This interview is published as part of MUN 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. Today we're taking you to Patras, Greece for an interview about the first MUN conference in southern Greece, ATSMUN 2016.
MUNPlanet: Can you tell us more about yourself?
The ATSMUN Organising Team consists of passionate MUNers with many years of experience and unconditional love for Model UN as an educational institution. Having served in various positions, its members share a common aspiration. We want to make the first ever ATSMUN conference an event from which participants are going to benefit, enrich their knowledge of international relations and socialize.
MUNPlanet: In one sentence, tell us why delegates should pick ATSMUN over other conferences happening nearby.
ATSMUN is the first MUN conference in southern Greece and the three adjectives that encapsulate the experience delegates are going to have by attending it are challenging ,intriguing and innovative.
MUNPlanet: As we have heard, this conference is going to be the first Arsakeia Tositseia Schools conference ever. What took you so long and are you planning something special to make the opening memorable?
To successfully organise an MUN conference and ensure that participants will gain out of attending it, one must have significant experience. The MUN club of the Arsakeia Schools of Patras is a relatively new MUN club and therefore we lacked the academic ability to organise a conference. However, after having attended over 15 conferences, both national and international ,we feel ready and possess the mandatory resources to host our own conference As far as the second part of the question is concerned ,we have invited some notable speakers for the opening ceremony, including Mr Robert Stern,(who is running THIMUN ICJ) we are organising special social events and we have come up with an interesting plan to keep delegates engaged and active in their committees based on crisis management.
MUNPlanet: Arsakeion School of Patras,
founded in 1891, is one of the oldest educational foundations in Greece. It has
been contributing to Greek education successfully and actively for many
decades. Can you tell us something about its long and interesting history?
Arsakeion School of Patras and the Arsakeia Schools in general have a long history and reputation. Since 1987 it was a women-only school and it had educated generations of Greek girls, teaching them English and French, subjects not included in the curriculum of a public school at the time. Throughout all the years of their existence, Arsakeia schools have a notable alumni of scientists, academics, politicians and diplomats who are excelling in their fields as well as caring for their country and their basic learning philosophy is that ,being educated properly ,students can assume roles of responsibility. This is why ATSMUN is, to a large extent, organised by students.
MUNPlanet: ATSMUN 2016 is aimed at junior high and high school students (age span 14-18). Do you think that MUN conferences can awake the younger generation as far as international issues of paramount importance are concerned?
We live in an era in which the quote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" from the novel "The tale of two cities" has an analogy to our everyday life. Therefore, awareness and deep understanding of global issues and problems is crucial, especially as a step to their solution. The responsibility of solution to global problems falls upon the shoulders of the younger generation and MUN is its tool and weapon. Within the MUN framework, young people learn to respect others, debate upon important issues, negotiate and deliver solutions bearing in mind the complex nature of IR.MUN empowers the generation of the future to reach its full potential and be a force of change to the world.
MUNPlanet: Tell us more about ATSMUN committees. Did you decide to include some specific or go for the more standard ones?
We aspire to make ATSMUN an innovative conference. As a result, we have placed particular emphasis on crisis committed and we have included EU council and Advisory Panel as crisis committees. Moreover, we have included a Historical committee, an intriguing and fast-paced forum which handles the difficult diplomatic situation of the First World War and enables its participants to be leaders of the countries with absolute power .Last but not least, we have decided to entertain crises in all committees, both GA and non-GA.
MUNPlanet: Recently, you gladly announced the participation of Mr Robert Stern as ICJ coordinator. Can you give us more information on that?
Dr Robert Stern is a highly experienced lawyer and a famous ICJ coordinator. It is an honor for us to have him in the ATSMUN team.Mr Stern oversees the ICJ prior and during the conference including assisting the judges and the advocates and selecting the court's case. You can find more information about what Mr Stern himself says on the ICJ in the "Committees" section of our website.
MUNPlanet: Preparation is the key in order for delegates to have the best MUN experience. Assuming that there would be a lot of first-timers, can you give them some advice on preparing process?
Good preparation is vital for a successful performance in an MUN conference. Therefore, we would advise first-timers to conduct as thorough research as possible on their committee topics so as to gain in depth understanding of the issues. We would also advise them to read through the Delegates' manual(found in the preparation section of our website) paying specific attention to the rules of procedure. Additionally, they can take part in mock sessions organised in most schools prior to a conference, in order to understand how a committee functions. In any case, the ATSMUN Student Officers will always be there for first-comers to answer any questions.
MUNPlanet: MUN conferences engage delegates in argumentation, negotiation and compromise.What in your opinion is the most valuable experience that delegates may gain attending MUN conferences?
By attending MUN conferences, delegates gain a variety for skills. However, we feel that the most important and useful experience is the debate. Debating skills is a must-have asset nowadays and MUN conferences provide the opportunity for their acquirement and enhancement through well-structured logical arguments. The compromising process is equally important though as delegates learn to respect the positions of other parties and work together with them on a common goal, often by putting aside national interests for the sake of international stability.
MUNPlanet: Partas is the city full of history that can offer so much for visitors. You mentioned the chance for delegates to visit the Ancient Olympia site where Olympic games took place in ancient times. Beside the daily sessions, what other activities will the participants experience during their stay?
We are still in the process of organising activities and social events for the participants. Up to now, we have also organised a nighttour around the city of Patras and a Student Officers' dinner as well as Saturday night party for all participants.
MUNPlanet: There must be something you would like to add in the end. What would be your message to the MUNers around the world?
"The UN was not created to send us to heaven ,but for preventing us from complete destruction"? This is a well-known quest among the members of the global MUN community. And this is because the younger generations must prove it wrong. Through MUN, we have the power to change things and bridge our differences. Therefore, our message to the MUNers from any country or continent of the world is to participate in as many conferences as possible. Each conference will contribute a small piece to the larger puzzle that is called MUN Expertise. ATSMUN has a progressive vision of being and international conference, hence we are expecting you.
MUNPlanet: Thank you for devoting your time toMUN Spotlight and telling us more about ATSMUN. We wish you a successful conference. Until our next chat.
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