The sixth Slovenian Model United Nations, organized by a group of enthusiastic students of International Relations, finally began. At the Opening Ceremony, on 23 September, we were honored to hear four distinguished guests wishing their welcome to the participants. The president of MEOS also addressed the public, officially announcing the opening of SiMUN.
Mr Janos Tisovzky, Director of the United Nations Information service in Vienna, addressed the public through a video message, congratulating the organizers and the participants on showing enthusiasm and dedication for making the idea of gathering international students come true. He pointed out that MUNs are not just games but trainings for negotiating and introducing with how the UN nowadays approaches complex crisis and relations: "Your future will be more and more about managing relations". He also praised the multicultural level of simulations of this kind and concluded with: "The next four days will make a difference".
Ms Sanja Stiglic, Head of Department for international organizations in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia indicated how SiMUN is an excellent opportunity for all the students to experience negotiation in an international environment. She also summarized the topics that will be discussed in these four days and opened some questions concerning those issues, that would help delegates think of the mechanisms for solving the problems with a joint effort; not only on a state level, but also including the civil society organizations as well as the private sector. "UN promotes tolerance and mutual respect, it shows how important it is to have friends in the international community", said Ms Stiglic, hoping that would be the lessons for delegates from this simulation.
Dr Bojko Bucar, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana and president of the UN Association of Slovenia, expressed his honor that the Faculty is able to host SiMUN this year again and mentioned the University of Ljubljana is among 400 best universities in the world. He indicated the importance of the social science – according to him, almost all of the issues we are facing today in the world are social issues by essence. Those are the issues that are not going to be solved over the night, but he is convinced that, in the future of mankind and probably through the UN, there will be raised many of these issues. "The UN is the product of the will of the states and what you will learn today is basically what the UN is doing all the time", said Dr Bucar.
One of the Opening ceremony highlights was without a doubt the performance of the Faculty of Social Sciences Choir. Under the conduction by Jana Osojnik, a group of six truly talented students performed the famous Russian song "Kalinka" and received an enormous applause.
After the musical intermezzo, Dr Zlatko Sabic, professor at the Department of International Relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences Ljubljana gave a motivational speech to the participants and future decision makers with the intention to encourage them. He mentioned the old Chinese saying "all major things start with a first step" and indicated that a simulation is "not about competing, but about learning". In addition, he pointed out three things that students have to remember for their professions and for life as well: to be persuasive and not aggressive, tolerant and not arrogant, and to be open-minded.
Finally, Miss Eva Kerzic, Secretary-General of SiMUN 2013 and the president of MEOS, gave a spontaneous speech expressing her gratitude to everyone. She also pointed out three specific things of this year's SiMUN. Firstly, this simulation became a registered brand as the first and only MUN in Slovenia; secondly, there would be a Press Team included in the simulation for the first time; and in conclusion she emphasized that one of the sessions is going to be held in Slovenian National Assembly. After that, she officially pronounced SiMUN 2013 open and invited the guests and the participants to gather at the welcome cocktail.