Following on from last year’s successes, Monash University once again sent delegations to the Harvard World Model United Nations Conference (WorldMUN) in Seoul and National Model United Nations Conference (NMUN) in New York. The Conferences aim to simulate the committees of the UN, providing students with an opportunity to grapple with the most pressing of issues confronting the globe with students from across the world.
For preparation, students undertook extensive research on their assigned topic. These issues ranged from The Control of Biological Weapons to Strengthening Regional Security in Africa. Representing Panama at WorldMUN and Angola at NMUN respectively, students were required to strictly adhere to their Member States’ foreign policy. The NMUN delegation were also able to supplement their learning by a visit to the Permanent Mission of Angola to the UN and to the UN Headquarters itself.
In five days of intense negotiations, making our cases in front of hundreds and furiously typing out draft resolutions under the pressure of time and other voting blocs, there was never a dull moment at either conference.
The Monash delegation picked up one award at WorldMUN, with Yannis Goutzamanis and Anthony Hadjiantoniou winning a Diplomacy Award in the International Monetary Fund.
At NMUN, the 15-strong delegation received a ‘Distinguished Delegation’ award for the combined team efforts during committee, ranking Monash in the top 10% of the universities in attendance. Furthermore, four students – making up two teams – were awarded an ‘’Outstanding Delegate(s)’’ award for their superior team performance in their respective committees. These were: Thomas Egan and Adam Zimbler (UNICEF), and Janet Egan and Matthew O’Neill (UNESCO).
This recognition was a testament to the tireless work which all delegates put in before the conference and to their persistent efforts during it.
The biggest challenge of Model UN, and indeed the ultimate goal, is bringing together a vast range of countries to take action on a single cause. At times it was difficult, many more times frustrating; much like it is in the real United Nations. Some countries were a bit too idealistic. Others seemed not to have any ideals at all. And a handful just wanted to watch the world burn. But the spirit of cooperation and a shared vision of progress always kept us moving forward. By the end, we all had a growing global network of people we could now call friends. It could not have been a more satisfying end to an experience that saw each of us step out of our comfort zones and discover something new about ourselves. By consensus, both conferences had been incredible experiences.
The Monash delegations to WorldMUN and NMUN were organised by the Monash International Affairs Society with support from Monash Abroad.