This week, in an article published as part of MUNPlanet Spotlight, a special series dedicated to Model UNs from around the globe, we are taking you to Germany. The aim of this series is to introduce MUNs and their organizers to our MUNPlanet audience and beyond. This week we are taking you to Karlsruhe, a host city of the two highest courts in Germany, Internet capital of Germany, a city of good music and food, and before everything else, a home to KAMUN Conference. Our host today is Peter Tse, Secretary-General of KAMUN 2015.
MUNPlanet: For the impatient
ones, why should delegates pick KAMUN 2015 as their next conference?
Peter: There really are so many MUNs out there, in Germany, in Europe, in the world! I mean, if someone did a survey I dare say that there's a MUN going on somewhere in the world 24/7. You have a lot to pick from. So if you pick KAMUN, I will make you a guarantee. I will guarantee that we are helping you in making these choices. Because if you pick KAMUN 2015, you will pick your next two conferences, this one and KAMUN 2016.
MUNPlanet: What are the main advantages in attending Model UN conferences in your opinion?
Peter: MUN is one big cliché, and clichés are often correct! You'll have a great laugh, have something got the CV, probably learn something about the UN, definitely meet people from around the world you'll want to keep in touch with, maybe figure out the Rules of Procedure, and undoubtedly take memories with you to treasure for a life time.
Of course, the main advantage of attending KAMUN is you'll experience our love of turning everything into a Trinkfest! Of coffee and energy drinks of course.
MUNPlanet: This is your 6th conference which means that you’re already an established MUN. How hard is it to maintain a good reputation?
Peter: We would certainly be flattered to be considered an established MUN! But a good reputation is certainly what we strive for. Simply - don't get complacent! Every single year we take our quality management seriously, as KAMUN is run primarily by engineers - this is certainly something we know a lot about! We take feedback seriously and we pass this knowledge onto the next set of organisers, every year we aim to be bigger and better, making sure that returning delegates have an even better time and that new KAMUNers get our best impression. We also really value our partnerships, Mannheim and Heidelberg are too neighbouring MUN Societies who we cannot express enough love for!
MUNPlanet: This year’s KAMUN will be offering more committees than ever before, for example Joint Cabinet Crisis for the first time. Do you expect that this change would give delegates even fuller compass of the UN’s work?
Peter: Absolutely. For a start, we are incredibly lucky to have just recruited a top level crisis director. A decorated MUNer with experience in organising LIMUN's crisis, founding President of Heidelberg MUN society and most importantly a dear friend of KAMUN - the awesome Oscar Santiago Vargas. Of course, I cannot disclose many details at this stage but generally speaking JCCs stand rightly at the pinnacle of many MUN conferences. Throwing delegates into quickly changing, real - time scenarios. Stretching their diplomacy, rhetoric and emotional well being to the limit. And it's not just our JCC which we are offering to delegates wanting to find out more about the UN. We have added two new committees - SOCHUM and SPECPOL, meaning that all 5 of our committees in unison tackle the whole spectrum of the UN's operations. What this really means for delegates is that if you have any interest in the UN's work, whether that be security, economics, development, humanitarian, environmental issues inter alia - you name it, we have it!
MUNPlanet: ”Working towards the Sustainable Development Goals” in the year when the UN is finalizing the successor to the Millennium Development Goals seems like a logical choice of topic. Since it is a very often discussed topic in MUNs, we were wandering whether you will be giving it some KAMUN spin and making it different from everyone else’s?
Peter: In a way, I realise we are taking a risk by basing our conference around the SDGs. The main one being that we do not actually know what exact SDGs the UN will pass in September, by which point we will (touch wood!) be in the final stages of organisation. But for me this is the KAMUN spin, not disorganisation rather uncertainty. The whole international stage is in a period of uncertainty as the MDGs are replaced by the SDGs. The UN knows what it wants to improve, but they have not decided yet how. The way we will be using the SDGs is dispersing the 17 provisional goals among our committees. Of course, in September we will make changes if necessary to this. But yes, each of our 5 committees has a set of SDGs allocated to it. The idea is that each committee, in their topics, will explore and challenge these goals. In their debate they will deconstruct and reconstruct them. Our delegates will put them to test, find out how effective they are, discovering if they do enough. At the end of the weekend KAMUN will hopefully boast at least 4 resolutions and a crisis outcome which has worked through the uncertainty of the SDGs and thus KAMUN will have given students, the leaders of tomorrow, the chance to experience the post 2015 development agenda first hand today.
