The Model United Nations Association Munich (MUNAM) delegation participated in the 5th annual Mediterranean Model United Nations (MEDMUN 2018), hosted at Sciences Po’s campus de Menton. With the theme of Institutional Integrity with a focus on Human Rights, Political Pluralism, and State Stability, MEDMUN 2018 was an opportunity for the MUNAM delegation to partake in a highly accurate simulation of the actualities of the United Nations and its affiliate organizations.
A part of the delegation gathered in the beautiful city of Nice two days in advance to the conference in order to set up a proper teamwork environment and help each other give the last retouches to their Position Papers.
While some of the delegation flew in directly, others formed a car pool to get to the conference. Crossing three European borders before finally arriving in France was not only a little adventure. It also provided a perfect opportunity to prepare mentally for the project ahead that we shared as a team. After almost ten hours on the road, involuntary detours and interesting conversations among friends, the excited and thrilled delegation arrived in Menton eventually.
On Friday, 23rd March, the whole delegation set out on their way to the SciencePo Campus through the picturesque streets of Menton. Following the check-in, we met members of the MEDMUN Organizing Team and other students participating in the conference. The sunny weather and the wonderful view of the Côte d’Azur complimented the exciting atmosphere that these young people from the world over exuded in their desire to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.
Unlike many conferences where it mostly is not certain whether resolutions would be reached on all of the topics in the committees, we discovered that this time both topics had to be discussed equally. This posed the challenge of presenting the assigned country’s position efficiently and persuasively in very few words. However, this realization solely drove us to show our best. Accompanied by the four faculty advisors, the delegation engaged in debates at the French Riviera situated just across the Mediterranean from where the faced conundrums take place.
Four of us had the pleasure of taking part in fruitful debate in the Human Rights Council. Each delegate had been assigned a country to represent the topics of LGBTQ rights in the Middle East and the question of Kurdish independence. Part of the preparation before the weekend was not only to inform oneself of the assigned nation’s policy, but also to distinguish allies from the rest of the nations present. By the end of the opening speeches, most delegates were already exchanging notes and forming alliances, which couldn’t have been more controversial and therefore interesting.
The conference also gave the delegates an opportunity to participate in the Security Council, one of the six main organs of the United Nations. The Security Council is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. This committee poses a particular challenge because its members have to determine the existence of threats to the peace or acts of aggression. The conundrums, which our delegate in the Security Council had to tackle for the duration of the conference, regarded the integrity of Libyan judicial institutions and the validity of Israeli settlements. Representing Kuwait, she managed to stand out due to her excellent performance and was awarded as Best Delegate.
In addition to the traditional United Nations committees, MEDMUN had to offer a rich variety of crisis committees. Organized as real-time crisis simulations, these committees required very precise and detailed organization. This task was executed efficiently by the MEDMUN organizing team. Throughout the whole conference, the Press Committee made sure that all developments in the crisis committees were made as transparent as possible with their reporting, using and impressive array of online blogs, social media and print journalism.
Having to deal with sudden and unforeseen crisis situations with the aid of armed conflict, corruption, political aid, manipulations, and of course, diplomacy, crisis committees are just as big of a challenge for delegates as it is for the organizers. Every individual action dictates the outcome of the simulations, from social reforms to military interventions. For this purpose, each delegate was expected to be well informed about their roles and fully aware of their capabilities during the crisis. Due to the volatile nature of these committees, the communication between the delegates was an essential part of the delegates’ task.
A newly emerged Kurdish State was in the hands of three MUNAM delegates, who were assigned roles in the Kurdistan 2050 future crisis committee. This crisis consisted of three sub-committees – The Democratic Federation of Kurdistan, The Islamic Republic of Turkey, and The Provisional Government of Iraq. Two delegates were in the sub-committee of the Islamic Republic of Turkey, representing the President of the Republic and the Secretary of the National Intelligence Agency. The third delegate participating in the future crisis represented the Commander of the Armed Forces (Peshmerga) in the Kurdistan sub-committee.
In the second crisis committee three other MUNAM delegates acted in a post-war age of failing empires and had to elaborate all aspects of institutional integrity. They worked together in the Tripartite Alliance representing the Minister for Defense of the United Kingdom, the Minister for Defense of France and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. As a simulation of the Suez Crisis of 1956, hence a historical crisis committee, it allowed delegates to use historical revisionism to switch the turn of events, changing the course of history forever. Despite all challenges, a Best Delegate Award and a Honorable Mention for the Kurdistan 2050 committee were given to two MUNAM members.
The question of institutional integrity was also nimbly raised for law enthusiasts in a simulation of the International Court of Justice. One member of MUNAM pleaded before the Court, representing a Senior Advocate and leading a team of Junior Advocates in arguing their positions during two separate proceedings. As the principle judicial body of the United Nations, the ICJ oversees judicial activity on the international stage, which makes the verdicts it delivers highly controversial. Similarly to the crisis committees, one of the cases was historical and was argued unsuccessfully before the ICJ in a case dating from the 1950s. The second case was a theoretical, contemporary proceeding in which Qatar questions the legitimacy of the sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in 2017. Even though a crisis occurred during the examination of the witnesses and two of our delegate’s witnesses were kidnapped by Hezbollah, our delegate managed to persuade the Court through her legal expertise and clever tactics, and brought back home to Munich the Best Advocate Award.
We spent the evenings after sessions networking with students from nearly every corner of the planet. Not only did we learn a lot about important issues of today’s world and gain useful experience in negotiating, we also built many new friendships. At the end of each MUN conference, one always comes to the realization how essential it is to enter into dialogue with others and try to find common language in order to prepare for the future we are all going to share. For this reason, we are already looking forward to take part in our next conference together – EuroMUN in Maastricht.
Lisa Hoffäller, Ana Popova