2000 young world leaders march with a message for the United Nations

World Model United Nations

Photo opportunity 1pm Friday 22 March: 2000 students from 80 countries will wear their flags in a march along the Yarra from the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to Queensbridge Square.

They’ve got a message for the United Nations – they’re demanding a seat at the table for young people as world leaders debate future plans for international aid and development.

This week in Melbourne, 2000 young change-makers from 80 countries have been figuring out how to change the world at WorldMUN – the Harvard World Model United Nations.

This year’s conference has asked what will come after the UN’s Millennium Development Goals – eight targets in health, education, finance and human rights – and has given students the tools they need to fight the good fight back home.

A high-level group of 20 students, including representatives from Ghana, Fiji, Costa Rica and Indonesia, has prepared a resolution which will be officially received by the United Nations and will form part of their discussions about the goals which will replace the MDGs after the 2015 deadline.

“We’re thrilled that the UN has officially recognized the impact that my generation can have,” said 21-year-old conference president Siamak Loni. “We are the next generation of leaders, and many of us are already making an impact in our local communities.”

Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said young voices are vital, and that young people need to be recognized not just as future leaders, but also as today’s partners.

“It is clear that the next big challenge for the United Nations and the peoples of the world – especially our young people – is to ensure a future which is both inclusive and sustainable. Getting it right in Asia-Pacific means getting it right for two-thirds of humanity.”

The world’s largest international student-led youth conference, WorldMUN puts students in the place of world leaders, sitting in a mock version of the UN General Assembly.

They also sit on various UN committees including the World Health Organisation, the International Criminal Court, the World Bank, UNESCO, the Human Rights Council and the Chinese Politburo.

WorldMUN 2013 is supported by the United Nations and UNESCAP; financially supported by the City of Melbourne, the Victorian State government, Study Melbourne, RMIT University, the Harvard World Model United Nations, UNICEF, Monash University, AusAID; and working in collaboration with One Just World.

We are helping with media for the conference. For more information, contact Tamzin Byrne, Science in Public: +61 (432)974 400 or tamzin@scienceinpublic.com.au