Hello everyone! My name is Fritjof Lucke, and I am the President of Antwerp Model United Nations (AntwerpMUN). I am originally Dutch, born in a small town next to Amsterdam, and currently finishing a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. AntwerpMUN is celebrating its Fifth Anniversary in 2017, meaning our next conference will be a Lustrum edition. We are an ambitious organization who welcomes students from all walks of life to our conference, located in the heart of Europe.
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.
Our conference is located in the center of the continent, close to the political capital of Europe, in a historically significant city with its eye on the future. Our MUN aims to be accessible for those new to Model United Nations, yet also challenging those with experience to tackle the global problems we offer them. As our conference takes place in the beautiful University of Antwerp, in the middle of the city, we can combine the learning experience of a MUN with the sightseeing worthy spots Antwerp has to offer during our social evening program.
We truly believe that the Model UN concept is highly beneficial for all participants. Not only do you improve and sharpen your negotiating and debating skills, delegates get a practical taste of diplomacy, while learning to deal with varying interests of other people. Our conference aims to offer delegates a setting to make new friends in, where they can expand their professional network, and generally broadening their horizon.
Over the past semester, we held an information session and reception, in order to introduce our MUN concept to students. Last month, we organized a Negotiating Workshop where participants were instructed on the best tactics for negotiations. Before our conference, we aim to organize a Rules of Procedure practice session for the new MUN participants, and in April, we will organize a Career Fair with four other Antwerp based student associations.
Our contemporary world is marked by globalization processes, and the (positive and negative) effects which international trade have had on nearly every corner of the globe. The World Trade Organization has from its inception been an ambitious international organization with a significant impact on the global economy. We deem it appropriate to include the WTO in our conference, introducing its inner workings to our delegates. As we are currently aiming to double our committees to four, we are working hard to make this enlargement a success. In the future, we hope to grow even more, and luckily there are many interesting organizations which we could potentially include.
Other than the odd climate denier, most people have accepted the inevitability of climate change. As global development has become paired with financial development, the two seem to be at odds. How can we foster economic growth for nations and its people, which is also healthy for the environment? Is this even possible? We believe that the issue, though pressing already, will only win in urgency over the coming years. Having delegates already thinking about the topic can therefore only be a fruitful exercise.
Every committee is unique, and poses its own set of challenges. Our conference has from the beginning included the United Nations General Assembly, with a unique AntwerpMUN set-up where we aim towards large representation, vivid discussions, and global deals. Also represented has been the European Council, where local problems can be discussed in a global forum. As we seek to expand with the United Nations Security Council, the most powerful international council in history, and the WTO (discussed above), we believe we offer a wide selection for potential delegates to enjoy. The new committees will take some extra work, but we are positive we can make the conference into a success.
After applying for our conference, we ask our participants to write a mandatory position paper, due in mid-February. This paper should include your country’s position, and can be helpful to prepare yourself for our MUN. We highly advise that you read into the subject you will be discussing, the Rules of Procedure we will offer you, as well as the workings of the committee you will be a part of. A good preparation will make your work much easier during the conference, and allows you to enjoy even more!
MUNPlanet: How can the role of technology and new communities such as MUNPlanet affect the future of MUNs?
It is evidently visible that MUN is a growing concept, as it should be. It is a platform for those looking across borders rather than wanting to stay within them; for those wanting to tackle global issues rather than running away from them; for those who see differences in cultures and ideas as a positive rather than a negative. As youths, it is vital to engage with the subjects and institutions that shape our world as often as we can. The further proliferation of technology will, despite the hiccups we experience, eventually bring the world closer together. Communities such as MUNPlanet play a vital role in this process, and allow for the worldwide spread of ideas in an instance.
As our team is very diverse in age and study areas (ranging from International Politics and Law to Applied Economics), it is great to see us come together working on this conference. Some weeks ago we had a long, exhausting meeting (as is the case with MUN organization), after which the night spontaneously evolved into a house party and subsequent long night out in the city center. Safe to say we took a well-deserved break from the organization the day after ;)