“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Taking Henry Ford’s advice to heart, this year’s MUNAM delegation – consisting of 19 students accompanied by 7 old members – spent the last days of October by the Wörthsee near Munich for the annual “Teambuilding Weekend”. By Sunday we had had the pleasure to get to know the one another a lot better and had mastered our first UN simulation – even better than expected according to our chairs.
Arriving on Friday evening, everyone was enthusiastic and excited for the days to come. We were warmly welcomed by beautiful Bavarian scenery, a cozy house and, most importantly, our executive committee. After we had settled in, we were shortly informed on the agenda for the following days, which included both a social as well as an educational program. Then preparations for dinner began, which turned out to be a culinary adventure. Luckily, the lack of female guidance during grocery shopping was partly compensated during the cooking process. Well fed, we moved on to a relaxed and funny evening initiated by the “Bavarian Olympics”, a set of games with two teams battling for victory in disciplines like “gargling songs”, “Oktoberfest-quiz”, “arm wrestling”, etc. The games completely fulfilled their purpose of creating a fun atmosphere while overcoming inhibitions towards one another. As the losing team proved to be real sportsmen, their defeat didn’t lower the mood for the rest of the get-together (which went on until the early morning). At some point the most daring amongst us even decided to have a dip in Wörthsee regardless of the late-autumnally temperatures. Hats off, that’s one way to boost your immune system!
Nonetheless, we had to prove our work ethic the next morning, when – after a restoring breakfast – our first simulation session commenced. Probably due to our excitement and therefore raised adrenalin levels, the fatigue didn’t let show then. Beforehand, each delegate had been assigned a country they were to represent regarding the topic of “capacity-building in refugee host countries”. Preparation involved collecting information on countries positions as well as formulating policy proposals on the topic on hand in a so-called position paper. After the opening speeches, debating began and we soon found ourselves in the middle of the art of diplomacy, eagerly forming alliances and searching for common ground. At the end of an exhausting (but fulfilling) day of (un)moderated caucuses, working papers and draft resolutions, one of potential resolutions was passed. (A little prematurely maybe, since we had already exceeded our time and at this point fatigue had kicked in, definitely lowering our spirit of compromise.) However, fatigue couldn’t lower our social capacities, so we enjoyed a lovely evening without a fixed program or the prospect of getting a sufficient amount of sleep, which didn’t matter, of course, as we found ourselves surrounded by great company.
All in all, I suppose I am speaking for all of us thanking our executives, who made this weekend possible and put great effort into making it run smoothly. Great job, guys! Obviously, we learnt a lot – not only about the UN, but also about each other. I am certain we are all looking forward to working together with interesting and impressive characters and further growing together as a delegation. Thus we will hopefully be at our best in March and April, when we get dressed to impress at Harvard WorldMUN in Montreal and EuroMUN in Maastricht.