The term MUN is an abbreviation signifying Model United Nations.
MUN conferences are organized by and for students from all over the world in order to simulate the work of the United Nations. Every year, more than 100 of these simulations take place in various countries around the globe.
Participants take on the role of young diplomats in order to experience the work of the United Nations at first hand. Their task is to represent one particular country, chosen beforehand, as realistically as possible in one of the different UN-committees. In the course of the conference, participants usually have to deal with two different issues in every committee.
The whole conference is conducted in English. As far as negotiating and debating is concerned, the “diplomats” are required to keep in mind and faithfully represent the interests and positions of “their” country. Generally speaking, all participants have to be acquainted with “their” nation’s interests and points of view. When debating in the committees, every delegation gets the chance to present its position, make suggestions or offer criticism on former contributions within 1-3 minutes. Conduct is strictly regulated according to the rules of the original United Nations conferences.
Whilst the simulation takes place, the participants have to communicate extensively and in an outgoing manner: coalitions are formed in the committees, proposals are formulated and have to be revised; finally, so-called “working papers”, summing up the essence of the previous oral debates and negotiations, are drafted. It is the aim of each committee to present a final resolution on its respective topic at the end of the conference when the positions of all nations involved are brought together.
Not only does the MUN conferences offer the opportunity of dealing intensively with current problems and issues of world politics; participating in one of them also requires essential skills with regard to negotiating and debating: giving free speeches and succeeding in formal writing, developing the competence to solve conflicts diplomatically and being able to work out compromises.
Participants shall be able to assert “their” nation’s position as firmly as possible but may still be capable of diplomatic negotiation leading to compromises. The latter is indispensable in order to come to a satisfying solution for everybody. On the basis of a profound preparation of the countries’ positions the simulation offers a platform likely to promote intercultural exchange as well as a deeper international understanding.
From ruins to life
Founded in 1206 AD, Dresden can reflect upon an impressive historical record. Ever since August the Strong took power in the 18th century, Dresden was one cultural hotspot of Germany. Renown artists such as Friedrich Schiller, Richard Wagner or Caspar David Friedrich visited and enjoyed the city which at the time was called "Jewel Box" for its baroque architecture and cultural splendor.
World War II marked a distinct edge in Dresden's history as up to 90% of the urban structures fell victim to the war. To this day the February 1945 air-raid marks the most devastating operations in Germany. It is because of this unimaginable pain and violence of the war that we are especially proud of the city of Coventry and us having united and partnered against the enmity that destroyed both our homes. Coventry fell victim to horrible violence as Dresden did, but we the people must no more permit any hatred tearing our union apart.
The historic city centre has been mostly rebuilt and therefore Dresden offers some remarkable sights to visit: The Zwinger palace with its its beautiful Gallery of the Old Masters, the amazing treasures of the Green Vault museum or the unique Neumarkt with the astonishing Frauenkirche-church, our symbol of unity and peace, right in its middle. The State parliament ("Landtag") is located right next to the historic city centre, so while working in the Councils you can enjoy the great panoramic view across the River Elbe.
Germany's youngest city
Dresden is one of the few cities to actually grow rather than shrink due to demographic change. It offers various opportunities for families with children as well as for young adults. Cultural life is diverse and intense. It ranges from outdoor activities in the neighboring "Saxon Switzerland" (in fact, climbing seems to have re-originated from there), civic dedication to artistry and nightlife in the Neustadt, the vibrantly beating heart of the city. If you happen to like Berlin - you will love Neustadt, as it is far more composed, yet similarly rich. You don't? Nevermind, things are way more relaxed here, you will see.
Dresden combines three aspects which complement one another: notable architectural sights, artistic creativity, and a charming landscape. Almost two thirds of the city are made up of parks and forests, accounting for many different ways of recreation and spending leisure time. The city's public transport based on tramway and hybrid buses provides for rapid and frequent connections to any part of town at any time. Because sustainability is permanently and consequently incorporated in the urban planning, Dresden was awarded "City of education for sustainable development" by the UNESCO.
Dresden University of Technology
Our organisation staff mostly consists of of students enrolled at Dresden University of Technology. This school was founded in 1828 and ranks among the oldest technical-academic educational institutions in Germany.
