MUNPlanet: This is the question we ask all the MUNs: In one sentence, what makes your conference a must-visit and unique among all other MUNs?
MUNDP balances the fun and the content of MUN and is proud of starting life-long friendships that exceed the circle of MUN.
MUNPlanet: It takes a dream team to create an outstanding conference. How did you gather the organizing team? Additionally, how hard was it to select people in charge of committees?
The selection process was extremely painstaking both for the applicants and the Secretaries-General. All the Deputy Secretaries General, Heads and Managers are selected by an intensive review of their written and oral examination components and especially people who are responsible from the committees, alias the content team, were chosen from an enormous applicant base. This was particularly hard for us because we had to differentiate only three people from an applicant pool consisted of extremely experienced MUNers.
MUNPlanet: Tell us more about Koç School, the school that has been hosting MUNDP since 2001? What opportunities will that venue have to offer to delegates?
The Koç School is undoubtedly the best high school in Turkey in terms of its facilities. In a 750 acres large campus, the school offers its visitors numerous opportunities to relish. With an enormous glass pyramid in which people socialise to an all-science building with an avant-garde style, our guests will spend four days in a unique environment. Best of all, our guests will be away from the hustle of the city in a campus that even has its own forest, meanwhile being close enough to the urban areas to enjoy Istanbul in their free time.
MUNPlanet: As the only MUN conference in the world that models United Nations Development Programme, MUNDP sets one of the regional bureaus of UNDP as their theme each year. What would be your main focus this year?
This year’s main focus will be Asia and Pacific. All countries in this region in addition to the countries that have pivotal roles in international politics will be represented by our guests in MUNDP to add a global value to the debates in a conference with a regional theme.
MUNPlanet: Tell us more about this year’s committees? Is there any change compared to the previous MUNDP conferences?
Consistency is a value that we regard greatly in MUNDP and except for the regional conference committee APEC, we will have the same committees that we have been modelling since 2001.
MUNPlanet: Why is Model United Nations significant in students’ professional development? In what ways can this experience be useful to them later?It is substantially significant because MUN introduces young people to the ideas at a global scale at such a young age. Personally I was not aware of the most crucial problems that our world faced before my MUN journey and MUN provided me with an extensive knowledge on various
areas such as international law to social affairs. This experience will be useful to the delegates because MUN allows its participants to judge different approaches reasonably and such a skill is required in almost all areas work.
MUNPlanet: What has changed you and your views on MUN since you have become a MUN organizer?
Being an MUN organiser, operating a large structure behind the curtains while the others happily get involved in their debates, made a more responsible person because it made me realise that my punctuality and and painstaking efforts affect the participation of almost a thousand people.
MUNPlanet: Do you consider your experience as an organizer useful for your future career?
I surely consider because organising MUN enhanced my communication skills in such a way that I can talk confidently about almost anything with a person who lives thousands of miles away from me. Being in the organisation of MUN indeed leaded me to study Business Management in the high school and I can confidently say that being an organiser shaped my career path.
MUNPlanet: How do you see new technologies, especially communities such as MUNPlanet, changing Model United Nations landscape in the coming years?
One of the main objectives of MUN is to see issues from a global perspective and in my opinion, such developments have changed MUN landscape greatly. MUN is now accessible to everyone and I believe that via websites like mun:planet, people will be informed even more.
MUNPlanet: What makes a MUN conference great, in your opinion?
Well, in my opinion, a great conference has unity in the diversity of its opportunities. Some delegates are solely interested in the debate while some others also want to widen their horizons by meeting different people.
MUNPlanet: We are familiar with marvellous history of Istanbul so we expect that there is a plenty to see and do. What we should not miss to visit and experience while we are there?
The Historical Peninsula is the place where the world’s biggest empires fought to control the city that has its feet on two continents. Let alone historical monuments such as the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapı Palace, even having a walk of ten minutes in the cobblestone streets in the peninsula makes people feel like they are witnessing history being made firsthand. A Bosphorus boat trip is also a must-see for visitors because it epitomises the nomadic daily life of the natives of Istanbul. All of these and some extra features are included in our optional sightseeing trip but there are also some popular urban areas such as the Taksim Square, Kadikoy and Bebek.
MUNPlanet: Can you break down the costs of the things in the city? MUNers are very often traveling on budget. Can you give us some tips on how to get the most out of the experience in Istanbul? Tell us about the cheapest ways to commute, eat, explore, etc.
Istanbul is one of the cheapest metropolitan areas on the earth and believe me, I am not exaggerating. Public transpiration tickets are only 1.30 € and discounts apply in mass purchases. Although public transportation gets you anywhere in the city, you can take a taxi with a tariff of 1.00€ for starters and 0.60 € per kilometre. Meals at fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King and Dominos Pizza cost in a range of 4.00-6.00 € and traditional Turkish fast-food cost even less than 3€. If you want to eat at higher-quality restaurants, the range would be 15.00-30.00 €. Prices at clothing chains such as the H&M, Nike, Zara and Aeropostale are relatively cheaper than most metropolitan cities too.
One should choose local cafes and small-restaurants save money on food. For instance a dish of Döner would cost 3.00€ at a local cafe while it can cost up to 10€ in more fancy places. Public transportation is also a benefit for travellers with reduced budgets. In terms of accommodation, prices may vary but there is an appropriate hotel for every budget in İstanbul.
MUNPlanet: We’ve heard so much about delicious Turkish traditional food. What kind of meal should we not miss while in Istanbul? Most importantly, will you be preparing it for everyone?
MUNDP offers some traditional Turkish food in its lunches and social events but we suggests our participants to further discover the Turkish cuisine. To begin with, you should definitely try Döner (Traditional Shawarma), İskender (Shawarma with organic yoghurt and butter) and Adana Kebap (Spiced meat in thick tortilla). Also mantı, Turkish ravioli, is one of the most loved dishes in Turkey. It is so much associated with our culture that you cannot tell people that you have visited Turkey if you haven’t tried mantı! For desserts, Baklava and Künefe too will amaze you.
MUNPlanet: What is one thought, one idea, that you want your delegates to leave with once the conference is over?
We want our participants to leave with a sense of being inspired once the conference is over. MUNDP serves as an example of Unity in Diversity with its broad participant base and my former encounters showed me that all of our participants leave the conference with a knowledge about new people and new cultures that make them feel inspired.
MUNPlanet: What has been the funniest thing that ever happened at MUNDP?
Every year, MUNDP is endorsed by several sponsors and 2 years ago one of our sponsors was a fruit-yoghurt company. Our visitors loved the yoghurts so much that they made numerous role-plays in which they found ways to get “sexy” while eating the yoghurts. The results were hilarious because there were even some people who poured yoghurt on them. Also, the filming of our closing videos has been only one of the funniest activities that our participants are involved. We really wonder what will be this year’s trend!