SMU Model UN

Ten students in SMU’s Model United Nations program participated in the World Model U.N. 2009 Conference in March in The Hague, Netherlands. The SMU delegation was assigned to represent the Vatican at the conference, where students from more than 40 countries debated and discussed world issues facing the U.N. system.

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Building alliances

An update from Cheyenne, a public policy major who served on the Model U.N. Special Political Committee:

I wake up tired. Tram it to committee. Glad we have already set the agenda so today we can begin debate. Today is only a half day of committee, so just have the morning to attempt to change the world.

Finding allies in committee

In our committee, country blocks start to form. Nicola and I had decided we would not align ourselves completely with one block, but work closely with the EU block and Latin American block, as this is what the Vatican tends to do in real life. We start to send letters to countries with large Catholic populations.

I think other delegates are surprised the Holy See is actually represented in the UN, and present at WMUN. Some delegates even ask us what the Holy See stands for. We start to build alliances with the smaller countries first because honestly, these delegates are less neurotic and more friendly. I’m sure real diplomats work this way!

The morning session goes by quickly. We get on the speaker list, but so does the entire committee, so we know the likelihood of us actually getting our chance to speak via speaker’s list is slim. Our best bet is getting recognized in an un-moderated caucus. This is where physical strength comes in. We practice extending our arms in record time to make sure our placard is first in the air.

Afternoon in The Hague

We didn’t make it on the list to any of the criminal court visits this week, and the In-Conference activities planned for the day don’t really consist of things I am interested in. Jessica and I go back to the hotel to have lunch. Another yummy pb&j, a granola bar, chocolate milk and some cashews. After lunch Jessica and I take advantage of the afternoon and walk around the city. We enjoy all the little shops, buy some postcards for friends, and idolize the European style and furniture design. The city has a lot of character to it, and bicycles everywhere! I’m still surprised how ethnically diverse it is. I keep comparing it to Copenhagen, except Copenhagen is defiantly not this diverse.

We come back to the Ibis and freshen up before dinner. Tonight each committee is having a special dinner. I part ways with Jessica, and Nicola and I walk to the SPECPOL restaurant, Rootz, very close to our hotel. Rootz is in an old building that looks like a tavern. We get lucky and they forget to ask us for the 12.5 Euro, so we end up eating for free. However, we are more excited about the fact that Rootz is set up buffet style. Unlimited food! So long pb&j!

There are only a few bar tables set up and we grab one quickly. We meet two girls from Germany who are representing Vietnam and they sit with us. Nicola and I load our plates. Since we have only been in committee for a day and a half, it is still hard to recognize everyone. We do spot one guy we sat next to the first day and he joins our group. Nicola meets a really fun girl, Gaby, and she joins us as well. We all end up talking about our home countries and what we like the most about our countries.

Then the topic turns to the number of languages we all know. Nicola and I sit there feeling lame, being the Americans who only know English. Most of the others at the table know at least three languages, one guy even knows seven.

Rocking our world

Tonight is the social event “Rock Your WorldMUN.” We didn’t have the orange party package bands that permitted us to enter all the social events, but those sitting with us convinced us we should try and just use our WorldMUN ID badges to get it. We figured the worst they can do is say no. It’s worth a shot.

The event is at Paard van Troje, or the Trojan Horse. It’s in walking distance to our hotel. Apparently it’s a famous rock venue for all of the Netherlands. We get in with success. An all-girl rock band is playing on stage when we walk in. They are actually pretty good. The next band to play is an all-guy rock band. I was hoping the girl-power music would last all night. In the next room there was a dj playing European techno music. Nicola, Gaby and I have a great time dancing till the early morning. A full day of committee awaits tomorrow!

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