“The new MUNAM delegation consisting of 14 students from all fields of study spent the weekend of October 17-19 with the current executive team at Villa Breitenberg for the annual team-building weekend.
On Friday afternoon, we arrived at Villa Breitenberg, a beautiful building dating back to 1907. The historical mansion as well as its spacious garden and the picturesque surroundings of the Bavarian Forest served as the perfect backdrop for a weekend of fruitful discussion and team-building activities.
After sharing a typical Bavarian dinner on Friday night, the delegation took part in its first workshop. A member of the executive team presented the different work stages during a United Nations simulation and we learned how to proceed from a working paper to the ultimate goal of every simulation: the final resolution. Once we had concluded our workshop, the rest of the evening was devoted to the “Bavarian Olympics”, a range of quizzes and fun activities connected to Bavarian culture, which had to be carried out by two competing teams.
The next day, we finally had the chance to apply our previously acquired knowledge about the United Nations during our very first simulation. In the run-up to our team- building weekend, every delegate had been assigned a country. During our preparation, we had all done research on our country’s political standing, especially in the field of our simulation’s two topics: ‘Migration and Human Rights’ and ‘The Paris 2015 UN Climate Change Conference: Towards a global climate agreement?’.
After the mandatory roll call, we voted on the topic to be set on the meeting’s agenda. The vast majority of the delegates favored a debate on climate change and the possibilities of the upcoming 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Once the agenda had been set, it was time to go into medias res. During various speeches, all delegates presented their country’s view on the topic of climate change. These speeches alternated with periods of unmoderated caucus, allowing the delegates to mingle freely in order to exchange ideas. By lunchtime, the first country alliances had been established and the concept of a global climate agreement gradually took shape.
We paused the simulation for a delicious lunch prepared by members of the executive team, which was then followed by a rhetoric workshop including voice training exercises aiming at a greater awareness of our voice and presence during speeches.
Back in the conference room, we spent the afternoon debating possible ways to mitigate and prevent climate change, carefully taking into consideration the different circumstances and needs of both developed and developing countries. The idea of a new Global Climate Bank was accepted among many UN member states and therefore became the core of our working papers. During several hours of productive – at times heated – discussion, the working papers were turned into draft resolutions and by 8 pm, we were finally able to pass our first resolution.
After a long day of debating, we spent the evening playing games, chatting and showing off some dance moves.
On our last day at Villa Breitenberg, every member of the delegation received valuable feedback on his/her performance during the simulation from the executive team. We also addressed various organizational topics, such as fundraising and our options for accommodation at WorldMUN in Seoul. After some final team-building games and thanking our wonderful hosts, the Leiner family, for welcoming us at their charming Villa, we returned to Munich.
It is safe to say that our team-building weekend was an unforgettable experience. Not only did we learn more about the UN as an organization and the procedures of a UN simulation, but we also got to experience world politics first-hand and developed an awareness of the difficulties connected with finding a common denominator among countries with different national and global interests. For some of us, it was not always easy to assume our country’s position as it differed from our personal viewpoint. It is however exactly this process which fosters intercultural competency and understanding and makes UN simulations such valuable experiences.
As for our team, the different activities allowed us to get to know each other better and develop a greater team chemistry. Many stimulating debates and evenings spent together have further sparked our motivation and we are hugely looking forward to participating in IsarMUN, MainMUN and WorldMUN.”