Geneva Field Trip 2024

After arriving in Geneva on the 27th, three days of diplomatic insights expected our delegation. The visit to the World Health Organization on the next morning was a great start to the field trip. We were introduced to some general information around the institution and its work and thereby learned more about the achievements of the WHO like the eradication of smallpox and how the institution operated during health crisis such as Covid. It was also especially interesting to hear more about the possibilities and programs the UN offers for young people who would like to become future delegates and UN-staff. Afterward, further possible career options were presented to us at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.

The last stop of the day was at the UNHCR. An interactive presentation offered information on the works of the High Commissioner for Refugees. This includes securing the rights and protection of refugees, displaced and stateless people. Furthermore, we discussed questions around possible limits to UNHCR’s work or concerning the return processes of refugees once their refugee status has been lifted. We concluded the successful day with a communal pasta and pesto dinner at the hostel.

The next morning started early at the UNESCO office in Geneva. The visit offered interesting impressions on the practical work of a UN-institution, which’s main principle is peace, with a special focus on the African region and women. Despite including only a small number of staff at its location in Geneva, the office does important educational work. Its special focus lies on the design of school curriculums, and that states can ask the office for support and advice in this regard. After a presentation and time for questions, we were able to take a closer look at the educational archive the office contains by inspecting old text books from all around the world.

Before being welcomed at the World Trade Organization, there was time for us to have a look around Geneva. It is one of the world’s diplomatic capitals with many UN institutions but also other independent organizations spread around the city. The WTO is one of them, while working closely with the UN. It was interesting to find out more about the forum for cooperation the WTO offers for the practice of fair and compatible trade rules around the world. At the same time, the visit of the WTO headquarter was a nice opportunity to take nice photos of the impressive building located directly at lake Geneva.

For our last evening in Geneva, we gathered for a final group dinner in a typical Swiss restaurant. Over cheese fondue and the sounds of live alpine music, we discussed our impressions of the last few days and came to the conclusion that the field trip had offered various new perspectives on the UN and its work.

Before taking back the train to Tübingen, the Palais des Nations was the final highlight on Friday. We were impressed by the massive building and its many conference rooms, which together form the UN-headquarter in Geneva. However, we weren’t just given a typical tour of the place. As the Human Rights Council was fortunately coming together simultaneously, we were able to watch and listen in on its meeting. This was a very special occasion to actually witness the work of the UN first hand and we will surely remember it for a long time to come. 

While unfortunatly not all of us were able to attain, the days in Geneva still brought our delegation even closer together. The next stop will now be New York in a few weeks and we’re very excited to put all that we have learned finally into practice.

TMUN 2024

Finally, after weeks of preparations, we welcomed the delegation from Hohenheim at our Tübingen Model United Nations Conference on January 26. All dressed up in business attire and given the appropriate location for the special occasion at the Große Senatssaal of the Neue Aula our delegates felt like real diplomats meeting their new colleagues for the first time.

Each year the Tübingen Delegation to the National Model United Nations in New York City hosts its own conference at the University of Tübingen. TMUN is a one-day simulation of the United Nations General Assembly. It’s a unique experience to debate with unknown delegates and thereby also practical to determine how much preparation is still necessary before we make our way to New York.

During the course of the day we discussed the topic of “Building Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure to Achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG9)”. This included giving speeches, exchanging ideas during informal session, negotiating and finding common ground to produce draft resolutions we could then vote upon. While all of us were working hard on achieving the best possible outcome we also were able to get to know each other while enjoying some snacks from our lunch buffet.

At the end of the day, we were able to adopt a resolution including the idea of a special fund for the financing of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Three delegates of each delegation from Hohenheim and Tübingen also received special awards for their outstanding performances. However, we didn’t just end our day with this satisfactory result. Instead, we came together for a nice dinner and enjoyed each other’s company. We thank the Hohenheim Delegation for their visit and are looking forward to meeting some of you again in New York. A final shout-out goes out to our TMUN department which did a fantastic job at organizing the conference.

More about Benin: Expert talk with André Rönne

What better way to learn more about a country than talking with someone on site? While for many of us Benin used to be a country we hadn’t much knowledge about, in recent months we have become minor experts on certain topics.

Nevertheless, it is a challenge to represent a country which one has never set foot in. Therefore we are very grateful that on January 9, we had the great opportunity to talk with André Rönne via Zoom. He has been active in the West African region for many years and is now the Country Director at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for Benin. He offered interesting insights on the current situation in Benin as both an expert on the region but also a person experiencing the country and its people first hand. He for example explained how the country has slowly experienced economic growth under different reforms but on the other hand for example free speech is facing obstacles today. Especially interesting was also to hear about the relationship to the former colonial power France as Benin’s “best hated friend” with strong economic and political ties remaining.

