20 March 2014. This week, over 2000 college and graduate students from 65 countries have gathered in Brussels to participate in The Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN), an annual conference simulating the United Nations.
“People from all over the world are gathered here for the purpose of practicing diplomacy. It is truly mind-blowing”, says the excited participant Anna Lampart. She is a student at the Cambridge University in England, attending the WorldMUN for the third time, this year representing the Palestinian delegation.
The purpose of the conference is to gather great young minds from around the world to discuss important issues of today and recreate key conflicts of the past. The students participate as delegates in various UN committees, where they have to formulate the political positions of the country they represent.
UNRIC is present during the conference as observers during the committee sessions, at an info stand providing the delegates with information about UNRIC and the UN in general, and through a career seminar giving advice on a how to enter the UN system.
Thomas Sibe from Sciences Po Aix University in France is participating for the first time, and so far the conference has fulfilled all his expectations. “What is great about this event is the internationality of it, people from all over the world are coming together for the purpose of learning about the UN system”, he says. During the conference he is representing the country of Serbia in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Even though the conference is a great exercise for the students when it comes to international relations, teamwork and leadership skills, some aspects may differ a bit from the real world. “I just hung out with the delegate representing Israel”, Lampart laughs. “I know that we technically are not supposed to be best friends, but I guess that is just how WorldMUN works”, she smiles while disappearing off to the next committee meeting.
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The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
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