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Hello to everyone participating in this year’s Model UN conference!

For more than 15 years, the State Department and the United Nations Association have been partners in this program, because we believe that the young people who participate in Model UN are tomorrow’s leaders.

In fact, we know it for sure.

Many people serving in government right now – here in the U.S. and in countries around the world – competed in Model UN.

Here, they honed their debating, writing, and research skills.

They learned what it takes to work together across nationalities, cultures, and languages.

They practiced how to reduce conflict, forge cooperation, and solve problems.

And some liked it so much, they made it their career.

Maybe that’ll be you someday.

During the past year, you’ve learned lessons that you’ll carry with you throughout your lives.

And you’ve become more aware and informed about world affairs – which will help you be more engaged and empowered citizens.

As America’s top diplomat, let me offer some tips for a good final conference.

First, the best diplomats are always respectful to the person sitting across the table, even when they agree on nothing and the stakes are sky-high.

So be respectful to each other.

And remember that we’ve never quite as far apart as we seem.

Underneath our differences, we often have a lot in common.

Second, keep your cool, even when the competition heats up.

Third, when you find any slice of common ground – no matter how small it might be – seize it.

At least it’s a start.

And finally, remember that you can compete against someone and become friends at the same time.

In fact, some lifelong friendships begin that way.

So work hard everybody, learn a lot – and above all – have a great time at the conference.

U.S. Department of State

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