Di­plo­ma­cy with a click of a mouse - or the start of the MUN con­fe­rence sea­son

The last two weekends were filled with conferences for the Paderborn Model United Nations club. At so-called “MUNs”, conferences of the United Nations are simulated, and students take on the role of the delegation of a Member State and their positions on current political issues.

On January 22nd and 23rd, PaderMUN hosted the PrepMUN conference, which is specifically designed for students who are attending MUN conferences as delegates for the first time. Stina Lorenz, who served as Secretary General, opened the conference with a hopeful message that even though the alternative MUN conferences were a success, we are looking forward to living in a world again where Corona is only a beer, tests are only taken in schools, masks are worn only on Halloween, and where being positive is actually something positive again as soon as possible.

The topics of labor laws for migrants and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trafficked and displaces individuals were discussed. Additionally, our students were joined by UN enthusiasts from the University of Siegen, with whom PaderMUN has been cooperating for years, joined for PrepMUN. The largest share of delegates was made up by students of the Oral Proficiency course taught by Denise Parkinson. Conference participation at PrepMUN provided an authentic setting where oral proficiency students could immerse in the English language for two days and give prepared and off the cuff speeches. A total of 42 delegates attended the Paderborn PrepMUN. For his outstanding performance representing France, Jannis Klein received an award as the best delegate from the University of Paderborn. The organizers used the informal sessions, in which students worked on resolutions in smaller groups, to do dance workouts together - a welcome break to exercise after sitting at the desk all day.

From 29th to 31rd January, eleven students from the University of Paderborn also participated in the digital MUN conference hosted by the University of Erfurt. This was the third invitation from the EfMUN delegation In the Security Council and the General Assembly, the main topics of the impact of the COVID-19 on the situation in Yemen and conflict-related sexual violence were discussed. For their submitted position papers, which are published before the conference and summarize the delegates' attitude towards the topics, the students Julia Austermann (represented Uganda), Kristine Fibich (Estonia), Miri Frings (Sweden) and Antonia Düsing (United Kingdom) received awards and the delegation of Sweden won an award as best delegate of the General Assembly.

The EfMUN organizers named the General Assembly’s working groups after Bernd das Brot and the Sandmann, which led to confusion among students who had not visited the beautiful city of Erfurt yet. This encourages PaderMUN even more to participate in the EfMUN 2022 conference, hopefully in person again, to introduce the delegates to the statues of the local celebrities of the German children's channel.

By participating in the conference, the delegates were able to prepare intensively for the National Model United Nations Conference in New York from the 28th until the 31st of March, which will also take place digitally this year due to the pandemic. The 2021 delegation, representing Cambodia, is the 15th group of students from the University of Paderborn participating in the international conference with over 5,000 students from all over the world.

Text und Bild: Miri Frings