We were able to ask all sort of questions connected to the different committee topics we will be discussing at NMUN in New York including for example topics around nuclear energy, freedom of expression, tourism, children- and human rights, cultural heritage, support for refugees and environmental sustainability. The expert talk helped us to get a better overall understanding of what life in Benin looks like and we also heard some interesting fun facts: Did you for example know that Benin, apart from Haiti, is the only country in the world recognizing voodoo as an official religion?

We thank André Rönne for taking the time to support us on our way to prepare for NMUN !

Speech Training with Marco Behrmann

And action 🎬! That seemed to be the motto of our official speech training session with Marco Behrmann, which took place last Saturday 15 January 2024. Marco Behrmann is a professional expert for personality, assessment, leadership, and team-making, from X-Rubicon with the focus of passing on speaking- and negotiationskills. After a brief introduction to principles of negotiations by Marco, it was the turn of our delegates to become active. The cameras were directed at them while presenting different speeches. This exercise came with two challenges: At first the delegates had ten minutes to prepare speeches about a random topic they were assigned, which didn’t necessarily correlate with the typical questions discussed by the United Nations. In a second round the speeches were then supposed to refer to the actual committee topics. However, it wasn’t just that easy. Our delegates were confronted with various specific scenarios which they might likely face in New York, for example giving a speech after a failed negotiation process.

After each speech everyone received an individual feedback. This was extremely helpful to become for example aware of certain unintentional habits while speaking but also served as a huge boost of confidence for many. It became clear that our delegation is quite well prepared and advanced at publicly speaking already. In addition, with the second tasks improvements to our first attempts quickly became apparent. It was also really interesting to realize that the context of giving a speech really matters a lot. The setting as well as the people you address are very important to keep in mind in order to set the right tone of a speech.

With these new insights, we were able to conclude the training with feelings of satisfaction and excitement for the upcoming opportunities where we can further demonstrate our skills: First TMUN on the 26 January and then finally at NMUN, taking place at the end of March.

It’s a wrap: The Tübingen NMUN-Delegation is heading into 2024

2023 is coming to an end, and so are our first few months together as the Tübingen 2024 NMUN-Delegation. Since our first weekly meeting-session in October, where we learned about all the details concerning the NMUN-project, lots has happened. Mid-November we held our first training simulation. This wasn’t only a possibility to learn more about the rules of procedure as well as debating at the United Nations in general. Even more so, it also meant a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other better over the cause of the weekend, be it over a shared pizza at lunch or our photo-shoot in front of the Neue Aula.

We also continuously came together in smaller working-groups for fundraising, Public Relations and preparation for TMUN, which will be our own one-day conference in Tübingen held in January. The PR-team for example regularly updated our Insta-page and Website while the fundraising team organized a bake sale in December and is currently planning the Clubhaus-Fest, taking place on the 11th of January 2024.

Apart from these important tasks, we continued to learn more about both the Republic of Benin and the different committees in which we are going to represent the country in New York City. By preparing and giving presentations about topics such as Benin’s history, culture or socio-economic situation, we were able to gather background-knowledge and interactively discuss Benin’s possible points of view on the different committee topics.

Currently, our focus lies on the preparation of individual position papers for the different committee topics. Furthermore, we will undergo a special speech-training after the Christmas break, so we’ll be able to shine not only with our knowledge but also rhetorically in New York. We feel happy and grateful for the great experiences and moments we were able to share together so far and are looking forward to the future work expecting us in 2024.

We will keep you updated on our progress and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

First Practice-Simulation for the 2024 Delegation from Tübingen

On November 18th and 19th, the Tübingen NMUN delegation participated in its first training-simulation at the Institute of Political Science. We were all looking forward to this first debate as a great opportunity to learn more about the debating process, the inner-workings of the UN as well as the appropriate ways and manners of behaving as a delegate.

Before diving into a specific topic, we all gave our agenda-setting speeches, which led to the decision of the topic “Women, Peace and Security” being debated over the cause of the weekend. At first it took some guts for many of us to give spontaneous speeches. Therefore, we also had to learn that keeping our countries off the speakers list, would mean a forced end of debate on the topic. However, we all soon overcame our beginning shyness and were able to get into proper debate on the topic. Furthermore, we had to make not only use of our rhetorical skills, but also of negotiation-tactics in informal sessions. In order to convince other delegates of specific standpoints and clauses in our working-papers, many of us had to face the challenge to let go of our personal standpoints and fully get into the role of representing our country and its core-beliefs.

In our first attempts at writing working papers, we faced several challenges: finding common standpoints between the different nations we were representing, coming up with concrete and practically realizable suggestions on the issue at hand, and putting them into correct wording and appropriate language. Both of our working groups managed to create strong working papers, which then became draft-resolutions we voted on. By Sunday evening we were finally able to adopt one of the two draft-resolutions.

