In March 2015, HHL MBA Graduate Pamela Taylor (class of 2014) took part in a truly international event in Seoul, South Korea. In the following interview, the US-born tells us about her experiences during the “Model United Nations” (MUN).
What exactly is MUN?
MUN stands for „Model United Nations“ and essentially, it is one giant role-play experiment, where the participants simulate the United Nations. Delegations are assigned countries, which whom they represent, and delegates are assigned to different committees (think: World Health Organization, Disarmament and International Security, IMF, Security Council, etc.) in which they represent their country’s interests in regards to specific agenda topics.
Who participates in a MUN Conference?
In one word: nerds. In more words: some of the brightest students from all over the world! They are individuals interested in diplomacy, negotiation, networking, politics, economics, human rights — they come from every academic corner. The MUN conferences I competed in were open to students of any subject at any level of the university (bachelor, master, PhD). However, there are also MUN conferences designed specifically for high school students.
Although it might not be the most representative simulation of the United Nations, it does strike many similarities with work life. MUN is about coming up with good ideas, and knowing how to sell them. MUN is about teamwork, but also about personal branding. More than anything else, MUN is about networking, building alliances, and balancing competing interests. MUN is about learning how to channel orgnaizational chaos to make progress Though the spirit of MUN is teamwork, at the end prizes are awarded, so there is also an strong element of competition.
Moreover, MUN brings its participants into contact with cities, people and cultures one might not otherwise have the pleasure of experiencing. At the end of the week, you’ve built up strong and authentic relationships with some of the smartest students from all over the world. After a successful MUN conference, your Facebook newsfeed will never be the same.
As a result, MUN provides an exciting stage where you can try out different techniques and build both technical and intercultural skills that you can then directly apply on the job.
My delegation competed at two conferences: London International Model United Nations (LIMUN), in London in February 2015, and Harvard World MUN (WorldMUN) in Seoul, South Korea in March 2015.
At LIMUN, our 2 delegations brought home 3 Best Delegate Awards, 3 Best Position Paper Awards and 4 honorable mentions. I was honored with one of those Best Delegate Awards for my role in the Crisis Committee that simulated the warring three kingdoms in Ancient China.
At World MUN, which was held in South Korea this year, our 15-person delegation represented Morocco and took home 3 Diplomacy Awards, making us the best German delegation at the conference. My co-delegate and I won a Diplomacy Award in the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) for our work on the legislation we contributed to on the topic of cyber warfare. In addition to a certificate, we got awarded really cool engraved gavels, of which I am particularly proud.
My delegation, „be-boosted“, a Germany-wide initiative that sponsors 2 delegations to fly to and compete at LIMUN and WorldMUN, did an amazing job at preparing my teammates and me for the conferences. We had weekly virtual trainings using the online project-management platforms (Podio & Zoom), and we had monthly „offline“ trainings in Munich and Heidelberg, where we ran simulated committees and negotiation case studies. As a result, in both conferences we did very well.
be-boosted wouldn’t have been able to provide us with such top-notch training, had it not been for the generous financial and strategic support from our sponsors, Allianz and Bain & Co., who didn’t just provide us with much-needed-funds, but shared their knowledge and expertise through online and on-site workshops and trainings.
Finally, HHL made it possible for me individually. HHL sponsored my plane fare to travel to London for LIMUN. This wasn’t the first time HHL supported my interest in negotiation and debate — last year HHL also sponsored my team’s trip to Iceland to compete in The Negotiation Challenge.
How can I get involved in something like this?
If you want to see if this kind of competition is for you, check out the upcoming conference made for MUN beginners and novices: macroMUN. Running from June 19th-21st this year in Berlin, you can get a taste for what MUN is all about, as well as participate in skill-building workshops. It’s likewise a great opportunity to network with other curious students and representatives from our partners, Bain & Co. and Allianz. Cost is just 43€.
Learn more here: http://www.be-boosted.org/macromun.html