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MU students organised MUN conference

Students from the Faculty of Social Studies held a model United Nations (MUN) conference over the weekend, simulating a UN meeting dealing with topics such as the climate emergency, economic development and human rights.

Participants of the FSS MUN 2023 conference

On Saturday 4 March, Masaryk University hosted an all-day FSS MUN conference, continuing in the tradition started by the MUNI MUN student club, which brought the Model United Nations format to Brno eight years ago. The event was the first of its kind at MU in four years. MUN conferences or international models of the United Nations are very popular with hundreds of similar academic simulations held each year all over the world.

“We are very happy that we managed to renew the tradition this year and that MU students could once again try out what it’s like to be a UN delegate and represent the interests of their assigned country. Events such as this one allow students to learn about diplomacy and finding international compromises, and at the same time hone their argumentation and communication skills and their critical thinking,” said conference organisers Terezie Hiclová and Abhinav Banerjee, who comes from India.

Diverse backgrounds

Almost 50 students from four MU faculties attended the March event. The conference participants had quite diverse backgrounds, coming from many different parts of the world such as Ireland, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Greece, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, the US and other countries. The organisers assigned countries to the students to represent at the simulated UN meeting, so they had to study a lot of background materials beforehand and find out where their countries stood on the issues that would be discussed. Accordingly, they then defended their countries’ interests at the international assembly.

Three UN committees were meeting in parallel at the conference, each dealing with a different subject matter. While the UN Security Council addressed territorial disputes over Taiwan and surrounding regions, the Human Rights Council discussed human rights issues in Iran and the protection of the rights of migrants. The last group of delegates at the Economic and Social Council dealt with climate change, sustainable development and economic sustainability in developing countries after the pandemic.

The deliberations of all three committees were divided into four sessions. The first began at 9 am after the official opening by the UN Secretary-General played by Serbian student Maša Mitić. Several hours of talks ended just before 5 pm. The closing ceremony of the conference was remotely attended by the deputy Israeli ambassador to Portugal, Yotam Kreiman, who is an alumnus of the Faculty of Social Studies and founder of the previous MUNI MUN club. Mr Kreiman shared his experience and also told the students about how MUN paved the path to his current diplomatic career.

At the end of the conference, the organisers awarded prizes in the categories of best prepared and comprehensible speech, best adopted resolution and best motivational essay (submitted as part of the conference applications) to the three winning candidates. After the event, the students continued their discussions informally outside the faculty premises.

According to the organisers, the conference was a great success and they would like to organise the event again next semester. “We have always wanted to try something like this during our studies and we were very pleased that there was a lot of interest in MUN among other students as well. Next semester, we plan to open the event to even more students. This year’s conference was a pilot event and it was quite challenging to organise everything, but in our team of twelve, we were well coordinated and divided responsibilities well among ourselves. We also had a lot of help from the faculty and our teachers, who provided constant support, as well as the premises. We could hardly have managed without them. Next time, we will surely improve on some of the details, more people will apply and we will gain even more experience,” said the organiser Terezie Hiclová.

The FSS MUN student club plans to organise another simulated UN meeting in October or November this year. If you are interested in participating, follow the FSS MUN Instagram account to find out when and how to sign up.

The simulated UN meeting took place at the MU Faculty of Social Studies.
During the simulated negotiations, students represented the interests of their assigned countries and had to study lots of materials to learn about their country’s position on various issues.
Delegates representing the interests of Iran and Switzerland.
Yotam Kreiman, Deputy Chief of the Israeli embassy in Portugal and Masaryk University graduate, also spoke to the students at the end of the conference.