OxIMUN 2011

OxIMUN is a Model United Nations conference which takes place in the astonishing colleges of Oxford University. This year a delegation of 12 students from ETH Zurich participated at the conference which for the first time hosted more than five hundred delegates from all around the world in 16 different committees.

ETH Model United Nations represented the Russian Federation in multiple committees. The committees debated on topics as diverse as “The Question of Economic Colonisation” or “The Human Right to Freedom of Religion”.

The delegation from Zurich travelled to Oxford on Thursday October 27th. On Friday morning, the conference started with registration and guided tours by Oxford students through the historic Oxford. In the early afternoon the grand opening ceremony began and the Guest speaker, former ambassador of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Sir Jeremy Greenstock, delivered a remarkable speech on “Is the UN fit for the 21st century”. In his speech he shared thoughts on the difficulties of reforming the Security Council, pointed out the great success of the UN to make the time from 1945 until now one of the longest periods in modern history without any major war. His key message was “the responsibility to improve the UN and to enhance its influence lies in our hands, since it was created and shaped by the Second World War generation”. He asked all delegates to take responsibility and shape the future of the world in which we live. The opening ceremony was set in the stunning historic examination halls of Oxford University. After the ceremony, the first session of debates within the different committees took place.

Friday night, the first social event – a whine reception – took place in Camera bar, where the delegates could informally get in touch with other committee members. Saturday was filled with an entire day of intense debate, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. After a two hour break, the highlight of OxIMUN social events took place – the committee dinners in the historic dining halls of different Oxford colleges. While having a delicious three courses dinner in the century-old dining halls, delegates could enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of Oxford. Sitting at eighty meter long tables, which are usually only open to Oxford students, and getting to know fellow delegates outside debate sessions, turned out to be truly remarkable. In the evening, the social package included a visit to an Oxford Dance Club, where delegates were able to dancetheir stress away. However, the next day offered quite intensive debating and at 9.00 in the morning committee sessions started again. At this point of time draft resolution were discussed extensively and lobbying was crucial.

In the afternoon, the five largest UN-committees formed a General Assembly, in which the resolutions decided upon within the committees were voted on in the main body of the United Nations. After the final voting sessions of the committees or the General Assembly, respectively, the 2011 OxIMUN conference was ended with the closing ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre, with award presentation and final speeches by the different committee chairs.

After the official end of OxIMUN, the evening offered a last get together with conference participants in a relaxed bar at Oxford Castle. The delegation of ETH Zurich returned to Switzerland by Monday morning.

by Philipp Simons

We thank the the Mercator Foundation for making this trip possible.