By Naaba Afriye
"The journey in front of us all of us is long and arduous. Each of us is a jigsaw piece. We are all just a smaller part of the big picture".
Those were the compelling words of Ishita Pillai's opening speech before hundreds of captivated delegates. Emerging out of the theater, energetic chatter echoed across the courtyard as delegates moved towards their committees. The motivating opening ceremony set the tone for the conference.
Secretary General Ishita Pillai flanked by Deputy Secretary Generals Yasmine Ho, and Mahnur Baig
The morning began with delegates filling into the theater; a sense of community filled the building. You could feel the eagerness of individuals wanting to interact with one another, which seemed highly fitting for this JoMUN's theme, Africa Connecting.
The opening ceremony begun with an address from one of our two Deputy Secretary Generals in the conference, Mahnur Baig, discussing her eagerness for the conference.
Secretary General, Ishita Pillai began her speech with a brief description of her first experience as a delegate, allowing her to identify with those who may be uncomfortable with the idea of expressing themselves within their committees. In doing this, she reassured the audience of the importance of voicing your opinion.
Ishita continued by forming a connection between this year's theme "Africa Connecting" and our context as members of modern society. In order to achieve this, Ishita made links between how social media platforms have been able to be used to fund social causes for the betterment of society. As a result, delegates were reminded how as the world becomes ever more interconnected, they have the ability to stand of for what they believe in. She then concluded her speech by reassuring that we each have a role to play in the world, reinforcing the theme of connection.
Ishita Pillai was followed by JoMUN's keynote speaker, beatboxer Tina Redman.
Keynote speaker Tina Redman
Delegates sat in awe, their eyes sparkling with admiration she showcased her musical talent. Sounds typically produced by explosions, synthesizers and musical instruments left her lips effortlessly. Redman's engaging performance served as a perfect example of how music can transcend messages and connect.
Tina Redman beatboxing
She reminded us that there is still a lot of work remaining to be done on the fronts the fronts of uniting Africa. As a queer musician, Redman often feels as though she is not accepted by the majority, this is something Redman desperately wishes to change. Through her speech, she envisioned this wish amongst everyone in attendance.