The first and joint delegation from ETH MUN and the MUN Team UZH
In April 2009, one of the most ambitious projects so far has been realized: together with the MUN Team UZH, ETH MUN established the first delegation going to the annual National Model United Nations Conference (NMUN) in New York City, which took placefrom April 7th to April 11th 2009 in Marriott Marquis Hotel at Times Square.The NMUN is the most demanding conference of its kind and world-renowned for its outmost challenging debates and a meeting of the best students getting involved with international diplomacy.
Around 4,500 students from over 320 institutions attended this outstanding conference and every second delegate was coming from outside the US. One of the highlights of NMUN was certainly the opening ceremony and closing session, which both took place in the UN Headquarters. Although United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was not giving a speech himself during the opening ceremony to this year’s NMUN Conference, a message of him was read out by the Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka. Ban Ki-moon emphasized that a model could, and shall, not only be interpreted as a ‘small copy’, but as ‘a praiseworthy example to be copied’. It was idealism that connects youth to the UN.
Our joint delegation consisted of six students from ETH Zurich and four students from the University of Zurich. Together, we represented the Kingdom of Lesotho in the following UN committees:
General Assembly Plenary (GA Plenary)
General Assembly 1st Committee (DISEC)
General Assembly 2nd Committee (ECOFIN)
General Assembly 3rd Committee (SOCHUM)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee (UNHCR)
African Development Bank (AfDB)
World Trade Organization Ministerial Meeting (WTO)
The NMUN conference in New York City was enriching and inspiring for all of us – be it the experience of addressing an audience of up to 300 delegates, of working out resolutions together with student diplomats from all over the world, or attending the last session of the GA Plenary in the UN Headquarters itself. Apart from the session in the UN Headquarters, our delegation had also the opportunity to meet the Consul General of Switzerland in New York, Ambassador Christoph Bubb. During an exciting meeting, we learned much about the Swiss position in the United States, international economic relations, and – of course – diplomacy.
Looking once back to the time before the actual conference, our delegation worked hard to prepare for it. That included both to write a position paper based on individual research for three different topics to be discussed per committee, as well as a special session held in December 2008 where the delegates got familiar with formal Rules of Procedure, learned how to write a proper resolution, and talked about the UN System and Charter, as well as different additional workshops and a lecture by Prof. Dr. Rudolf Steiger to improve one’s rhetorical skills and techniques. Besides, we have also discussed several video recordings of previous weekly training sessions in order to revise and improve rhetorical skills during speeches in front of the audience.
As a more practical preparation, all delegates attended the JunesMUN 2009 in Zurich and completed this national conference with great success, being able to obtain one best delegate award in the Security Council. In addition, some of our delegates simulated the GA Plenary together with the NMUN delegation of the Swiss Study Foundation during a weekend in January, and focused on proper use of the Rules of Procedure and formal resolution writing. We got very positive feedback from both events and think that this definitely improved our preparation for NMUN.