MUNPlanet: Hana, you were born in Yugoslavia, raised in Serbia, Spain and Sweden, and are now finishing your Bachelor in Paris. Tell us more.
Hana: A lot of countries have crossed my path so far, or better say I have theirs. I was indeed born in Yugoslavia and have lived in three differently shaped and named states on the same soil since 1994. Along with this, my other, Slovenian, heritage has not only contributed to the understanding of the country that ceased to exist some twenty years ago, but has sparkled a vivid interest in relations between all the newly formed states and their rich history(ies). The European period of my life - materialized through experiences in Spain and Sweden - has given me considerable insight into European integration processes, as well as an excellent linguistic background (I am fluent in Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, French, English, Portuguese and Catalan, aspiring to learn Swedish, Russian and German), but also a different stand point. All of which has helped me widen my perspective and shape a unique view of the world. Coming to Paris to pursue my bachelor was therefore almost a self-imposed.
The whole experience left a remarkable impact from many aspects, but I must say the French capital has been a real turning point. Although Paris is far from one's vision of la belle époque, it is a metropole offering numerous opportunities to all those ready to take them. In this sense I believe I made the best out of my time here by giving my time and energy in exchange of experience and knowledge that led me ever to the next idea, ever to the next project. Paris has therefore shaped me and made me who I am today, setting my goals clearer, crossing paths with inspirational people and determining new directions for my professional career. But most of all, it has empowered me to realize there are no limits and boundaries and that we are truly citizens of the world.
MUNPlanet: You serve as the Secretary-General of the Paris International Model United Nations 2015. Tell us something about your MUN journey and the idea behind the conference.
Hana: Oddly enough - I came to discover the MUN world completely by chance! It was in late spring 2013 that I contacted the then PIMUN Secretariat in order to join as staff, wondering what this thing I ran upon was, and I must say starting from the “bottom” was the absolute best thing I could have done. I got introduced from within, I was lucky enough to be assigned to a committee led by another Belgradian and to therefore learn all the details and rules of procedure from the chairs directly. Later on I joined them on stage during the traditional UNESCO Plenary Session, where I was again able to observe work first hand.
This was a starting point enabling all posterior efforts and ideas to come into place, and the best mind opener I experienced. I was overwhelmed with the friendships made, with the opportunities discovered, with the knowledge and motivation acquired. Most of all, the vibrant and energetic atmosphere lingered on weeks after the conference was over, determining my will to get further involved.
Now what is important to understand is that PIMUN has a particular structure: we bring together the best Parisian schools and universities and are a bright example of how far cooperation can take you. Though very young, PIMUN has already brought together over 1,500 delegates from 50+ countries in its previous editions - making it the most renowned student happening in the country and securing its international position. This year we have reached yet another objective: setting our priority on quality rather than quantity, and further professionalizing the conference both internally and externally.
MUNPlanet: Paris as one of the capitals of the world has been establishing itself on the MUN global map for several years. What can you tell us about the French MUNs in general, and how the community reacts to the conferences of this type?
MUNPlanet: In what ways Paris, being a “UN city” and the home to UNESCO shapes the spirit of an Model UN conference?
MUNPlanet: The GA topic of PIMUN 2015, to be held in the UNESCO HQ on the last day of the conference, connects with the forthcoming climate change summit that takes place in Paris in December. What kind of contributions to the discussion can we expect?
MUNPlanet: Partnerships among MUNs are increasingly developing across the circuit. What is PIMUN’s philosophy and practice when it comes to MUN partnerships and cooperation?
MUNPlanet:How does MUN experience connect to the career building efforts, and what would you recommend to the upcoming MUNers in that regard?Hana: There are, of course, tangible skills you will take home after an MUN, and you will be using those references to add a value to your CV later on. But for me, the real benefits of MUNs go far beyond this, because MUNs are the golden gate to a world of innumerable opportunities. First and foremost, the networking. Talk to as many people as possible, exchange ideas and perspectives, learn an expression or two and stay in touch! These people will most likely be the ones you will encounter in your professional life a few years from now. Secondly, always take the opportunity to participate, because starting from that one point may lead you to unexpected new journeys. I am stunned by how many things I learn and how much I grow every day thanks to this experience, but most of all I am delighted to see where it has led me, with what kind of people I have interacted and what kind of new, undiscovered worlds I have been able to enter. MUNs have that power to truly connect you to the world and to alike thinkers.
MUNPlanet: One of the goals of MUNPlanet is to get the best members of the community together to take part in a meaningful dialogue and interaction that transcends the conference halls. How can MUNers step forward and bring about the change as a transnational leadership force?Hana: By interacting with each other. Again, networking is the cornerstone of PIMUN 2015 and I will never repeat enough how important it is to mingle with different circles of people. It is in this type of events that people join forces for a common purpose and objective; it is with these kinds of people that you intensively feel the magnitude of ideas which you will transpose in your own milieu. So make the most out of it and use all the tools given to us for doing so!
MUNPlanet: The United Nations serve as a source of inspiration and action for young leaders and game-changers. But “it is not enough to be inspired” – the world has to act. How do you see the possibilities for bridging the gap between inspiration, knowledge and action?
MUNPlanet: There must be something you would like to add in the end. What would be your message to the MUNers around the world?
Hana: Be flexible, pragmatic and relaxed. And this goes for all aspects of your life. I would of course advise on surrounding yourself with people who push you to new limits, make you grow, not confining to ordinary experiences but strive for different perspectives and continue being ambitious, but I would be only paraphrasing what has already been said in a much better manner by many. The lesson I want to share with you, and which might be just the hardest thing I am learning at the moment, is that there is no use in blindly holding on to your initial plan. You will see that life has many ways of getting you where you want, and the one you scheduled is not necessarily the one that will really happen. However, it might be just the thing you need in order to settle down for a moment, rethink your ideas, discover something new and ultimately be even more prepared for your goal (yes, because perseverance will eventually get you there). If you take life like this, you will see that everything becomes more pleasant and easily enjoyable, and you will spot the added value wherever your path might take you next.
MUNPlanet: Hana, thank you for devoting your time for an interview with MUNPlanet. We wish you a successful PIMUN 2015 and all the best in your future endeavors.