Introduction to Opening Speeches

Each delegate has the opportunity to address the Council/Committee during its opening session through an opening speech. This speech must be serious in nature, as it is the very first time the floor will have the opportunity to hear a delegate speak. Delegates may not abuse this privilege to speak by insulting other members of the United Nations or by representing their country in an undiplomatic fashion.

Content of the speech

 Although the delegate’s opening speech can be either general or specific, it must be representative of that nation’s primary concerns about the state of the world or the issue at hand. Please note that this is not a speech for addressing one’s country stance on a particular issue on the agenda. Actually, there are many different types of opening speeches. For example, a delegate might come to a conclusion about what it considers to be the single most important theme in the current atmosphere of relations within the world community. This might be in the field of war and peace, on human rights, ecology, development or disarmament. Another delegate might be able to emphasize the interrelatedness of the areas of concern, such as the effects of “development” on the “environment”. Yet another delegate might prefer to concentrate on a single issue affecting many of the UN members, such as the Palestinian Question.

Delivering the speech

Every speech should, of course, be preceded by a formal greeting phrase such as “Honourable Chair, Fellow Delegates, and Most Esteemed Guests...” and should finish with a phrase such as “Thank you.” However, delegates should avoid making such introductions and conclusions too long, since they only have one minute to speak, and the House will soon become bored with long and flowery introductions. It should be obvious from the speeches below that the design of a speech should be content based as well as dramatic in tone. The speech must be both informative and emphatic. The primary purpose of an opening speech is to allow a delegation to communicate what it perceives to be an important message for the world community.


Sample introductory speech

Delegation: State of Israel Honourable Delegates, Respected Chairs, Israel has been accused of violating human rights in the Occupied Territories. Israel is not here today to justify, explain or apologize for any of these so-called violations. Israel is here today to make it clear to the international community that the best way to secure human rights in the Occupied Territories is to ensure Israeli security. Israel will take all steps necessary to assure her survival. Only when the Palestinians and others stop undermining Israeli security, will Israel loosen the security measures on the Palestinians. Only when the security measures are loosened, will the human rights situation in the Occupied territories improve. Never again will the Israeli people risk extermination, as under the Nazi regime. Never again. The only way to secure human rights in the Occupied Territories is to ensure Israeli security. 

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