One world is not enough – thus states the title of one of the James Bond movies. One world is not enough – I fear that is the current state of international affairs we face these days.
Despite the fact that our planet has enough resources for a plentiful life of all 7 billion humans and all other living species, we humans often treat other nations and cultures as if we are in a threat of shortage and need to live at the expense of those born and raised behind our nations´ state borders. The same, unfortunately, applies also for the entire biological sphere, as we not only use, but also often abuse the resources provided for us by our planet.
People of good will hope that the future world leaders will be at least as effective in fighting against world´s largest villains as the movie hero. Yet their job in leading our families, our cities, and our nations is several aspects the same and in several aspects quite different and more challenging.
First, the similarity between us and the fictional movie character is that no matter how many villains we rid this world of, there soon will come another one, often worse than the previous one. Also, in the movie the enemy is always a member of another culture, nation or ethnicity; and we are gathered here to cooperate in spite of all the differences rooted in land, culture or faith of our predecessors. In this regard, I fear, we need to learn the historical lesson and not repeat the past errors and previous mistakes.
When it comes to differences,
- First, the dissimilarity between us and a movie character is that we are not immune to enemy attacks, we get hurt, we feel real pain, we are vulnerable.
- Second, problem solving is often a long-term and tedious process requiring extended periods of time. During this process we soon get frustrated and tired, we often run out of energy and initial enthusiasm.
- In addition, we are not lonely riders, we cannot solve any of the substantial world issues by ourselves, on our own. Any of the major projects or challenges we face, be it intra-personal, scientific, political or environmental, can be successfully addressed only if we join forces and rely on others with whom we are bound to partner with.
All these disadvantages can also be looked at from an opposite, more positive perspective. During this conference I invite you to consider these challenges that I invite you to see as opportunities:
- First, the fact that we all feel real pain makes us human and makes us open to realising that foreigners living behind our nation´s borders, or belonging to another political or religious system, or fleeing from another country, are the same human beings deserving the same care, opportunities and dignity as we ourselves.
- Second, the fact that not all our problems can be solved within 90 or so minutes after the movie starts, gives us the opportunity to grow into maturity in a long-term growing process. No-one should expect you to find definite solutions during this conference as you are still “only” high school students; yet you can start your effort now and eventually work on reaching relevant solutions.
- Last, not being able to solve the given problem or task by myself means I can share the joy of new discoveries with others. It provides the opportunity and privilege to cooperate and partner with interested peers, help educate and lead our students, or learn much by assisting an experienced expert in the given field.
In conclusion, if we compare our challenges with those in fiction, our mission is more difficult, if not altogether impossible. Yet I have hope that your input and future influence can be not only fictional, but shall be truly impelling lives of other people, few or many, who are your, our neighbours. By the word “neighbours” I have in mind the well-known story of the Good Samaritan: neighbours are all those who are dependent on our help.
Dear friends gathered for this MARMUN conference, I wish for you that you may grow to become these new world leaders we all hope for, despite all challenges and obstacles you may face. You now have a several days long opportunity to begin reflecting on, and in the (hopefully near future), start working and living for making this one-world we all share a better place, prosperous for every single human being and our one planet.
Let´s dream big and become agents of a change for the better. I wish you all the best.
Head-master of Lutheran Academy in Martin, Slovakia