MUNPlanet: What is KAMUN's award policy?
Peter: Our award policy at KAMUN has always been and always will be that awards are the icing on the cake. We want you to have enjoyed the KAMUN cake - with its debates, socials, chance to meet people from all over the world, to share a good time, to make memories - and then when you are sated the awards will be an after thought, merely another motion that needs to be dealt with before the conferences closes. Awards are a real tricky territory for organisers. And from my personal experience as a super-competitive, sore loser, even worse winner delegate - putting too much emphasis on the process of winning an award, as opposed to enjoying the weekend, will not give you the most out of KAMUN!
MUNPlanet: Can you tell us more about MUNing tradition in Germany? How do you see the future of MUNs in your city?
Peter: Karlsruhe has actually been one of only 2 conferences I've attended personally in Germany! But from what I've heard it's growing rapidly with conferences popping up and growing in every Bundesland! For me, it's quite similar to the MUN circuit in UK, except that there are no massive perennial conferences (your LIMUNs et al), rather there are more local decentralised networks within the whole country. It is an exciting time to be taking part in a MUN in Germany these networks are coming together, Germans are travelling further and further within Germany to go to conferences and we are also lucky in Baden Württemberg to be surrounded by the thriving networks in Belgium, Netherlands and France which give us conferences to attend and also delegates to attract! The tradition is growing!
MUNPlanet: Question of the day: How expensive is Karlsruhe? How much money should delegates bring in order to get the most out of experience?
Peter: Our delegates fee is an all inclusive price (breakfast, socials, lunch etc. all included), all you have to pay for additionally (besides accommodation and travel) is your drinks on Saturday night! Compared to other German cities we are relatively cheap!
MUNPlanet: Around 40% of the territory of the city of Karlsruhe are protected areas (e.g. nature reserves, landscape conservation areas, European protected areas) with 900 hectares of it being public parks. What do you think of the idea of organizing some committees in nature?
Peter: Considering that KAMUN is taking place in November, we will probably spare our well-dressed delegates the ordeal of trying to debate the SDGs al fresco! But we do recommend our public spaces for any delegates who have the time around the conference!
MUNPlanet: How do you think will the new technologies, especially digital communities such as MUNPlanet, influence the development of Model UN in the future?
Peter: I was organising a MUN conference in Exeter a couple of years ago and regarding what date we should hold the conference one of my team piped up "every society and their dog has a conference". If society's had dogs, this would be so true. Digital communities allow avid MUNers to easily gain information on conferences all over the world. They provide online databases which in an age of information overload just makes life a lot easier. What is more they create communities and remove barriers of access into MUN. For everyone involved with MUN from your prospective first time delegate to a 30+ conference Secretary General, these communities are so important.
MUNPlanet: Why is Karlsruhe called the “Internet capital of Germany”?
Peter: Admittedly, I had to turn to my lovely Secretariat for this question, news to me! I am reliably informed that the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (the hosts for KAMUN!) has a strong IT culture in terms of research and education. There are a lot of IT Start Ups. Indeed, in 1984 the first German Internet E-mail server was established right here within KIT’s Precursory Institution in 1984, meaning the first email was received here in Karlsruhe! Cool right?
MUNPlanet: Karlsruhe is famous for excellent research institutes and its international atmosphere due to many foreign students. Is that the reason that make Karlsruhe so appealing?
Peter: Karlsruhe is understatement! During my year abroad when I first discovered the city, I had been around Germany, seen Munich, Amsterdam etc so when I came to KAMUN I didn't expect to be so impressed by what it had to offer! Everyone I've met here loves the institute and the city does have a great student vibe, if I was an engineer (big if), this place would be a dream!
MUNPlanet: Do you have some pieces of advice for aspiring MUN organizers?
Peter: Never forget that you are not actually the UN. We are modelling the UN but we certainly are not imitating its bureaucracy! Keep your group spirit, work hard, work for each other but never lose sight that this is an incredible, life changing and most importantly fun experience! Also start early, buildings don't get booked a week in advance, lanyard/gavel/anything delivery is temperamental and study guides don't just grow on trees! Most importantly, learn from experience. KAMUN will be my 29th MUN conference, but this does not stop me from messaging the former Sec-Gen more often than I currently am!
MUNPlanet: Once KAMUN 2015 is over, what one sentence would you want to hear your delegates ask?
Peter: When can I apply for KAMUN 2016?
MUNPlanet: Peter, 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.
Cover Photo: link