by Jana Echterhoff
To be honest – when I came to Maastricht, I had never heard about such a thing like “Model United Nations” before. Even worse – when I heard about it for the first time, I thought it was kind of weird to simulate a crisis or generally to pretend to be a delegate for a country XY. However, that was before EuroMUN happened to me.
Already the kick-off party on the Tuesday night gave me a slight impression of what I could expect: lots of international people, partying hard and this special flair I cannot really describe. Maybe it’s just because there are people from all over the world with similar interests coming together. Maybe it’s because everyone got the opportunity to escape from daily Uni-life and work on something practically. But whatever it might be, in the end it comes down to one thing- a great experience. I soon had to rethink my prejudices from before, the voice telling me that it might be a little awkward to simulate everything . Obviously, it is a simulation. That does, nevertheless, not mean that the topics were not up-to-date. Nor does it mean that the discussions were less serious. Some committees were even very serious about their arguments at some point. For a good reason though – that this is a really good practise was a thought that just evolved over time. The more the conference proceeded, the more I realised what a good opportunity these MUNs are. How would you want to practise how to react to a crisis, otherwise? How do you want to learn how amendments in the EP are made? How do you want to learn how the agreements on NATO-conferences are reached? MUNs are a really good challenge: being together with people with similar interests, but also with those that have much more skills than you do, discussing serious topics, trying to find resolution under time-pressure, working (hard) under huge sleep-depreciation and finally understanding how it feels like to push through an amendment – a good school for your professional life I would say.
The other side of the coin is, however, that humour isn’t banned from the conference. Even though most people tried to stick to the relatively strict dress-code, the daily punishments for not wearing it were simply a highlight. And that was certainly not serious – I just remember the MEPs singing the “Backstreet Boys” or when these poor guys who had to wear “the most hideous tie” meaning a neon orange and dark blue one that looked awful. The whole conference without such things? Impossible. Or the #euromunselfies (not to mention the people that could be found in the background of these selfies) that probably occupy half of everyone’s cell phones – great fun between accomplishing the serious business.
The best challenge was probably the lack of sleep in combination with the still required hard work. I know no-one who would voluntarily miss the social events in the evening. The people at the EuroMUN were simply too great to just let it go. I personally had the feeling that every evening outweighed the one before. After the Pub-Crawl (we journalists went with the committees we covered and I simply have to say thank you to an awesome EP!), I thought that it could hardly become better. Around 400 people managed to party hard in one of Maastricht’s lovely small pubs. The day after, the orange-party exceeded this first party. How and why? I don’t know, I just know that the morning after offered loads of pictures for live.euromun.org. Then the delegate’s dance – the last evening with everyone, somehow formal but in the end just another awesome evening. It actually was the perfect rounding of the whole MUN.
Maybe it’s just that you have to experience a MUN by yourself to really get the feeling, but I hardly know anyone who disliked it. And almost everyone swore to participate at least at the next EuroMUN again. It’s just about this one spark that has to catch you. If it did so, it is hard to escape again. However, most people don’t want to escape anymore.