Besides the fact that we all learned a lot about the different motions and ways of debating through our active participation in the simulation, the weekend was an amazing opportunity to get to know each other better as well. While sharing pizza for lunch, we were able to bond over our excitement for the upcoming projects as well as our trip to New York in March. In a final feed-back round it became clear that the simulation overall was a great experience and an important step forward in our preparation process for participation at the 2024 NMUN-conference.


Photo credit: Alexander Orlowski

NMUN 2023 – Tübingen goes New York

It’s a wrap! After a term of preparation, the Tübingen Delegation participated successfully at the National Model United Nations in New York City. All the work throughout the semester, including learning about the inner workings of the United Nations, the code of conduct at the conference, and of course the research into the country represented by the delegation, Malaysia, paid off. Our group of 16 students did a lot of research, organised and participated in smaller simulations, visited institutions of the UN in Geneva and worked hard on our position papers during the winter term as well as during the semester break. After five intense but rewarding days in New York our delegation was even able to take an award of an Honourable Mention back to Germany.

On Sunday, April 2nd, all of us had arrived in New York City and met at the Hilton Midtown Hotel, where the conference would be held. After checking into the rooms and finding a moment to relax, the simulation started with the Opening Ceremony in the hotel’s Great Ballroom. Sitting in the grand room filled with other students only further fostered the excitement for the days to come. A highlight of the ceremony was the speech by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Representative of the US to the UN, who used her speech to highlight the importance of kindness and compassion in diplomacy. After the ceremony was done, all participants went to their committees for an evening session in which the topics for the upcoming simulations were decided on.

Monday morning started with an excursion. As representatives of Malaysia our delegation had the honour to visit the Malaysian mission to the UN in New York. In an interesting talk the students had the change to learn even more about Malaysia, the workings of the UN, and especially Malaysia’s foreign policies and positions within the UN. Well informed the students then could go into more committee sessions on Monday afternoon, as well as throughout Tuesday. The long and exhausting days paid off on Wednesday when all committees could finish their papers into draft resolutions which then were voted on in the afternoon. The vast majority of draft resolutions were accepted and all participants could end the sessions full of pride and relief  with the official motion to adjourn the meeting for this simulation.

The end of a successful conference has to be celebrated, of course, and the our delegation staid in character by enjoying Wednesday evening with a dinner at an Malaysian restaurant. Finally, we had a chance to enjoy the food of the country that we had been studying for half a year. After two very busy days, a bit of celebration was in order.

Thursday began with mock voting ceremonies in two big groups, the General Assembly with minor committees and the ECOSOC with minor committees, in the hotel. Each committee presented one of their resolutions and the big group of delegations voted on them. Afterwards, it was time to get to the UN Headquarters, where the official closing ceremony took place. The delegations participating in NMUN gathered in the hall of the General Assembly. Even after four days of the simulation, actually being in the hall was a great honour and left an impression on everyone. Two speakers were invited for the ceremony. Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Maher Nasser, the Director of Outreach at the UN Department of Global Communications. They shared their experiences working at the UN, but also their hopes and dreams for the future, calling upon the participants to dare to dream big and change the world.

During the closing ceremony it was also times for awards. While those are by far not the most important part of the experience, we are proud to not only get an Honourable Mention for our presentation as the Malaysian delegation, but we also got rewarded for our hard work on the position papers. Congratulations to the representatives of Malaysia in the GA3, IAEA, UNEA, HRC, CPD, and CSW for their awards! But regardless of all the success in form of awards, most importantly the delegation can look back on a week of hard work, proving all their knowledge and endurance, and everyone was rightfully proud of their achievements.

As it is tradition, the end of the conference was of course celebrated as well, and the last get-together of NMUN was the Delegate Dance with another opportunity to meet new people, talk to each other, or just dance off all the stress.

Looking back at not only the time in New York but the whole project, it was a great personal gain for everyone to participate in the project. We had to develop organisational skills, not only in an academic context, but also to keep the project running and promote it. In preparation for the conference, we had to learn rhetoric skills, diplomatic work and conduct. Maybe even more important however, learning how to engage in diplomatic discussions, how to advocate for your position, and to give speeches, demanded resilience, endurance, and self-confidence. All of us grew in these aspects during the project. Further, not only the academic and occupational aspects were fostered. Every participant was able to learn a lot from the others, not only within the Tübingen delegation, but also with the international students in New York. And last but definitely not last, strong and reliable friendships grew during the project. Most of us went into the project not knowing many other participants and at the end of the days in New York one strong friend group was formed.

