By Jana Echterhoff and Alessandra Goio
Maastricht in the light of a Model United Nations (MUN) – this is something which usually just happens once a year. EuroMUN is probably THE event that MUN-advocates connect to Maastricht. Last Saturday, there was already the possibility to have a slight idea of how EuroMUN 2015 might look like. It was about time for the Dutch Invitational Model United Nation (DIMUN) to give people an impression and some practice before actually getting started.
Two committees, four delegations and one day of intensive debating. That is how last Saturday’s MUN was structured. For which purpose? As it was originally set up, this MUN serves to prepare students for HarvardMUN in Boston. For quite a few of the present delegations, this also applied this time. “It is my first MUN and it’s really interesting to see how things are progressing”, says Kyra from Leiden. For most people from her delegation, there is a trip to Boston waiting next month. For Maastricht’s participants, this was only a preparation for ScotMUN in March and, of course, EuroMUN. The importance of the latter was especially apparent at DIMUN. “It is great to practice the practicalities before the actual conference takes place”, concludes Aletta, this year’s Secretary General of EuroMUN and head of this year’s DIMUN organisation-team. The crisis-committee with its staff could, for example, see how well they work together.
The delegates were mainly students from several Dutch Universities, such as Maastricht, Leiden, Utrecht and Amsterdam. For them, it is a precious opportunity to take on the role of diplomats by representing a country and by trying to negotiate agreements over many different topics. According to them, it is a unique occasion to experience the world of international relations and world affairs, as students are required to prepare in advance. In fact, they not only have to accumulate knowledge about their specific country, but they should also adopt the viewpoints of the country’s official stakeholders.
Although preparation will require a lot of time, eventually people realise that it is totally worth it. Indeed, when it comes to practice, students are enthusiastic, proactive and ready to become negotiators for one day. “I really enjoy this day of negotiations”, mentions Raphael from Maastricht, “it is great to talk to the other delegations!” Most of the participants do not believe that they could be the next generation of diplomats – too much competition in the world of diplomacy. Nonetheless, even with no big projects in mind, there was still the broad consensus that taking part in MUN is extremely useful to develop skills, which they’re going to use in the future. For instance, they get used to holding public speeches, becoming familiar with working in a team, and most importantly, they learn to bear responsibilities. At the end of the day, both delegates and organisers could only come to a more than positive conclusion. “It is always great to see the biggest Dutch MUN-associations coming together”, concludes Constanze, Head of Delegation in Maastricht.
In this sense, an MUN is an overarching experience, since it allows people to come into contact with a lot of useful skills and to understand nowadays’ world, but at the same time, it is a pleasant experience and the perfect environment to meet new friends. Are you curious about this and would like to get involved? Do not forget that you still have the chance to apply for the 8th edition of EuroMUN, the largest United Nations simulation in continental Europe! It is going to take place from April 29 till May 3. Every year, it gathers more than 550 students from around the world and it takes place in Maastricht!