Harvey Koo (Hong Kong, AC09-11), Laura Brouwer (The Netherlands, AC09-11)
A known fact: those friendly off-the-counter prescriptions that seemingly cure every single ailment known to man also have the coincident tendency of imparting interesting side-effects. Interestingly, the aftereffects of a Model United Nations are of a comparable nature. Trust us, both are difficult to stop once they start, and almost always they cause the victim to combust in shame.
In the case of post-MUN, you find a barely noticeable yet soon irresistible inclination to speak in third person, which for interested parties in need for a bigger ego. Furthermore, in everyday conversation you find a talent for eloquence that you never even realized you possessed, when you ‘express your concern’ for an impending economic assignment, ‘urging immediate action’, and ‘realizing’ that this concern ‘has been reiterated’ since September and finally ‘condemn with regret’ anyone but you. Obviously, the symptoms above correspond with speech, but lo and behold your limbs are also affected. In particular, you find yourself reaching for that piece of paper (plaque) deeming you as someone important, but when people interrupt, you are not only scandalized, but are forced to take solace to the only similar object you can find in the near vicinity in the dining hall: a salt dispenser.
These were valuable insight that we have gained after attending the annual Model United Nations in the Nordic Red Cross United World College that was held last week. We were lucky enough to be one of the four Atlantic college students who were sent there to debate in the permanent state of snow (read: not slush which is all too familiar). Now, we will impart what we learnt during the Conference itself.
I was given the task of representing the Hellenic Republic of Greece in the European Union committee up north. The Reform on the Financial Regulations was given as one of the two topics. With laudable astuteness if I say so myself, compounded with a complete lack of prior knowledge on Europe’s financial regulations, let alone a reform on it, and come to think of it of Greece itself, I made the decision that my country’s stance would have minimal effect, and I could sit back and enjoy the snowy landscape. (For more info: kindly refer to the MUN handbook on the section ‘How Not to Do it’)
To my great dismay, within the first lobbying session, I heard varying degrees of punishments on Greece being billed as ‘top priority’, ranging from ‘harsh sanctions’ to ‘dropping Greece from the Euro currency’ to even ‘the expulsion of Greece’. Right, not good. The subsequent night, and really, all the nights that followed basically involved me desperately searching for a reprieve for Greece. Untill now, I still believe that my saving grace was that the major countries (Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingom) did not invest too much in persuading the other countries and that I managed to convince the others that expelling Greece was ‘inhumane’. (that Greece was not human was obviously something I didn’t consider) It paid off at the end, though, and the harsh words in the resolution of ‘expelling Greece and imposing sanctions’ were left out and replaced with ‘establishing a bi-yearly review of Greece’s economic situation’. I have to say, the passing of the resolution was a relief, but seeing Italy’s face implode in rage was a cherry on top of the icing.
However, if there is something I have learnt, preparation for a conference is actually important. And it was comical to see the delegates in the Hogue building ready to stab me, and actually getting to know them outside the building. They were a great bunch.
Although the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) is, as repeatedly said, about disarmament, “the West are selfish and hypocritical” often provoked a less well-mannered debate between Russia, France and the United Kingdom. Resolutions on the North Korea Missile Launch were drafted up and lead to inner frustration of the delegate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (me), as the delegate is not allowed to vote as a non-country. Excitement was brought into the committee when in the last fifty minutes a note came from Security Council that China was planning on demilitarizing the USA. NATO got into action with its member states, as “an attack on one is an attack on all” and drafted up a resolution –that passed with majority of the votes. However, during General Assembly it appeared that the note had been misinterpreted and the resolution had been discussed for nothing. Ah well, that’s United Nation efficiency.
There is perhaps no way better to conclude but to express our gratitude to the school for giving us the opportunity to explore such a magnificent campus with such brilliant and chilled-out people. The unlimited food was a distraction, and the sauna and pool with Jacuzzi jets were tempting, but it was a true privilege to have gotten to know people in a different geographical location, but still carrying the same flag, the flag of UWC.
-United World College Student Magazine-