Committed to natural sciences and engineering until 1990, the Dresden University of Technology now is a multidisciplinary university, also offering social sciences and humanities as well as medical science. Only few universities in Germany offer such a broad scientific spectrum. Furthermore, the university stands out for its graduate school (Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering) and a cluster of excellence ("From Cells to Tissues to Therapies"), which is part of the Excellence Initiative: a competitive federal program launched in order to promote excellence in research at German universities.
Every international meeting is an
environmental challenge. Participents travel long distances in order
to share in on an event that consumes water, food, and energy on a
large scale. We are aware of this fact and elbMUN, just as any other
transnational gathering, is no different in its demand for resources.
However, we try to make a difference by reducing the negative impact
of our conference.
We do so by focussing on improving the ecological footprint of the food we serve, the transport we offer, and the paper we use at elbMUN 2020. Sustainability was one of the founding principles when elbMUN was established in 2010 and we try to improve our performance with every conference. Many things have to be considered in order to organise a conscious conference, and every year we identify a new aspect, but we do our best to raise consciousness at every elbMUN a little bit more.
The actions outlined underneath are only small steps towards a more sustainable, ecofriendler meeting. Five years have passed, and there is clearly still a long way to go. Yet, we see ourselves supported by the words of Ban Ki-Moon on World Environment Day 2007:
I would like to see our renovated Headquarters complex eventually become a globally acclaimed model of efficient use of envergy and resources.
This goes for elbMUN as well: We would like to set a model of efficient use of resources at a Model United Nations and to raise awareness of how important it is to deliver a gathering that does not only succeed in its contents and debates but also in the way it faces its ecological responsibilities. We are proud to have successfully incorporated sustainability in elbMUN and are looking forward to see this change in other conferences, too.
We are aware of the social and environmental responsibility we are facing and try our best to avoid some of the negative implications with the actions described below.
The meals we eat three times a day, every day, profoundly affect the eco-balance of our lifestyle. Behind the food we consume is more than the electricity and water used to cook it. Vegetables, fruits, and especially meat leave their greenhouse traces on their way from the producers to us, the consumers. Considering that at last year's elbMUN 100 people gathered for 5 days, there are many consumers and this implies many consequences for the environment. Thus, we have developed the following food management in order to provide for a more conscious catering.
- Conventional agriculture is based on the intensiv use of pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers. These chemicals are made from mineral oil, are carried long distances from factory to field, and are harmful to the whole ecological system. We therefore try to serve as much traditionally produced, organic food as possible – reducing the environmental consequences of food production as much as possible.
- Sometimes, the food served on an international conference might have travelled as far as the delegates. In some cases, there is no way to evade the issue, but many times it is rather questionable to have food being carried around the globe – and often the main argument is a lower price. We trust in the regional farmers and are willing to pay a little more so we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of food transportation and at the same time cooperate with local small-scale producers, following the suggestions of the World Agriculture Report published in 2008.
- Even though we try our best in order to organise a green elbMUN 2018, we have to admit that in some cases we cannot follow the aforementioned principle to the very end – some crops just do not grow in Central Europe and need to be imported. However, we strictly pay attention to cater organic food only. Imported food additionally is fair trade food, so we can be sure that our food has been produced under acceptable and fair conditions that did not imply any physical harm or exploitation of the farmers.
- The fastest growing sector of international agriculture is meat production. The global progress in human development also leads to an increased demand for chicken, pork, and beef. This eventually means a huge increase in meat production with all its negative consequences such as land-grabbing or high emissions of greenhouse gas. With regard to the expected 90 delegates that will participate in elbMUN 2018 for 5 consecutive days, we would like to make a mark and will serve vegetarian food only - contributing to a responsible alimentation without refraining from freshness and great taste.
The way we move from one place to another can bear prejudicial effects with it. Taking the taxi and being taken around in car or going by bus and tramway make a decisive difference considering green transportation. We therefore happily cooperate with DVB, the public transport operator in Dresden. DVB operates not only conventional buses but also hybrid buses and a lare network of tramways which run on electricity. This is one of the reasons why Dresden was awarded the title "City of education for sustainable development" by the UNESCO. We are content to be part of this development by using Dresden's excellent public transport at elbMUN 2018.
