This article is published as part of MUN Spotlight, a special series dedicated to Model UNs from around the globe. The aim of this series is to introduce MUNs and their organizers to our MUNPlanet audience and beyond. Today we're taking you to Antwerp, the biggest port in Belgium and home to AntwerpMUN 2016!
MUNPlanet: Please introduce yourself and your MUN to our community.
Model United Nations (MUN) is an authentic simulation of specific UN committees, such as the General Assembly or the Commission on Sustainable Development. In MUN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of UN Member states to debate current issues on the organization’s vast agenda. They represent a dedicated country’s interest and work towards a negotiated resolution, supported by as many countries as possible.
These simulations allow students to improve not only their knowledge about international politics, but also their debating, negotiating, diplomatic and rhetoric skills. Prior to the session, students can prepare themselves and receive a draft resolution which they can observe and which will serve as the basis of negotiation. They also obtain the Rules of Procedure, which ensure an organized and constructive debate and which have to be respected throughout all meetings.
MUNPlanet: In one sentence tell us what makes Antwerp Model United Nations an invaluable experience?
We welcome both freshmen and experienced delegates and offer a full experience with an opening reception, evening activities and of course our famous Prom Night that takes place in the beautiful scenery of the City of Antwerp and the beautiful facilities here.
MUNPlanet: Antwerp MUN is a new kid in the MUN-town but a very promising one. What differentiates you from all the other MUNs out there?
We are very open to all kinds of delegates from all ranges of backgrounds and study fields and welcome beginners as well as veterans! Subsequently, our MUN has a very student-friendly pricing, probably the most affordable one out there, which we prize ourselves on. We go to great lengths to combine premium quality with a low price and fair price!
MUNPlanet: Innovation is a big part of MUN. This is going to be 4th edition of Antwerp MUN. Are there any new things that you will be introducing for the first time?
We have several concepts lined up which are new to us! Firstly we realized that the earlier you start participating in MUNs, the better! Which better place to start than in high school? We organize an introductory event for high school students in which they get a feel and sense of what being a delegate and representing a country is like. Secondly, we organize many events prior as well as post our main event, which is the MUN simulation. We organize workshops concerning negotiation skills, political debates, information evenings and much more. We also give extra benefits to the winners of the best delegate prize and the best position paper prize such as a reduction of the fee for the next participation, because we just know that after that initial participation, you won’t have enough!
MUNPlanet: Tell us more about the team behind this conference and a little about the organization process itself.
The team is comprised of 9 talented, motivated and passionate students! The president and content manager have both been active in our AntwerpMUN since the very beginning while adding more and more talented individuals along the years! We are a team that all act like parts of a single body: all with a specific purpose while in harmony! The organization is made by and for students! It’s flexible where it should be, and strict where necessary with just the right combination of discipline and fun!
MUNPlanet: Going with UNGA and EC as the committees for AntwerMUN 2016 seems like a great choice, considering the latest events around the globe. If you were to add two more committees to the conference, what would those two be and why would you add them?
We would probably be adding the Security Council committee because of the current course of events internationally. Many countries are at (political) odds with each other and tensions are getting high. The second committee would be UNHCR because of how relevant it is to the current problems we are facing internationally as well as how well it would go with the Security Council committee.
MUNPlanet: In one of the previous questions we talked about the innovation and standing out among the others. We believe that nailed it with a visit to UNRIC. Do you have any cooperation with this UN body and do you perhaps have plans to hold some of the sessions at the UNRIC headquarters in the future?
One of our team members did an internship at UNRIC and introduced us to the head of the BENELUX-desk of Communication; Mr. Verhellen. The UN-headquarters are not located in Antwerp, so we will ask them to join us in Antwerp.
MUNPlanet: Everyone who’s ever been to a prom night knows how fun they are. Can you tell us what makes Prom Night social at Antwerp famous and why we should not miss it?
Antwerp has a lot of locations to celebrate a great night that are all easily accessible by public service. Most of the entrances are free and open around 11PM. One cannot miss a great night out in Antwerp, because we have the best crowd to make the evening unforgettable and also the World’s best DJ’s Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike.
MUNPlanet: The conference itself takes place in the beautiful scenery of the city of Antwerp and the beautiful facilities of the City of Antwerp, the University Antwerp and Antwerp Management School. How will all these magnificent venues contribute to the experience?
Firstly, we organize evening outings, in which we go around the historic centre of Antwerp as well as the local bars and venues. The committee works themselves are held at different locations in and around the university in which the delegates get to see the university as well as the city around it!
MUNPlanet: Antwerp is widely known as a city of chocolate, diamonds, beer and modern architecture. There is plenty to see and do. What are your recommendations on how to spend spare time during our stay?
We organize a pub crawl to introduce our participants to the Antwerp nightlife and throughout the simulation, the lunches take place in various locations.
MUNPlanet: We are living in the golden age of MUNs. There has never been more conferences emerging in almost every country in the world, including Belgium. Can you tell us more about MUN culture in Belgium?
There is a lot of competition in Belgium concerning MUNs, so each MUN community is gaining more popularity and is getting bigger. There are also interuniversitary MUN’s in which delegates from different universities “compete” but also “collaborate”.
MUNPlanet: I believe we can agree on the notion that MUNs are changing. How do you see new technologies, especially communities such as MUNPlanet, changing Model United Nations landscape in the coming years?
Seeing as how international these MUNs always are, communities such as MUNPlanet contribute greatly in making them as widely known as possible. The most beautiful thing is bringing young, likeminded students together with a single goal in mind! As far as technologies are concerned: AntwerpMUN is trying out a collaboration with UAntwerp students to offer real time translations! We are excited to evaluate it at the end of our session!
MUNPlanet: There must be something you would like to add in the end. What would be your message to the MUNers interested in AntwerpMUN?
Our message is a simple, yet strongly held one: move your horizons, reach for the unknown, get to your potential and do what makes you stand out! What makes you learn and grow! Participate in AntwerpMUN and take the first step into making the future you deserve!
MUNPlanet: Thank you for devoting your time to MUN Spotlight and telling us more about you and your MUN. MUNPlanet is looking forward to your conference and strongly advises all MUNers to check it out. Good luck on your conference!
Cover image: Wikipedia