As the demonstration against forced integration raged on in Valletta, the Malta Model United Nations Society (MaltMUN Society) was living its dream of hosting its first Model United Nations Conference in Malta which was titled ‘Lives Adrift: Fighting the Exploitation of Irregular Immigrants’.
The Conference was officially opened on the 18th September 2015 at the President’s Palace at San Anton Gardens. Ms Cristina Cefai, President of the MaltMUN Society and Mr Saman Bugeja, President of the partnering Junior Chamber of Advocates organisation, explained the choice of the theme. They recognized immigration to be a topical issue which requires more attention and sensitivity in light of excessive popular sensationalism, as was indeed witnessed during the demonstrations throughout the weekend outside the new House of Parliament building. A number of distinguished dignitaries including HE President of the Republic of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, HE Ambassador Gina Abercombie-Wistanley and Dr. Katrine Camilleri, Director of JRS Malta were present and delivered key-note speeches. The relevance of immigration in today’s world, especially in light of current events, was particularly highlighted by all speakers. They emphasized the need for direct contact with refugees and migrants, and stressed that many migrants are not only willing to take what they are owed from society, but also to acknowledge and live up to their own responsibility towards society at large.
HE President of the Republic of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca congratulated MaltMUN Society for taking the initiative in bringing Model United Nations to Malta for the first time.
Delegates then proceeded to the Parliament of Malta wherein they conducted debates simulating the Legal and UNHCR committees on issues such as disrupting the smuggling of persons at sea and the Syrian refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. The theme Lives Adrift: Fighting the Exploitation of Irregular Immigrants was very well recieved by the delegates who found it “challenging and a good catalyst for a thought provoking and stimulating discussion” as described by Mr. Roberto Cassar, a sixth year law student who represented Germany in the Legal Committee.
MaltMUN 2015 came to a close on the 20th September 2015 at the Malta Chamber of Commerce. The Speaker of the House, Hon Angelo Farrugia MP and Ms. Christine Cassar, Director of People for Change Foundation and Malta Youth Delegate to the UN (2006), lauded the Conference and the Society for sparking discussion amongst young people on the refugee crisis. With regard to the anti-immigration protests taking place outside Parliament during the Conference, Mr Warren Ciantar, the Vice President of the MaltMUN Society had this to say: “the urgency for young people to discuss this issue is heightened due to events such as this. Ironically, an occurrence like this, where two diametrically opposed events are happening side by side, serves as fantastic example of a healthy democracy, where freedom of expression is not limited. People with opposing views must not be silenced, but listened to and spoken to in a calm, civil manner so that a healthy discussion may yield proper solutions.”
Finally, awards were presented to Thea Busuttil (UNHCR) and George Camilleri (Legal) for Best Position Paper; Gašper Črepinšek (UNHCR) and Lisa Camilleri (Legal) who were awarded Honourable Mention; and Emma Grech (UNHCR) and Kirk Brincau (Legal) who were awarded Distinguished Delegate. The most prestitigious awards of Best Delegate went to Neil Bugeja (UNHCR) and Roberto Cassar (Legal).
MaltMUN 2015 is officially supported by the Embassy of the United States of America, the Valletta 2018 Foundation, and the Office of the President of Malta. For more information about the society and future events, follow the organisation on Facebook (fb.com/MaltMUN) or send an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
MaltMUN 2015 Conference featured on the Times of Malta