Any business-style conference in general, and every MUN in particular, causes a huge load of paperwork within a very condensed time frame. We cannot, of course, avoid this at elbMUN. However, we introduced a paper management that aims at reducing the amount of sheets used and is based on using recycled paper. Writing on a piece of paper always means writing on a felled tree, and also paper that carries a certificate of sustainable forestry is made from a tree that once stood in a forest. Recycled paper, on the contrary, is made from waste paper and saves trees and water in the recycling process. This is our humble contribution to a conscious conference.
The United Nations Association in Germany (UNA-Germany/DGVN) strives to inform the German public in an impartial and critical manner about the aims, institutions and activities of the United Nations. It intends to increase interest in and awareness of current events in foreign and development policy, cultural and world economic policy as well as international relations and developments in general. UNA-Germany wants to encourage debate on these topics while simultaneously engaging in critical discussion of German UN policy.
Becoming a member of UNA-Germany will provide you with an excellent network to actors of German UN policy and academia. Members of UNA-Germany receive the bimonthly academic periodical VEREINTE NATIONEN (German Review on the United Nations) six times a year as well as invitations to events. They are also invited to attend study trips which feature visits to UN Missions in states emerging from armed conflict. The annual member fee for students is 30 €, subscribe here.
UNA-Germany was founded in 1952 as a non-governmental organization and became a full member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) in 1966. UNA-Germany is a non-partisan and independent organization and does not represent the specific interests of any single group in society. The regional branch of UNA in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia was founded aims to further the UNA-goals at the regional level and invites the local population to engage in a dialogue on United Nations and its purposes and functions.
The PJR e.V., an acronym for "Political Ring of Youth" is an independent bearer of out-of-classroom education for children and young adults with a focus on civic education. Volunteers are provided with the opportunity to play their individual part in taking responsibility for the uprising generation of young members of our society. Our mission aims beyond the edges of party-political lines and ideologies.
RomeMUN is Europe's largest Model United Nations. 2000 delegates from around the world come together to discuss topics of global importance. The 9th edition from the 9th to the 12th of March 2019 will set its focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The MUN is embedded in the Rome International Careers Festival. This event is organized by Giovani nel Mondo, an Italian non-profit organization with the goal of promoting and favouring the interaction between the talent, ambition and brilliance of young people and the world of international opportunities.
Elbe Ariana International Model United Nations will take place in December 2019 in Kabul, Afghanistan. The international conference will feature 6 committees including classic UN bodies such as the Security Council, and the General Assembly alongside more specific UN bodies such as UN Women. The Conference aims at raising awareness of international problem-solving structures as well as to bring forward a change in mindsets of the young generation, to support the culture of acceptance and to practice leadership skills to emerge as future strong leaders.
We are proud to announce a new partnership! HDMUM is the conference organized by the Heidelberg MUN Society in Germany's oldest university. Their academic standards including the unique interconnectivity model make us thrilled to collaborate with them. Find out more about HDMUN at www.hdmun.org and apply as a delegate and be a part of our newest partner's conference HDMUN from May 30th to June 2nd!
A unique and significant feature of elbMUN is our special relationship with our friends and colleagues in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Every year elbMUN is honoured by an evergrowing delegation from Afghanistan.
Our partners in Afghanistan are very keen and professional in their efforts. We understand it as our goal to establish a sound relationship to Afghanistan and its people, and jointly overcome struggles that have restrained past generations to do so.
If you happen to be interested in Afghan culture and society, elbMUN is the perfect place to get in touch with it. You will hardly find more charming and open-minded young Afghans than those being our guests in April.
This relationship would be impossible without the generous effort of Mr. Speenghar Ahmadzai. He is Official Representative to Central and South Asia for elbMUN and has so far accomplished tremendously. We recently established our partnership with EAIMUN, the biggest and most professional MUN in Central Asia due to his efforts as founder and president of EAIMUN.
Mr. Ahmadzai has a MA in International Relations. He currently works with "Afghan Australian Research and Management", where he is Deputy Project Manager. In addition to that he is a writer, having published his first book, "Da Wiyarono Laray", which translates to "Ranges of Pride", when he was 18 years old.
As a key activist among Afghanistan's youth, Mr. Ahmadzai is one of the central figures in the country's journey towards peace. By promoting education, open-mindedness and passion for peace among future generations, he significantly contributes to the country's development.
If you are from Afghanistan and wish to join the Afghan delegation to elbMUN, feel free to contact him. You can find him on Facebook or send him an e-mail.