5 Reasons You Should Attend A Model United Nation Conference
When I was about to participate my first MUN, I didn’t really know what to expect. The conference management sent one of their own to our school, to introduce us to “position papers” and the rules of procedure, which all seemed very foreign to me, mostly because I had to leave my beloved sweatpants behind and instead switch into business clothes. But since not only one, but three teacher basically applied me without even asking, I figured I might as well give it a go.
And what can I say? I bloody loved it.
My first MUN, Alster Model United Nations at Gymnasium Klosterschule in Hamburg, started out with the opening ceremony in the town hall that was reserved for the big parliamentary meetings, the Hamburgische Bürgerschaft. And since I was not only a delegate but an ambassador, I got to give a speech in front of everyone attending. Yes, I entirely freaked out and was terrified by the possibility of tripping and making a fool out of myself in front of everyone but fortunately, I didn’t.
After the ceremony was over, and the conference officially in session, lobbying started. We all were separated into our different committees, all of which are actual committees of the United Nations, and I was in the Disarmament and Security… and with my luck I got the very non-confrontational and humanitarian country of … Syria (some foreshadowing: that won’t be the last time that I’d get assigned a Middle Eastern country). After drafting resolutions - more like sitting next to ambassador of Russia in awe of how well he knew MUN inside and out - we got into the debates and that for me will always be the best part. Of course, our social gatherings in the afterhours were fun as well but man, there is nothing like roasting the hell out of basically every residing delegation. I mean... when you're a problematic country, might as well live up to your reputation, right?
My second MUN was MUNOL in Lübeck at the Thomas Mann Schule and honestly, who would’ve thought that being the ambassador of Iraq in the Human Rights Council with the first issue to be debated being the situation of women in the areas of Syria and Iraq would be so amazing? Our parties were lit and my birthday was essentially the most amazing day of my 2018 and I owe that all to my amazing committee and fellow delegates of India and Iraq aka my classmates. Everyone in my committee is essentially my sista now, no questions ask. We had fun, I feel like everyone there was my friend whom I will actually keep in contact with and even if I might’ve gone a little bit hard on Eritrea (#SorryCan) during my “hey-the-delegate-of-eritrea-is-dumb”-speech, the love was real. This especially thanks to the most amazing co-chair, my dear sista Pauline, who should definitely co-chair something with me. And, since he so kindly asked for it, the delegation of Colombia, even though no one ever asked for his attendance, was of course my favorite international buddy and one day I will annoy the crap out of him in Taiwan. Because yes, MUNs are so freaking international that there were Germans next to Swedes as well as Taiwanese. Just writing this is giving me mayor #postMUNdepression and I am counting down the days until I get to sit in Tel Aviv for TLVMUN, my first ever university level MUN, and my first one out of the country. My other countdown is this year’s AMUN during which I will hopefully get to chair and “better not make anyone cry, Julie”. I guess we’ll see about that;) #punishments>everything
So, enough of my sentimental babblings and to my top five reasons you should attend a Model United Nation conference:
1. Making International Friends
As you probably already guessed from my last paragraph, my number one reason to attend a MUN are all the great people you get to meet as you can tell by all these wonderful, definitely sober pictures within this post. Whether that’s the most good looking Italians, the loveliest Swedes, the kindest Taiwanese, hilarious Romanians or yes, even some BORING German people that you apparently make the cutest couple with. Even one friend can change your world. Imagine being able to claim friendship half way across the globe and getting to see the world from an entirely different perspective even if your opinion on Chinese rap music is the same. You get to network, spark up conversation you never would have with the friends you grew up with and if you are fortunate enough, you might even be able to visit them in their home country.
2.The Inner Workings of the United Nations
my favorite delegate to roast... love you, Eritrea!x
As someone who actually wants to work for the UN, this is the best way to test out the waters. It brings geo-political issues closer to high school and university students and forces them to look at the bigger picture and offers them the diplomatic solution to deal with them. For example, even if I want to study International Law/Human Rights but I barely knew anything about the issues of Eritrea. When debating about the proposed resolutions in the Human Rights Council, I couldn’t help but feel my wish to work in that field be confirmed. Speaking up for those who are oppressed and thereby unable to speak up from themselves gives my life the purpose I want it to have. So if you are considering working as a diplomat, this is exactly the right way to figure out if it is the fit for you!
3. Getting Travel Opportunities
As you might have read in the preamble of this list, in almost a month I will be attending TLVMUN in Tel Aviv, Israel. That’s right. Freaking Israel. I myself am literally still not over that. I am beyond excited to go to #1 country on my bucket list where I plan on doing a semester abroa. When I was planning on studying political science, I wanted to write my bachelor (yes, I already had a plan for my bachelor thesis. Yes, I over plan. A lot.) about Germany’s responsibility within the human rights violation by Israel regarding Palestine. And Israel, Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and Romania are by far not the only countries offering MUNs. Just check out mymun.net and swipe through the calendar, you’ll find the perfect MUN for you!
4. Public Speaking
My all time fav chair/sista!
As someone with anxiety, the thought of talking in front of 100 to 300 people is terrifying. And I mean hyperventilating close to a panic attack about it the night before terrifying. But I did it. And within my committee of about 25 people, I still was deeply afraid to commit any mistakes but I managed to get by and overcame my fear. Maybe it was relaxing for me to think about the fact that during the opening ceremony, after hearing about ten to fifty welcoming speeches, everyone is bored and just stops listening. At least that’s what I like to pretend. So that’s how I did it. And during a committee session, when I wasn’t too confident on my stance or just insulted a bunch of Western countries (for some reason that seems to be my theme), I could just deny questions by the others. Essentially, I could go out there, say my piece and be shielded from insecurities brought by someone trying to factcheck my statements. After a day, you really lose the fear since you get comfortable with your committee members. During MUNOL, even if not all were as frequent, every single council member spoke up.
5. Polishing that CV
To be honest, the first reason for me to agree on attending AMUN was the fact that I imagined that MUNs would look great on college apps and maybe even later for my job applications. It shows that you care about international conflicts, are interested in diplomatic resolution finding, embrace an international dialog and on top of your school work show extra commitment to your political decision making process, which is actually enshrined in the German constitution as one of the most important values. Plus, once you fall in love with MUN the way I do, it can jumpstart your “MUN career” from being a delegate to becoming a chair and maybe even secretary general one day. Step one and two only took me a year, let’s see how long until I make that dream become a reality. And if that doesn’t impress future colleges or employers, I don’t know what will.
So, friends and future MUN-addicts, I hope you enjoyed my very nostalgic post on Model United Nations and if you are close friends with me, Nora can assure you that I will very lovingly force you to apply for a MUN as well. And now she’ll be in New York and attend the perhaps biggest MUN conference in the actual UN HQ and to say that I am jealous would be the understatement of the year.
If you have any other reason, feel free to drop it in the comments down below since there can never be enough reasons to attend a MUN!