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!


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