Đorđe Đorđević, CEO of Belgrade Model European Union 2016 and Program Director of BEUM Association.
MUNPlanet: Could you please introduce yourself to our community?
Đorđe Đorđević, CEO of Belgrade Model European Union 2016 and Program Director of BEUM Association
MUNPlanet: Even though Belgrade MEU hardly needs any introduction, for the people who are hearing about it for the first time, please tell us more about it.
Belgrade MEU is the largest EU simulation the world. It is held annually in Belgrade, Serbia and it gathers several hundreds of young professionals from all over the world to discuss the most worrisome issues.
MUNPlanet: What would you say are the biggest benefits of attending a Model European Union? Additionally, do Model EUs introduce the same benefits as Model UNs?
Attending a Model EU has many benefits, such as meeting international aspiring diplomats to have great debates with and improve yourself through, improving your understanding of alarming global issues, deepening your stands, making friends, traveling and stepping in the shoes of the biggest policy-makers in Europe. Furthermore, attending a MEU means practicing negotiation and language skills, enjoying sightseeing and getting a taste of the EU policies. Model EUs and Model UNs are similar, however they do teach and educate about different bodies. It really comes down to personal interest. A MEU will work in depth to demonstrate the decision making policies within the EU, whilst a MUN will demonstrate how the United Nations function. Whilst some benefits are shared, not all are exactly the same. We recommend trying both.
MUNPlanet: It took you only six years to build the largest event in the MEU universe. For the organizers planning to follow the same path, can you explain how much hard work and dedication does it take to deliver a quality event?
To be rather honest, starting from scratch with such a big project and such an ambitious plan that we've had is not easy and it requires constant work, constant improvement and up-to-date innovation. It means that you have to have a strong will, even love to be able to endure the work that needs to be done. Nonetheless, it pays off at the end when you stand proud with how many delegates you gathered for a truly life changing experience, it is all worth it to see our delegates develop, become themselves, take a bit of our culture home with them and truly work to the best of their abilities to come up with shared resolutions for different views on the same problem.
MUNPlanet: This is the first and currently the only MEU organized in Serbia. Do you think that the trend will expand in the coming year?
Well, we haven't heard anything about another MEU in Serbia, but we certainly welcome the idea. Should someone feel inspired by the trend, we would encourage them to reach out to us for any help or advice they would need.
MUNPlanet: What makes BEUM stand out among the competition?
First of all, there is no other Model EU where you get to meet such a clash of hundreds of different opinions, culture clashes and skill presentations. It truly transforms you, to be surrounded by 300 different opinions and minds, 300 different sets of skills and negotiation styles – it is the easiest place to learn and pick up on new experience. Regarding this year's edition, we will enable our participants to voice their personal stands in numerous workshops and panel discussions with international experts. So, if you've been worried about coups, Brexit, terrorist attacks, border control, refugees (and their rights), opposing political views, you no longer have to wait to Have Your Say. You can take the floor among 300 colleagues and global experts to share your idea how to shape Europe. We will strive towards empowering development of our participants by innovating a traditional MEU conference, because our goal truly is to empower young international leaders whilst providing them with new, exciting experiences.
MUNPlanet: How competitive is Belgrade in your opinion when it comes to the international conference market?
Belgrade holds a very good place due to its long-lasting tradition of innovation and improvement, great debates and amazing atmosphere. We are here to try it make it even better every year to come, but we do enjoy international respect for all the ideas that we somehow end up turning in reachable goals. We hope to make Belgrade even more appealing and to always bring something new and something familiar (Bajadera; our former participants will know) to the table.
MUNPlanet: In relation to the previous question, where do MEUs stand in Europe today compared to six years ago, when BEUM was launched?
The concept of MEUs is expanding, to our great joy. There was only a handful of MEUs in the EU when we started, and now we have one in almost every region of our Continent. Furthermore, we see this trend expanding fast even outside of Europe's borders.
Personally, we are very proud and pleased to see what an impact MEUs have had. We are glad people are trying both MUN and MEU conferences, to learn about both the EU and the UN, as we hold them to be incredibly important international bodies for an aspiring diplomat to comprehend. We have seen an increase in the MEU trend arising and we feel glad that we are here to share knowledge about the EU itself, even if its outside its borders (Largest MEU in a non EU country, eh?).
MUNPlanet: Do you agree with the statement that MEUs are “just a European thing,” or you believe that this concept can achieve great success on other continents as well?
No, we firmly disagree with the statement. Much like other international political forces are inevitably important to understand, it is the same way we feel about the EU. The EU represents a stable, reasonable multinational body that enjoys great respect with other important political leaders in the world. To be able to participate in any political dialogue, understanding how the actors within it function is a must, otherwise the understatement stays at an abstract level. Alongside, we hold there are many Europeans outside Europe wanting to learn more about the EU through tangible activism and a vital body to key issues.
MUNPlanet: MUNPlanet started out as an MUN knowledge community, but very soon became home to the MEUers as well. Do you think that digitalizing the knowledge in communities such as MUNPlanet will contribute towards sustainable knowledge transfer and promotion of MEU and MUN concepts?
First of all, compliments for your success which is recognized more and more every day. We are happy to be part of this growing community, and we are happy to see such an improvement of knowledge sharing and shaping MUNPlanet into a MUN and MEU family. Truly, MUNPlanet has become an inevitable source of information; whether it's about different conferences, topics, how to write a position paper, be a good delegate or even how to drop the best pick up lines. This digitization of knowledge eases access to participants worldwide, making it an undeniably important platform for any delegate in the world and for many generations to come.
MUNPlanet: We’ve reached the final remarks: What is one message that you would like to send to all of the people interested in attending?
''Youth can be the leaders of tomorrow if we procrastinate.'' You don't have to wait 10 more years to present your proposals for the future of Europe. This fall, you, Belgrade, Serbia. You're just an application away.
Đorđe, thank you for devoting your time to MUN Spotlight and telling us more about you and your conference. MUNPlanet is looking forward to your event and strongly advises all MUNers to check it out. Good luck and we wish you all the best!
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