Welcome toMUN 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. This Friday we are taking you to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, a delightful mix of new, old and downright historic and a place the first Slovakia MUN is about to take place.
MUNPlanet: Can you tell us more about yourself?
Slovakia Model United Nations Conference 2015 will be the first university simulation of the real UN held in Slovakia organized by the Comenius University in Bratislava in cooperation with The European Law Students' Association Bratislava, National Council of the Slovak Republic and partners. The whole Conference is under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic and it has a support of the President of ICJ as well as some UN representatives. Even His Excellency, Ban Ki Moon will be present at the Comenius University one week before the actual beginning of the SlovakMUN 2015 Conference.
In the course of last months, six official side events to the project took place in the venues of Comenius University. The panel discussions reflecting the significant topics of the international relations (e.g. energy security, diplomacy, transatlantic trade, human rights) were attended by respected authorities, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, ambassadors and many experts.
MUNPlanet: As we have heard, this conference is going to be the first Slovakia MUN
conference ever. What took you so long and are you planning something special
to make the opening memorable?
The idea of the project was involving for a long time period but it required a courage to start organizing from the very beginning, stone by stone, up to the top. It is everything about the people – right people with a proper enthusiasm and, of course, skills had to put all their powers together. And so it has taken so long – to overcome the others and to be the ones that change a history.
Naturally, we all do our best to make a good first impression. Therefore, the Opening Ceremony will be held at the beautiful historic premises of the Comenius University in Bratislava where the key message of the project will be presented together with the opening speeches. A keynote speech will be presented by the former Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, the only person living in Slovakia or Czech Republic who is still a member of the Milano Club. The presence of high-ranking state officials, diplomats and ambassadors, the representatives of the international organizations, and the partners of the Conference, special guests, delegates, and wide professional public is expected. When the last sentence of the last speech is passed, a gala reception for more than 250 people is scheduled. During the reception, the official representatives of the Conference, delegates and other guests have the opportunity to discuss the topics with the diplomats, ambassadors and competent representatives of the supreme functions in less formal atmosphere. The Committee Sessions will take place in the prominent premises of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
MUNPlanet: What are the main principles that SlovakMUN stands for?
Our main effort is to promote international diversity, education, engagement of young people and solution-finding process in the area of current problems reaching beyond borders of one state through an international dialogue. The Conference shall also contribute to promote peace and human rights by teaching students how to act as real diplomats in order to change political and social situation in the world. Participation of people from several countries increases mutual cooperation, contact-making and new friendships. Tolerance, better understanding and peaceful solution of problems among states and individuals is considered as the essential aims to be reached in the international community.
Moreover, in SlovakMUN we stand for a principle that the essence of any MUN Conference lies in finding new solutions for the problems discussed and not in the Rules of Procedure. For this reason we do not aim to be just another extracurricular experience. We want SlovakMUN to be a forum bringing together ambitious and talented young minds from all over the world in order to solve the most challenging issues of our time.
MUNPlanet: In which way will SlovakMUN be exceptional and unique? What kind of experience should participations expect?
Besides four days of debates and negotiations in various UN committees, our participants will enjoy whole range of educational and cultural activities. Above all, we are very glad that all delegates will have a unique opportunity to take part in the discussions and round tables with many internationally reputed policy makers, diplomats and experts. The conference is also remarkable for its interdisciplinary nature. The committees are specialised, thus it is not exceptional that we notice lot of future natural scientists representing the opinions in the committees such as IBC (International Bioethics Committee).
SlovakMUN is exceptional and unique in other ways as well:
- simulation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- simplified Rules of Procedure
- merged General Assembly and Committee Sessions
- professionally written guides with the references made by the experts
- moderated discussions with key note speaker and internationally recognised hosts
- published resolutions in almanac
- special guests
- interesting social program.
MUNPlanet: What’s the biggest advantage of attending MUN Conferences in general, in your opinion?
The most positive thing about MUN Conferences is that they supplement educational process with a new practical form of education on international level in order to achieve professional improvement of engaged students as well as an interaction of different fields of studies. MUN projects really enhance the connection of the theoretical knowledge gained in the educational process with necessary practical skills and promote active learning among young people.
MUNPlanet: It takes a dream team to create an outstanding conference. How did you gather the organizing team? Additionally, how hard was it to select people in charge of committees?
Our organisation team is created of more than 40 volunteers from the two faculties within the Comenius University in Bratislava and foremost the members of the European Law Students' Association Bratislava. Creating a team was not that hard, since we organize big conferences quite often. We are all really enthusiastic about raising our efforts to the international level as well.
To be honest, the selection procedure for the chairs of the committees was one of the most difficult things about the whole project. It is really a challenge to comply with all requirements. But we used our contacts and did our best in order to find experienced and reliable people.
MUNPlanet: We are familiar with very long and rich history of Slovakia so we expect
that there is a plenty to see and do. You mentioned exceptional cultural
experience which got us wandering what can Bratislava offer us as a visitors?
Bratislava is the administrative, political, industrial, but also the cultural and scientific centre of Slovakia. It is probably the only capital in the world situated on the border of three states. In every season, there is always something worth doing. Visit the historical and architectural dominants – the Bratislava Castle, the Devín Castle, gothic St. Martin´s Cathedral, the Michael’s Gate, the Blue Church or the Primatial Palace. Taste local beers and wines in traditional pubs and amazing meals in sophisticated restaurants; enjoy the old-town charm, museums, galleries and good music.
MUNPlanet: We’ve heard so much about delicious Slovakian traditional food. What kind of meal should we not miss while in Bratislava? Most importantly, will you be preparing it for everyone?
You should not miss the most typical food – potato dumplings – either with sheep cheese (called “bryndzové halušky”) or with a cabbage (called “strapačky”).We also recommend to try local soups, for example “kapustnica” – sour cabbage soup with sausage and delicious cakes called “bratislavské rožky”.
As a part of our Social Programme, we prepare a traditional dinner in a pleasant atmosphere of a local restaurant in Bratislava – Flag Ship. Another day, the delegates will also have a possibilityto try some local beer - because it is even cheaper than water in Slovakia!
MUNPlanet: How do you see new technologies, especially communities such as MUNPlanet, changing Model United Nations landscape in the coming years?
MUN is an effective mechanism for providing students with the international and multicultural experiences. But with the evolution of new technologies, another great aspect of MUN landscape arises. New existing platforms and communities extremely facilitate the participation in MUNs and thus give the students wide possibilities to develop and enhance also their technical skills, including written communication or web-research.
MUNPlanet: What is one thought or feeling that you want all of your participations to take from conference?
Our effort is to prove, that even a small country like the Slovak republic can be a significant partner at a global level while looking for new solutions of the current problems of international community.
MUNPlanet: Can you tell us, in one sentence now, why our members should not miss SlovakMUN?
Because there is no MUN which has ever been so exceptional in that many ways as SlovakMUN is - merged General Assembly, Special NATO Committee, auspices of the President, support of the President of ICJ and much more.
MUNPlanet: Thank you for devoting your time toMUN 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. Until our next chat.