To many, NZMUN is just another confusing acronym with no meaning, but to the wealth of students involved in many MUN events nationwide, it means a great deal. NZMUN, the New Zealand Model United Nations, is the national event (held in Wellington) that high school students from all around New Zealand and Australia attend each year, creating a model version of the very United Nations that keeps the world running somewhat peacefully to this day. Run by a group of incredibly onto it university students, the conferences are fresh and interesting every year. The regional events, which include Model Security Councils and Model European Unions, generally run over a day or two, whereas this national event runs over four days, including a variety of different social events that provide an opportunity for the delegates to mingle.
Run by a group of incredibly onto it university students, the conferences are fresh and interesting every year.
On the assumption that what actually happens at a Model United Nations event is still unclear to you, I will do my best to explain. Students apply and, on selection, get assigned a country from within the UN. They then must represent the government of this country and all their views on various different global issues which are discussed in committee and plenary sessions. So this means a lot of research goes into finding out your country’s stance on topics such as refugee repatriation or slum dwellers. Within these sessions, resolutions with clauses that apply to the countries within the UN are debated, discussed and amended. The delegates will speak for or against the resolution, amend the clauses that they don’t like, flail note papers around wildly, sift through facts and figures, and argue with other countries until a resolution is created that is supported by the majority.
A lot of research goes into finding out your country’s stance on topics such as refugee repatriation or slum dwellers.
So with that explained, I will move on to my personal experience at the 2013 NZMUN, which was held from July 4 to 8 and attended by over 240 delegates. To put it simply, it was fabulous and brilliant in almost every single aspect, and I had an absolute ball. I was representing Afghanistan, a very controversial member of the UN, which was a challenge at first to research; however, it was a great country to represent because its standpoints within the different resolutions were definitely not what you would call ‘mainstream.’ This was actually my first ‘proper’ MUN event, having only previously attended a Model European Union, so I was kind of throwing myself in the deep end. I decided to roll with it, and speak as much as possible whenever possible; as the saying goes, you definitely get out what you put in.
On day 1, we had a morning of training and got to know the people within our regional groups, followed by ‘The Amazing Race’, where delegates in teams ran around the city of Wellington, unintentionally overwhelming locals and completing random tasks. The fancy opening ceremony in Parliament took place in the evening. Day 2, our general committee sessions took place all day, followed by a regional dinner. Day 3, committee sessions continued, followed by a ‘Think Tank’ exercise, funnily enough, designed to make us think. Then in the evening, there was the social centrepiece of the conference, the ball, held at the Amora Hotel by the waterfront. Day 4 was the final plenary session where all of the delegates from the separate committees came together and discussed the Sustainable Development Goals, set out to be obtained in the future by all UN countries if possible.
So although the conference seems like a lot of solid effort and thinking (which it definitely does involve), there is this fantastic enthusiasm and culture that revolves around MUN events that you just can’t help but get into. All the delegates are lovely and interesting to talk to, and you make so many good friends from all over the country throughout the conference and the various social events surrounding it. The excuse to get all dressed up in businessy attire is brilliant, and I really enjoyed the independence of making my own way to Wellington, around the city, and the freedom of being able to meet up with all these new people.
Although the conference seems like a lot of solid effort and thinking, there is this fantastic enthusiasm and culture that revolves around MUN events that you just can’t help but get into.
I thoroughly recommend checking out the UN Youth site or Facebook page to see if there are any events that they are running that interest you. The NZMUN really is a life changing event, as cliché as it sounds, as it changes your perspective on things, helps you gain global awareness, and encourages a different way of thinking. I had such a fantastic time, so I will hopefully be heading back up to Wellington next year, and will definitely be applying for all the various UN Youth events on offer!