My name is Jo Mentens and I am president of AntwerpMUN. I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Applied Economic Sciences at the University of Antwerp and I joined the AntwerpMUN organising committee two years ago as head of practical organisation.This year AntwerpMUN organises its sixth edition of the conference. We are an ambitious organization that welcomes students from all walks of life to our conference, located in the heart of Europe.
MUNPlanet: AntwerpMUN has been around for quite some time now. How was it started?
AntwerpMUN was founded and first organized by three different student associations, all active at the University of Antwerp, to introduce the MUN concept to its students. After the success of the first year, our conference has continued to grow, inspiring more students to become active in the MUN world, and improving their personal skills in an international setting.
Thank you! We are really proud of that achievement. We certainly want to maintain that position in the future and possibly become even bigger. AntwerpMUN should attract and inspire more Belgium students every year, but also captivate a broad international audience. In this way we can introduce several new committees and make the simulation even more interesting and appealing.
MUNPlanet: This year’s edition of AntwerpMUN features four committees, one of which is the Security Council. The topic is ‘The issue of North Korea: how to deal with rogue states?’ Do you think that the world has in store emergence of more rogue states? Will an organization such as the UN ever actually be able to control these states?
MUNPlanet: The subject central to the UN General Assembly this year will be prevention of natural hazards. Are there ways of preventing natural disasters? If yes, how long do you think until effective measures are successfully implemented?
MUNPlanet: In addition to these committees, AntwerpMUN boasts World Trade Organization and the European Council. Are there any committees that you didn’t include, but plan to in the future?
We certainly hope to welcome a lot of ‘newbies’. For them, I would recommend the UN General Assembly. It is a bigger committee, which is interesting for novice delegates because it allows them observe and to choose how actively they participate. For more advanced delegates who are not afraid to speak up and actively engage in the discussion, I certainly recommend the other committees (UN Security Council, WTO and the European Council).
MUNPlanet: Model UNs are quite popular. What would you say is the most important benefit that students can gain from Model UNs?
Model UN brings out the best in every student. It gives them the opportunity to explore global affairs. Every participant is challenged to speak publicly and to convey one’s position correctly in order to reach a consensus together. Moreover, Model UN is about building an international network and getting in touch with like-minded people.
MUNPlanet: During the year, you set up smaller events in the form of lectures, workshops, debating groups, etc. For those who might be interested, could you tell us more about these events?
For every lecture and workshop during the year, we try to invite the most interesting and dynamic speakers to enlighten participants about different topics. Students can also take part in vivid debates. Those activities provide an ideal opportunity to engage with global affairs. Even more so, it is always a great warm-up for the big event in March.
MUNPlanet: Your social events are quite famous. What can this year’s participants expect?
First of all, I hope students will be proud of themselves by participating in the conference. For me it is important that Model UN provides a platform for students to gain confidence in their own capacities and to make the best use of them. I also hope participants will just enjoy the week and the activities we organise in the evening. Maybe they will even go home with some new great (international) friends.
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