The UNity ceiling.

Blue, red, orange, yellow as many shades as the mind can imagine…

It is here, in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilization Room, that this impressive ceiling is a source of inspiration for all those who regularly gather to debate, share and change the world together.

We are here, seated, anxious, surprised, some of us comfortable, others not so much, and, in turn, each one of us sets their intrigued eyes on this piece of art, suspended over our heads, and, finally, we realise, we are here at FerMUN. Some come from far away, others live just around the corner, but everyone has tired eyes, filled with wonder, which have been fighting to stay open since early morning.

This ceiling disconcerts us and, while writing for the ceremony to begin, between embraces and introductions, we get tangled between this embossed picture’s winding grooves, displayed between sky and earth. In reality, this is where we are located. Between a smashed, mistreated earth, and a sky which allows the most absent-minded among us to travel far in their dreams. It is here, that we can hope to make a difference. Here, people of all nationalities gather: the French, the Greeks, and many others, between a world full of pain and a sky – a symbol of an inaccessible ideal of peace and calm.

Then we set our eyes on it again to better to explore the details which floods this giant canvas.

Hollows, bumps, splashes, smears, irregular stalactites. By superimposing an incalculable number of layers of paint and creating a structure strong enough to hold in the air this massive vault weighing more than 30 tonnes, the artist, Miquel Barceló has been able to instil – in us – a strange feeling of intimacy with “nature” thanks to the ceiling’s wild appearance, which took more than 20 assistants to finish it in November 2008.

It is difficult to make out if we are finding ourselves to be sitting under a coloured sea or just a bizarre mountain range. What we can be sure of is that this huge ceiling, of 1 500 m2, evokes a strong feeling of perpetual movement and an overwhelming calmness in our hearts. We are like this ceiling, dissimilar yet united. We can compare ourselves to these colours, though from different continents, we find ourselves merging and mixing to form a beautiful and harmonious painting. We are like these curves and spikes; we will never see the world exactly the same and our opinions will differ but in the end we will always come together, united in the same fight. The fight to make this planet, our planet, an “every man’s land”; that is to say, a place where everyone can hope to live in peace and harmony.

Someone announces into the microphone that we must take our places, so quickly we open up a passage in the aisles, then we wait until everything starts. We applaud K. Bartsch listening to different speakers and when we hear talk about “destructive selfishness” of which our nations are often proof, we are moved to learn that it is us – young people- that the world has entrusted to get off the beaten track and make our voices heard. A speaker presents us to be of “clear and capable” minds.  We are touched and raising our eyes, some a bit embarrassed, we set once more our eyes on this ceiling and the words make sense in this moment. The speeches come one after the other , Nour, a student from Casablanca rises like angel in her white dress to play a piece by Debussy on the piano , we let ourselves gently rock and our eyes , roam to seek-for the last time- the mysterious ceiling of which we only know that the colours and reliefs but which seems to speak to us in a language that we struggle to master yet is one that enthrals us : the language of a more united world , one which we try to speak in throughout the conference.

Then, two CM1 (year 5) children deliver their speech on the environment, the cause which brings us here today and which “has no bounds”, trembling from head to toe. They remind us once more that if nothing changes, we will “all be affected” by global warming. They call themselves “future citizens” and when we applaud their impressive video “Mister everybody”, we simply want to tell them that they already are citizens and that their voices will continue to echo within us. “Mister our world is hurting […] what are we doing to our blue planet?” This quote disconcerts us deeply.

Claude Z’s anecdote moved us. His love and his gratitude, his suffering, his harsh journey, his intense words, the words that we needed to hear, once gain troubled us.

He has faith in God, in us, and the reason why he spoke to us today was to make us aware, to make us discuss a world which we ignore. We were born here and he was born there; maybe that is what jolts us. Today, “he tells his story to open the eyes of the world”, to share with us a message of peace and love, to encourage us to forgive and be tolerant, and to ask us to end this “nasty war”.

The speeches continue one after the other and once everybody gets up, ready to start the adventure that FerMun offers us, the words of Kennedy – a Kenyan student – return to our minds: “Being a human being, we owe it to ourselves to have great ambitions”.

Blue, red, orange, yellow as many shades as the mind can imagine…

It is here, in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilization Room, that this impressive ceiling is a source of inspiration for all those who regularly gather to debate, share and change the world together.  These people are ambitious, inspired, passionate and conscious of the world. These people, they are us. So with all our differences, our points of views, our hopes and commitments, let us come together to be the actors of change.

Emma Sordes