2018 – a cornerstone year for volunteer Shirin Ud-Din (Team VI)
2018 was an exciting year for me with lots of new impressions. At the beginning of this year I had the chance to do an internship abroad, in a small village in Laos, as part of Team VI. This opportunity enriched my life in many different ways, personally and academically. From then on, this experience continued to stay on my mind.
In September, I was very happy to visit Laos again and to help Team VII settle in their new sourroundings. At that time I already knew that I would participate in the National Model United Nations¹ in New York in 2019 in the role of a Head Delegate. The National Model United Nations in New York is the largest simulation of the United Nations in the world.
A Head Delegate leads a delegation and organizes the framework for the delegates. He or she supports the delegation in every aspect of the project: Organizing the journey, booking hotel rooms, finding out about entry requirements to the United States of America and much more. In my case, I will also work in a committee during the conference, namely the General Assembly Third Committee. This committee deliberates over topics such as social and humitarian affairs and human rights issues.
This enterprise would not be possible without my scholarship from the Stiftung der deutschen Wirtschaft (Foundation of the School of German Business), which supports this work experience financially. The other 14 delegates also have scholarships from the same foundation. For good preparation beforehand, we hold three big meetings in our 8-month preparation time, in which we talk about the current phase of the project, e.g. fundraising, committee work, finances, embassy visit, and much else. On top, we also carry out mock debates to get to know the rules of procedures during such a conference. As we live all over Germany, we decided to meet in the “middle” of Germany, in Frankfurt, so that the journey is not too long for any of us.
While still in Laos, I was waiting for the announcement of the allocation of the country which my delegation and I would represent. Fortunately, my wish became true: We will represent the Lao PDR at the Model United Nations in New York in 2019. Most of my delegates have not had any experience of the world of the Model United Nations, and neither have I. Because of this, we participated in different smaller-scale, German Model United Nations conferences that lasted for two to five days.
In my case, I visited the KAMUN, which is a small simulation of the United Nations in Karlsruhe and takes place every year with around 200 student participants. At the KAMUN I also represented the country Laos to grow into my new role a little ahead of time. I saw KAMUN as an opportunity to take a closer look at the country of Laos before the simulation in New York, especially from a political, economic, and social point of view, so as to feel thematically more secure.
2019 – What is to come next
By now, we are all very excited in anticipation of the big event, and our next adventure before going to New York will be a visit to the Lao Embassy in Berlin in January 2019. There we will meet His Exellency Mr Kaseumsack Saysouriya, who has offered to answer all of our questions about his country.
For February, we have another invitation for a preparatory workshop, this time by Prof. Isabel Martin in Karlsruhe. We already realised that diplomatic language is very different from our everyday language, so we still need some advice from persons who have experience in diplomatic circles.
On the 13th of April 2019, we will take the plane to New York City. I hope we will have fruitful discussions and develop some suggestions for solutions for current issues in the world, i.e. environmental issues, climate change, international security, economic growth and international trade, human trafficking, the inclusion of people with disabilities, and peace-keeping operations. Normally, accepted papers during the conference are not taken into consideration by the real United Nations, but sometimes some students make a positive impression on the conference staff, which can open unknown doors.
The primary focus and goal, however, is the academic development of the students as well as the development of competencies like critical thinking, leadership abilities, and team work.
If you are interested in following our adventure at the National Model United Nations, you are invited to visit our homepage!
Text by S. Ud-Din
Photos & videos by S. Ud-Din & S. Ritter
¹The “National Model United Nations” is the largest simulation of the United Nations in the world and takes place in New York every year. Around 6,200 students from all over the world annually participate in this event. The NMUN wants to “prepar[e] university students to be better global citizens and the next generation of international leaders. Participants in our United Nations simulations propose solutions to global concerns while gaining skills in debate, conflict resolution, and compromise” (nmunny).
NMUN NY.”New York”.https://www.nmun.org/conferences/new-york.html (accessed December 28, 2018)