However, there are also things that can be criticised. For all the talk about being an international conference, the majority of students participating were from the US and Canada, with some Western European countries filling in some more spots. Except for a few very few exceptions, the conference was coined and led by Western students. This unfortunately leads to some very euro-centric discussions and positions brought forward. Further, sometimes the conversations in the committees proved to be challenging with different students having very different approaches to the idea of success in the conference. And finally, it will remain challenged how realistic the simulation truly is with every participant trying their best to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible. Political disputes of the world only found their way into the conference rooms very seldom.

This project has been a lot of work for everyone involved and it forced every single participant to truly pull their weight in order to be successful. It was very demanding in both academic and personal terms, however the personal growth and the pride after finishing the simulation was worth it. Successfully participating and enjoying the time was only possible because of the amazing group of students of this delegation. Taking part in NMUN was not a solo-effort but the result of 16 students becoming friends and working hard together. And of course, there was no way to have done this alone, and we especially want to thank our head delegates for all their help and support, especially in New York!


Tübinger Model United Nations (TMUN)

Last weekend, on the 03rd of February, our own Tübingen Model United Nations simulation took place. Seated in the impressive hall of the Neue Aula, the first speeches were held, and the first debates started. This time „Closing the Energy Gap for All“ was discussed and after a long day of several discussions, three solutions successfully passed.

One last time before we all leave to the big conference in New York, we were able to practice, apply motions, discuss and write resolutions and practice diplomatic conduct. After three simulations and countless debates, we are now well prepared to apply our knowledge and skills in the right environment.

New York, here we come!

A special thank you goes to the Schwäbische Tagblatt for the visit and the great interest in our project! We hope you also enjoyed watching our debates and speeches to get an impression of what we will continue in New York.

We would also like to thank the delegation of Hohenheim for participating in our simulation. We look forward to seeing you again. Furthermore, we would like to thank our amazing TMUN team for preparing the simulation, Professor Diez for speaking at our opening ceremony and our faculty advisor Lea Augenstein as well as our head delegates Helena Jordheim and Monika Hägele for their guidance during the debates.

After three successful simulations, we feel ready to represent the country of Malaysia in our committees in New York. There are still some last preparatory steps to be completed before it gets serious in New York and all the work from the semester will be applied for the last time, so look out for our updates from Geneva where we will visit several UN sub-organizations and the delegation of Malaysia to the UN.

We feel well prepared and are looking forward to the biggest UN simulation in New York!

Hohenheim Castle Model United Nations (HCMUN)

Last weekend, we were able to put our diplomatic skills, which we increasingly acquired in the seminar, to proof. The Club of Hohenheim invited us to their Model United Nations (HCMUN) at the beautiful Hohenheim Castle. Together we discussed the topic „International Cooperation Against the World Drug Problem“ and ended the day successfully with three resolutions.

HCMUN is different from a small simulation of our 16 delegates we had in the beginning of December, because with a bigger group of delegates you have to face more challenges, like finding working groups or finding a common ground. This was a good exercise, since the number of delegates we will meet in New York will be even bigger.
But at the end of the day, it turns out that we can overcome any challenge. We are all getting better and more confident and are already very excited to represent Malaysia in New York.

To celebrate the successful conference, the Hohenheim Club prepared a professional wine tasting, which allowed us to end the exhausting but educational day in a relaxed atmosphere. In addition, it was also possible for us to get to know the delegates better privately and to exchange experiences and knowledge. 

Many thanks to the Hohenheim Club for their hospitality and organization of an exciting simulation. We surely had fun with you all and we think you too.
We are very much looking forward to seeing them again at our Tübingen Model United Nations on February 3rd and in April in the city that never sleeps!

First Intern Simulation

On the first weekend of December the first internal simulation of our delegation took place. We used this opportunity to apply and understand the process of a UN negotiation and its motions. The topic that was debated for two days was „Cyber Security and Protecting against Cyber Warfare“. At the end of the discussion which entailed many fruitful debates among our delegates, three resolutions were successfully adopted.

This first simulation was an exciting and experiential change, giving us first-hand impressions of how the UN works and the chance to implement the theoretical preparation we had worked on beforehand.

It quickly became clear to us that there are several things to keep in mind, such as the speakers list, which should never run out, otherwise people will vote immediately, even though there are usually no papers to vote on yet. Additionally, it was important to find a common ground between the countries to develop specific proposals to find solutions to the problems. Lastly, it was crucial to convince other countries to support the proposals.

During the course of these two days, we realized that good proposals and strategies can generate strong collaborations that result in innovative resolutions and identify pathways to solutions. Of course, this is much more complex in real UN negotiations, because actual relations play a role and the proposals have to be more specific in terms of their funding, but nevertheless the history of the UN also shows us that cooperation is really possible, and solutions can be applied.

With this first real simulation, our delegation was able to apply important procedures, make speeches and draft resolutions quite well. We are looking forward to HCMUN and TMUN to further deepen our skills and practice in larger meetings.

Our first preparatory step towards NMUN is now completed and we are looking forward to further simulations.