By Raphael Dias e Silva, Secretary General of the EuroMUN 2016
Lights go down as the hush ceases on the crowd. Another MUN has started. On the stage you can spot a table with a few people, usually five students who look deeply tired, but also happy at the same time. Speakers come to share their wisdom and experience from the main international bodies in the world, giving insightful lessons on the real world. However, you keep your eyes on those happy exhausted five people. They have been working day and night, for the past weeks and months, trying to make sure everything goes smoothly for this ceremony and the next few days. These days, MUN days, are filled with a challenging excitement through the delegates as committees gather and socials unravel. More than that, the event that is unfolding allows all delegates to meet incredible people and making new friends.
First session approaches quickly, allowing you to see your fellow delegates and find the alliances that will define the following sessions. If you’re quick, notes will start flowing through the room creating these blocks of accordance and mutual work. You’ll see nodding and flabbergasted reactions from delegates and even the chairs, while giving out your well-rehearsed opening speech. The game is on. By bringing on projects and policies previously researched, you can leave your mark as a delegate on the final result of the debate. Of course, you are not alone. There is that one delegate that has a policy completely against your agenda and you must make sure that doesn’t go through.
Defending a foreign policy won’t always be easy. Try being Saudi Arabia at UN Women, or Greece in the European Council. You will find yourself saying words you never thought would come out of your mouth, simply by following someone else’s point of view. You will find yourself trying to add the Quran to the American school system, something that could only happen at a MUN. Regardless of your personal beliefs, when as a delegate, one must translate him or herself into the role of the diplomat that would be standing on that room in the “real world”.
But a MUN is not only made of committee sessions and lobbying, for through traveling to a conference, a delegate also discovers a whole new city. Getting to know places like Stockholm, Rome, Hamburg or Paris, with friends, both old and new, is priceless. You’ll dance the Ceilidh in Scotland, you’ll be offered KFC by a drunken guy on the subway coming from the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, and you’ll experience a new city and culture in a unique way. Even more so, you’ll be with your friends for whom a new admiration will be found by the time you get back home.
However, all comes at a price. Mornings tend to be brutal and coffee-fueled, but there is a light realization in the air that all pieces of this puzzle are on the same boat. The challenge is to keep the productivity in the sessions that follow, producing quality work to fix international issue at hand. As power struggles direct the committee, you’ll see resolutions being formed and written, best if by you. Those alliances all pay off now, whilst creating the clauses that will be approved in the final resolution.
You push the draft resolution forward, preferably as one of the sponsors. All in there is aligned with your foreign policy, while some concessions had to be made to make most delegates happy. The chairs are relieved to see that the delegates were able to solve the topic of debate. Remember that annoying idea that goes completely against what your country wants? There it is again, being pushed as an amendment. You start to send notes to all your allies and neutral delegates, making sure that the amendment fails. When the chair asks for speakers against, you swiftly raise your placard and prepare yourself to assure your foreign policy. After a successful refusal of the amendment, you see the damned look on the face of that delegate. Its ok, you know that later that night you’ll both be sharing a beer and heartfelt goodbyes. Delegates are not their countries, they are still people, and friends are done on opposite sides of the debate.
Here comes the time to vote on the resolution. Someone decides to do a roll call vote, where all delegates must either be in favor, against or abstain. As the rows go on, and the votes pile up, you see the support needed come in waves leading to a cliffhanger vote where each one makes the difference. And there it is. That one vote. Approved.
“Clapping is in order”, and you follow suit. You congratulate your fellow delegates and the committee goes to the closing ceremony. The last speeches are made, awards given out, and the pain-staking words spoken “I now declare this Model United Nations officially closed”. You see your delegation as you go for one final dinner before you take the plane back. The post-MUN depression is already setting in and you say goodbye to the city and the friends you made. Another MUN has ended.