Hello everyone! We are Antony Papadopoulos and Michaela Dorcikova and we have the honor to be GIMUN’s Secretaries-General for the year 2015-2016. GIMUN is a not-for-profit NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC. We are in partnership with the Graduate Institute for International Development, the University of Geneva and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
MUNPlanet: Can you tell us, in short, what is the main
goal of GIMUN and what is the greatest value you provide to your delegates?
The goal of GIMUN is to promote the principles and values of the United Nations among students. Being one of the oldest and more prestigious MUN conferences in Europe, every year we welcome about 300 delegates from more than 60 different nationalities. We therefore provide a very international background, ideal for cultural exchange and to create a network of people around the world.
MUNPlanet: Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) is a Geneva based NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. What are some direct benefits for the delegates?
First of all, our status allows our voices to be heard within the United Nations. Besides that, our cooperation with ECOSOC gives us access to a network of experienced professionals and great guest speakers, not to mention hosting our events at the United Nations Office in Geneva.
A must-see for people attending this year’s GIMUN would be the newly renovated Red-Cross Museum, just in front of the main entrance of the United Nations Headquarters. Several international organizations also organize open day events throughout the year. Nevertheless, even if participants do not have time to visit any of those they should not worry; we traditionally have guest speakers from WTO, WHO and IOM, just to name a few.
MUNPlanet: Tell us more about the team behind this project.
The MUN conference is supervised and organized by the two of us. With that being said, a 6-member collegial body, the Executive Board, is responsible for managing the NGO. Together we are coordinating a number of events during the year, including a study trip, weekly seminars and daylong conferences. We need to thank in particular Guillaume Zwygart and Aida Fernandez, the President and Vice-President of the NGO, as well as Caroline Schmitt, the Finance Director, and Francesca Paschetta, the PR Director.
MUNPlanet: GIMUN is going to take place in Palais des Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations. It is the only Model United Nations Conference in the world that hold its entire conference within United Nations territory. How does this affect delegates’ behavior and experience?
First of all, it allows holding a more realistic simulation conference of the United Nations. It is not everyday that university students get to debate about world politics in UN territory, where real diplomats also work! The dominant feelings among delegates, especially if they are new to our conference, are astonishment at the view of the impressive UN complex and excitement. Being at the UN Headquarters is just unbelievable.
MUNPlanet: What is the biggest advantage of attending MUN conferences in general, in your opinion?
MUN conferences are not only a unique opportunity to get familiar with the UN system, but also to apply your theoretical knowledge about current geopolitical problems in practice. You learn the art of public speaking and problem solving. And what's even better, it's the great chance to broaden your network and to make new friends!
It is very challenging, indeed, it needs excellent
coordination. The heads of our linguistic service department are professionals,
so they can guide well the process of selection of candidates and their
training. We have a team of about 60 interpreters and translators available
during the conference to ensure all communication (even informal speeches!) in
both English and French.
MUNPlanet: Standard ones vs. exotic ones: Will this
year’s GIMUN have standard lineup of committees, or you prepared something unordinary
for the delegates?
We would say this year we have rather standard committees: UNSC, HRC, GA 6th (LEGAL), DISEC, ECOSOC and WHO. However, we will simulate a crisis in the Security Council and the delegates will only learn the topic when they come to their committee room! Although the committees may seem to be traditional, there is nothing ordinary about our presidents - they are all a stand out and we are sure they will make the debates unforgettable.
MUNPlanet: In which way will GIMUN be exceptional and unique? What kind of experience should participants expect?
GIMUN Annual Conference is an extraordinary event in so many ways: held in a capital of world peace and the heart of diplomacy if offers a unique insight on the real functioning of the UN and its main bodies. Furthermore, the debates on all the topics will start with a lecture of Guest Speakers that are mostly functionaries from international organizations based in Geneva (WHO, WIPO, ICRC...) or professors from our partner universities (Graduate Institute and University of Geneva). GIMUN aims to provide delegates not only with excellent academic level of debates, but also with fun experience whilst discovering Geneva.
Platforms such as MUNPlanet will play a crucial role in developing a global MUN community by emphasizing the international aspect of MUN conferences. The main reason why we appreciate MUNPlanet is its wide,global and diversified reach.
MUNPlanet: What is one thought, one idea, that you want your delegates to leave with once the conference is over?
As John F. Kennedy said, "All problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man". And the sooner we act, the sooner we'll see our common endeavor transforming our world into a more peaceful, tolerant and stable place.