Antwerp’s Model United Nations simulation got started five years ago by Bart Sips, who got familiar with the concept when participating at foreign MUN sessions. His great experiences inspired him to organize an Antwerp version. As the second biggest student city in Belgium, he felt that Antwerp deserved its own MUN.
The project initially came to life as a collaboration between two Antwerp student associations: CDS (Christian-Democrats Student association) and EKA (Europe Circle Antwerp), with Bart Sips being the first Project Manager. After several months of hard labor, the first Antwerp MUN session was held in 2013. Right from the start, the concept was to organize two different simulations: an UN general Assembly simulation, and a European Council variant. This was to differentiate ourselves from other MUNs and to also attract people with a specific EU interest.
During the last three years, the project went its own path to independence. Under the initiative and leadership of our former president and current advisor, Sina Asghari, the project the association of AntwerpMUN vzw was created, which decoupled the project after the first edition from CDS and EKA, and went on its way to become a fully autonomous and independent association. The organization transformed into a non-profit organization and continued its path to professionalization. Its partnerships with the University of Antwerp, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affair and Antwerp Management School were confirmed and extended.
Last year, under the presidency and leadership of Sina Asghari, the organization had a very strong and positive evolution. These evolutions consisted of more visibility, range wide pre-events, efficient communication. The organization was thus exposed to further major changes, both structural and practical. We also engaged and extended our partnerships with RedBull, the Peace Center of Antwerp (Het Vredescentrum), the Lifelong Learning programs of the European Union. Further on we made other new partnerships to extend our services.
Furthermore, we set out for internationalization, organized info sessions, lectures about actualities, workshops regarding negotiation skills and networking and career events. Another element we introduced two years and extended is that what we call a “mini-MUN” – AntwerpMUN voor scholieren – for some Antwerp secondary schools. This fits into our vision of raising awareness about and familiarizing young people with international politics and all great things that MUN has to offer.
One last thing we did is adding a press team who are responsible for the media coverage of the main simulations, to ensure and improve the qualitative aspect of the simulations, debates and discussions. These improvements resulted in the largest edition of the MUN yet. AntwerpMUN became more acknowledged and became the biggest MUN in Belgium. It became an international player, with many participants from around the globe.