If you want to make a proper impression about something, you should consider all points of view. Of course, it is very exciting to be present at a MUN conference, to watch how delegates negotiate and defend their own points of view, how they try to find the best solution not only in general but for their specific country as well. Nevertheless, the true taste of MUN can be understood only by being one of the delegates. That’s why I would like to present another side of the UN from the perspective of the participants.
Before attending MUN conferences you mentioned that you would like to develop your soft skills and learn how to overcome difficulties. Do you see any improvements in these areas after the conferences? What else have you learned?
Neonila Glukhodid, Political Science and Theater- and Media Studies: True, the program is heavily aimed at developing skills of negotiation and teamwork with absolutely different types of people. One should not, of course, expect a complete personality make-over but, certainly, FAUMUN gives one the possibility to challenge him- or herself in a rather competitive and varied environment. Generally, I would say that MUN is not simply a United Nations simulation but also quintessentially a simulation of the real life. And the participation in this program has of course taught me to prepare and give a speech in front of a large crowd and feel rather secure about it but more importantly it has widened my horizon and gave me an once-in-a-lifetime-experience.
What was the most challenging task during the trainings or conferences? And what did you enjoy the most?
Neonila: To work under time pressure the 9th hour in a row was what I found most challenging. 🙂 But it is also extremely gratifying and exciting!
When you first applied to the FAUMUN project, you set yourself a goal to improve your self-presentation, rhetoric or team-work skills. Now that you participated in a number of different events, do you feel any difference? Did you manage to learn some new skills?
Thomas Hohnholz, Political Science and Common Law: I would definitely say yes! I do feel a difference! It is a main part of the project to work on exactly these skills. Therefor we had long weekend seminars from the end of October until the Christmas-holidays, for which we met up every Saturday and Sunday. We had seminars on negotiating or giving speeches, for example. By attending different conferences we got a chance to make use of what we had learned. It was really helpful to start out in a small “Mini-MUN” which took place at the universitybuildings in Erlangen before taking part in the ”Security-MUN” (SECMUN) at the university of the German Bundeswehr in Munich. Here, I was part of the Human Rights Council which was quite challenging as the Bundeswehr-guys really knew what they were talking about! But this is what we had been trained for during our weekend seminars. Eventually we took part at the Bayern-MUN which was great fun and hard work, too! With 46 delegations and roughly 100 delegates, this was the largest MUN we took part in so far. I think that this is where I can especially tell a great difference: Being able to stand up in front of more than 100 people, giving a speech and fighting for your position is something really worthwhile! And those going to the NMUN in New York will even have to give speeches in front of more than 400 people! That will be a great challenge.
Which country did you represent at bayernMUN? And did you manage to work out some plan for this country in terms of climate change or refugee problems?
Thomas: Together with my partner I represented Turkey at bayernMUN and worked out an action plan for each topic. So yes, we had ideas to fight climate change and how to enhance the rights of refugees which were in line with Turkey´s national politics. Every delegation writes down their action plans in a position paper to make their national position and ideas clear to other delegations before going to the conferences. At the conference (bayernMUN) we found an alliance to work on a draft resolution and were able to implement our idea from the position paper to the draft resolution in identical form. Unfortunately our draft resolution was not passed… But yes, the ideas were there 😀
Has FAUMUN or bayernMUN changed anything in your life? Have you learned any new skills or improved old ones?
Rafael Bravo Roger, International Business Studies: I think most importantly, FAUMUN gives you the opportunity to gain some practical experience of delivering speeches and of negotiating. Apart from that it was interesting for me to find out that the most obvious criterion is not always the most relevant. For instance, convincing people is sometimes neither possible nor necessary to achieve a compromise or the fact that stylistic devices and creating an arc of suspense matters, especially in short speeches. Moreover, you get to learn various things about coalition-building and communication.
If you were to persuade a new student to take part in FAUMUN next year, what reasons could you name?
Rafael: In regular courses you hardly get the opportunity to exchange your thoughts with so many students from different areas. FAUMUN gives you a chance to get an idea of how the UN works and while it’s true that it is time-consuming you will also be able to make a lot of friends. So if you are looking for something that really differs from your normal university routine and if you are motivated you will fit right in.
Thank you for the interviews and I wish you new exciting experiences!