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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Opening Ceremony: A Platform of Issues and a Springboard to Discussion

The sun has risen. The delegates have assembled. The symposium has begun. After weeks of preparations by the staff and anticipation from the delegates, the 2012 IASAS MUN Conference at Taipei American School is finally underway, beginning with the Opening Ceremony.

It was truly an exhilarating hour for all in attendance. After a fantastic lion dance that showcased the marvelous culture of Taiwan, Secretary General Nicholas A. (12, TAS) stood on the podium to address delegates and chairs. Besides highlighting various aspects that are new to the conference, such as new facilities and the addition of the WHO committee, the Secretary General also discussed the inevitable trend of globalization and, in his words, the fact that “….as individuals, we do matter….with more connections throughout the world, the more powerful we have become.” 

In addition, he urged delegates to direct their attention to the issue of poverty, stating that it is not only defined by the lack of material resources but also by the lack of rule of law and education. This, he asserts, results in disadvantages faced by marginalized people around the world. The Secretary General concluded by reiterating that the goal of the U.N. is to facilitate the resolution of the problems we face today through international exchange and made it known to the delegates that they “have a direct stake in the future of the world” – that global citizenship is what propels the world forward.

The keynote speaker of the ceremony was Dr. David Ho, the Chief Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and a leader in investigating the HIV epidemic. In his speech, he provided elucidating statistics that illustrated the severity and prevalence of the problem of AIDS/HIV. According to Dr. Ho, not only are there more than 2.5 million new cases of HIV diagnosed worldwide each year, ninety percent of the epidemic resides in poorer, developing countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. On this note, he pointed out the social injustice that exists due to the discrepancy in the incidence of AIDS between the Western world and the developing world. 

Consequently, he also said that it is necessary that we find ways to deliver drugs and services, such as the anti-retroviral drug he developed, to the developing world and prevent the further spread of the disease through education and raising awareness. After discussing some of his case studies in various provinces in China, Dr. Ho showed the delegates some heartwarming photos of AIDS-infected children in “Happy Outcomes.” In the end, he stated that the AIDS/HIV epidemic is a threat to our world, and we must work together to tackle the problem.

Overall, the Opening Ceremony was an excellent introduction to some of the issues that the General Assembly faces in this conference and will serve as a great springboard for the days of debates and committee work that will follow.

-Philip K. (12) and Adrienne S. (11)

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