Affairs, Planning, and Coordination for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO). 

For more information:

  • Learn more about how IO Bureau supports the Model UN.
  • Read additional DipNote blogs on how the State Department works with and in the United Nations system. 
  • Follow IO Bureau @State_IO and on Instagram.
Model UN alumna Amara Manoogian, holds a #IAmModelUN sign. The State Department hosts an annual Model UN Conference in partnership with the National Capital Area chapter of the United Nations Association. [State Department Photo]
Posted by Mark Schlachter
April 8, 2016

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