„Uni goes UNO“
In March 2018, TU Chemnitz students will represent the Democratic Republic of the Congo as “diplomats” at the worldwide most important and biggest simulation of the United Nations in New York City
From 18th to 22nd March 2018 the University of Technology Chemnitz will send for the 15th time a delegation to the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York. At the oldest, biggest, and most professional United Nations conference, they will discuss together with about 5,500 students from all over the world current international challenges and conflict as well as find solutions for global political problems. Students from universities and colleges of 41 countries represent one of the 193 Member States of the United Nations and negotiate the respective interests and positions. The assigned country and the work of the United Nations are simulated as realistically as possible.
„We are the Democratic Republic of the Congo!“
Like in the previous 14 years, Chemnitz students have accepted this challenge. This year they are representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo and will negotiate the country’s positions in eight different committees: Four committees of the General Assembly will deal with combatting terrorism, financing and implementing the Paris Agreement, increasing access to education, combating religious intolerance, establishing more transparency and implementing possible reforms of the United Nations system. These topics are closely linked to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted in 2015. In addition, the young “diplomats” will address the restoration of eco systems and the challenges of ocean pollution in the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA). The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will discuss the complete eradication of chemical weapons and measures for the protection and assistance to victims of chemical weapons. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the central drug policy-making body within the United Nations system, will address a new international drug strategy, and the illicit cultivation of drug crops. The committee of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will discuss the migration situation in Libya, and the impact of climate change on migration movements. The results and adopted resolutions will be forwarded to the UNO, which has discussed and used these student ideas in the past.
Regional and interdisciplinary experiences
In order to address this variety of topics, the TU Chemnitz has the advantage of a delegation with students from ten different fields of study from four faculties, who can benefit from each other’s different experiences and backgrounds. „The NMUN project is not only interesting for students of political sciences, but also other fields of study. At international organizations, such as the United Nations, the demand for the expertise of psychologists, economists, or engineers is constantly increasing. The project participants experience how their skills and theoretical knowledge can be used in practice and that they are able to address societal challenges”, highlights Jakob Landwehr, research associate at the Professorship of International Relations at TU Chemnitz and Faculty Advisor for the 2018 delegation. After the TU Chemnitz presented Mali (in 2015), Chad (in 2016), and the Central African Republic (2017), there is a pool of regional experts and contacts, which improves and enables a goal-oriented and comprehensive conference preparation.
Preparation for the USA
The difficult preparation for New York includes weekly theoretical and practical sessions on country studies, knowledge and rules of procedure of the United Nations, and rhetoric as well as negotiation skills. Chemnitz delegates can use this knowledge from 15th to 16th December at the “Chemnitz Model United Nations” (ChemMUN) together with other TU Chemnitz students. The simulation is part of the seminar “The United Nations and global challenges” which can be attended by all students as extracurricular studies (Studium Generale). The 2018 delegation will also participate in another simulation, the EfMUN, which will take place from 19th to 21st January 2018 in Erfurt and will be the final practical preparation before the delegation’s trip to America.
The United Nations at TU Chemnitz
Besides their own preparation, the TU Chemnitz delegation aims to contribute to intercultural exchange and to spread their country specific knowledge. A country night including African music, presentations, a drum course, and further cultural highlights on December 16th at Club der Kulturen (CdK) will present the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the student public. The country night will start at 7 pm and admission is free. In addition, the delegation was present at the TU Chemnitz Christmas market selling self-made Christmas cookies and the senior citizens course of lectures with a bake sale.
Keyword: National Model United Nations (NMUN)
The NMUN conference is nearly as old as the United Nations Organization itself. It is the oldest, biggest, and most professional among the various worldwide United Nations conferences. The simulation aims to teach an unbiased and open stance towards other countries and different cultures, to get a grasp of the complex connections between international influences and negotiations, but also to improve negotiation skills and diplomatic tact. Since 2004, TU Chemnitz delegations have participated in NMUN simulations and have been awarded for their excellent performances. TU Chemnitz also has been the only university in Saxony which has taken this challenge so far.
( (Author & Translation: Jakob Landwehr)