The countdown has begun! By the end of the week our delegation will be in the United States to participate in the 2013 edition of the National Model United Nations New York. This event brings together approximately 5,000 students each year from around the globe to take on the role of diplomat and discuss current global issues in twenty UN committees.
A few days away from our departure for the Big Apple, it is hard not to look back at all the work that has been accomplished over these last six months.
Emilie Fonck, student in European Studies and Head Delegate:
« The preparation of our delegation started in September 2012, when after interviewing more than one hundred students of the ULB, we selected 19 of them for our delegation.
Throughout the year, we met every Monday night to train the new delegates in their knowledge of the United Nations, Japan’s foreign policy, rules of procedure and to find the necessary funds to finance this trip. Following this intense work, the delegates are ready to put themselves in the shoes of real Japanese diplomats to defend Japan’s position in their respective committees.
In New York, we will start the week with a visit to the Mission of Japan to the United Nations and then spend 3 days to negotiate on selected topics in the various committees to adopt, with support from the majority of other Member States present, different resolutions offering original solutions to the issues addressed. The conference will conclude later in the prestigious United Nations General Assembly. »
One of our weekly meetings
Albert Khaoutiev, student in Business Engineering:
« Looking back to October 2012 when we have started our adventure to live this life experience, we have seen ourselves transformed through the recent months. A rigorous method to transmit the knowledge, an active approach to put it into practice and a constant motivation to build cohesion among the group: these have been top priorities of our head delegates Emilie Fonck, Elliot Tricot O’Farell, Kinga Mazuch and our faculty advisers Anaïs Camus, Eric Fabri and Vincent Chapaux. Our aim is to contribute effectively in the NMUN simulation. However, it has not always been easy. We have started by learning rules of procedure within the United Nations and more generally the diplomatic language. During several simulations, we have had the chance to enhance these points.
Also, we have had the opportunity to improve considerably our public speaking skills, which is a powerful tool for a diplomat. The manner you address the audience is indeed crucial. Moreover, a special public speaking training was offered by Teri Schultz, an expert in communications. Her advices have been very useful to all of us.
We are today very excited and ready to go for the challenge. »
Jean-Sébastien Hercot, student in International Relations:
« From campaigning to find the much-needed funds to finance our big trip, to organizing and participating to various simulations, the least that can be said is that our schedules have been more than busy. However, among all that has been done, a couple of experiences stand out.
First we have had the pleasure and the chance to meet with a Japanese diplomat working in Brussels, as well as with Frederik Ponjaert, a Nippon specialist. Their combined insight and advices truly enlightened us, and helped us understand what it means to be a real Japanese diplomat. Later on during the year, we’ve received a couple of visits from Alain Vaes from the APNU, who not only sponsored our team of eager delegates, but who also gave us some precious advice about the art of negotiation.
Consequently, thanks to them, it will be easier for us to be in character while defending Japan’s position at the UN headquarters. Needless to say, these meetings have contributed a great deal to our preparation, as extensive notes of their fruitful interventions have been taken.
This is why the 2013 ULB delegation feels truly grateful, not only to these professionals for showing their support by sharing their experiences with us, but also to our Head Delegates and Faculty Advisors for having taken the initiative of seeking their help »
Melissa A. Vida , student in Political Sciences:
« There are few practices that have shown themselves to be as valuable as the ones we experienced during the ULB and UCL simulations.
The first UN replica we attended was the one our own delegation has prepared and organized. The event attracted more than 100 students from different Hautes Ecoles and universities, including the NMUN delegation from Saint-Louis. All of us were eager to slip on our diplomat attire and represent the country we’ve been assigned to in our committee (General Assembly and two Security Council – one in French, the other in English). We were keen to put into practice what we’ve been learning for the past few months. For most of us, it was our first simulation and one can say that it was an undeniable success.
So it was without a doubt that we agreed agog to participate at the UCL’s simulation. We were warmly welcomed by Kot Onu with no less than musicians, singers, poignant speeches, and a good organization. Once again, the experience of being a UN diplomat was unforgettable and the learning curve is priceless.
Moreover, if these two smaller-scale simulations have brought us so much, I have a hunch that the NMUN in New York City will blow us away… And we won’t fail to tell you all about it »