The delegates and organizers slowly file in and find their seats, the room turns black and a video starts playing, scenes of the opening ceremony, the debates, the efforts of the catering and photography departments. The room breaks into applause, and Mr Lodge, Medi.MUN, senior director takes the stage. After a well – deserved congratulations to the delegates, he takes time to thank everyone involved in the Medi.MUN process; the directors for preparing and bringing their students here, the Medinews and photography team for keeping record of the events, the catering team for keeping everyone well – fed, the students who graduated yet returned for the conference and the Secretarait, for all their work in bringing the Conference to life.
After a beautiful piece on the cello and piano, Secretary General Penelope Ioannou introduces Major General and Force Commander of the UN in Cyprus, Mohammad Humayun Kabir, who comes up to the podium. He states his hope that such events will develop interest in international affairs. He talks about his experience in the UN peacekeeping operations, and points to the Einstein quote: ‘I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones’, a reminder and a warning of the destruction humanity can cause to itself.
He points out the role of the UN in fighting for peace, but also reminds us of the increase in violence after the cold war, and of the humanitarian issues the UN has to come up with solutions to, from conflicts across the world, to climate change, to poverty and desperation.
‘Good news stories are rarely as well covered as disasters’, he says, and talks about the small victories of peace achieved through discussion.
Encouraging such discussions is the role of the MUN conferences, he says, where students take on the role of representing other states to debate and come to a solution with their countries’ views in mind, and he congratulates the delegates for the dedication they have shown, leaving the stage after expressing his hope that this dedication and interest will continue.
After another musical performance, this time of the song ‘Blackbird’, Deputy Secretary General Raphael Ellinas makes his speech. Starting with an anecdote of his random decision to apply for Medi.MUN, and the subsequent decision to try for this position in particular, he talks about the knowledge he has gained. He also takes the time to thank the managers of the organizing committees, the teachers involved in the event, as well as his two fellow directors. ‘Our reward is right here in front of us’, he tells them.
President of General Assembly Mikaelena Kokkinou describes the day as ‘the end of an amazing journey’. She tells the story of her own first Medi.MUN experience, her lack of debating experience, and a journey of self discovery and new memories. She proceeds to thank the organizers, delegates, delegations from abroad, chairs, as well as Mr Lodge and Ms Papadopoulos. and the other two members of the Secretariat, before ending her speech with an inspiring quote by Harriet Tubman: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world’.
Finally, Secretary General Penelope Ioannou steps up to the podium. She thanks Senior Director Mr Lodge for the work he does every year, and addresses her fellow Secretariat members, saying that ‘When you want to express something for so long, when the time comes, the feeling is overwhelming’. She takes the time to discuss the ‘Me too’ movement, and the bravery of the people who have come forward with their stories. She shares her fear that the sheer amount of stories of harassment who have been told in these past few months will make hearing them ordinary, and her hope that they will never become so and continue leaving an impact every time they are shared. Finishing on with belief that persisting on change results in change taking place, she officially ends this year’s Medi.MUN session to the sound of the audience’s applause.