From 1 to 4 March six students of the Herder Debating and Model United Nations Society attended this year’s Stuttgart International School Model United Nations conference (MUNISS). As it happens in all Model United Nations conferences, students from many different schools simulate the on-going business of the diverse councils and committees of the United Nations. In collaboration with their fellow delegates, they have to develop and debate resolutions and represent their country’s interests to their best ability.
This year’s conference, attended by about 200 students from Germany, Morocco, and Denmark, focused on the East Asia-Pacific region with ‚technology‘ as the general theme. Our students were chosen to represent the Kingdom of Morocco. The interesting twist was that the conference also had a delegation from an actual Moroccon school – the American school of Rabat – representing Germany. This might have created some anxieties on either side, but if it did so, the students were too professional to show it.
Our delegation was composed as follows:
- Security Council & Delegation Ambassador: Nicolas Beckmann (Q1)
- Economic and Social Council: Paula Schulze (Q1)
- General Assembly 2 (Environment): Marina Seddig (Q1)
- General Assembly 3 (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural): Marie Rolf (Q1)
- General Assembly 4 (Political): Dominic Kaven (EF)
- General Assembly 6 (Legal): Laura Guntermann (Q1)
- Accompanying MUN Directors: Ms Finn & Mr Hamdorf
After some preliminary meetings and mock debates on Thursday, the Opening Ceremony marked the official beginning of the conference. All the delegations had come together in the General Assembly to witness the opening speeches. To start things on a lively note all amassadors had been encouraged to frame their opening speeches in a provoking way in order to elicit responses from other delegations. Unsurprisingly, our ambassador’s claim that Morocco was the ‚most civilised North-African‘ country as well as his outspoken support for our close ally, the United States, earned him some vicious reaction not only from China and Iran, but also from our fellow Arab nation Egypt.
After that, the delegates went into their separate councils and committees. Most of the delegates began the process of ‚lobbying‘: presenting and discussing the draft resolutions they had brought with them in a free-wheeling, deal-making atmosphere, collecting signatures and promising support to other delegates. After lobbying, all the committees went ‚into session‘ to begin the debate on their topics.
The next day, the discussions went on. Unfortunately, some of the chairs heading the committees had been less prepared than others, which created the problem that some committees passed one draft resolution after another without a lot of debating and eventually ran out of proposals to discuss. To spice things up, however, the organisers had begun sending’minority‘ delegates into the committees, representing the African nation of Djibouti as well as the ‚Holy See‘. The positions taken by these delegates on some of the issues under debate were usually ‚thought-provoking‘ enough to bring additional heat into the debate.
On Sunday all the committees convened in the General Assembly to debate two of the draft resolutions that had been passed by the committees in the previous two days. Yet, as the first resolution was debated a sudden crisis struck. The Secretary General took the floor to inform the General Assembly that Chinese troops had crossed the Sino-Russian border and that hostilities had commenced. China justified its actions by referring to secret information, passed to them by the United States intelligence services, that ‚illegal operations involving Weapons of Mass Destruction‘ had been taking place on the Russian side. As ambassadors of all the nations involved went off to report to the Security Council, the atmosphere in the General Assembly became more intense. While a debate about a resolution on the protection of intellectual property went on, various delegates took the floor to condemn China’s course of action or express the need for an armistice and a peaceful settlement.
In the Security Council the situation evolved rapidly, as accusing fingers were pointed into the direction of the US for providing fake intelligence to put its rivals against each other. Surprisingly, China and Russia found themselves on the same side, claiming the US to be the real instigator of this conflict and asking for substantial reparations. Eventually, however, a coalition of smaller nations (including Morocco) managed to persuade the remaining members of the Security Council that China, being the actual aggressor, had to back down and make amendments. Seeing itself increasingly isolated, China eventually agreed and the Chinese ambassador went into the General Assembly to publicly apologise. With the resolution of the crisis, the Closing Ceremony could commence and it was time to say goodbye until the next conference.
For me as teacher and „MUN Director“, it has, again, been a remarkable experience to watch students debate such complex topics with such passion, diligence, and rhetorical acumen. And for that reason I need to express my thanks to the Förderverein for their generous sponsorship, which made this project possible. I would also like to thank Ms Finn for being with us on this trip.