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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 116 | April 26, 2009|


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IUBians in WorldMUN 2009

Rubayat Khan & Md. Touhidul Imran Chowdhury

“…Model United Nations will help you become the models the world needs to fulfill the ideals of this indispensable organization” a message to the Harvard WorldMUN'09 by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

AS we stepped into the Grand Hall of the World Forum in The Hague, The Netherlands on the evening of March 22 for the opening ceremony, it felt as though we were entering a dream. We wondrously reminisced the day about six months back, when we dared to think for the first time about participating. And now, here we were, two ambassadors from the first Bangladeshi university to be independently represented at the Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) 2009.

Even before we came here, we knew we were about to have the experience of a lifetime. At the registration held in the Atrium (City Hall) of The Hague earlier that day, we learned that there would be about 2500 delegates in this year's WorldMUN, much more than ever before in its 18 years of history. The ambience of the conference was set even earlier though. Facebook was used extensively to establish network among committee colleagues months ahead of the conference. At the registration, as the queue moved along slowly, students from Lebanon introduced themselves to students of Germany and students from the UK shared their first impressions of The Hague with colleagues from Venezuela.

In the Grand Hall flags were being waved, chants were being shouted, people of all different colours and languages were filling the gallery - it seemed that the entire world's youth had gathered here for a grand carnival. There were delegates from 275 universities of 53 countries and five continents.

The Inaugural Ceremony itself was a blast. Dignitaries like the Mayor of The Hague and a past Prime Minister of The Netherlands delivered their addresses, as did the President of the Host Committee and the Secretary General of Harvard Model UN Secretariat. After the valuable speeches from the prominent leaders, amidst a colorful procession of the flags of 193 countries of the UN, the conference was declared open. We could barely contain our excitement as we pondered on the kind of experience awaiting us for the next five days.

To say the least, we were not disappointed. The next five days were packed with exciting committee sessions, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, NGO workshops, in-conference visits and nightly social events and parties (opportunities for even more “informal” diplomacy)! A special highlight was the Global Village, an incredibly colorful cultural festival where all the countries were hosting stalls with traditional clothes, artifacts, food and drinks.

Not to mention, the Bangladesh stall was a hit! Also memorable was the visit to the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia, and sitting in the courtroom during the trial of a real-life war crime suspect.

In the conference itself, both of us were representing Kiribati (pronounced Kiri-bas), an obscure Pacific Island which we had never heard of before, in two General Assembly Committees - the Special Political and Decolonization Committee [SPECPOL] and the World Health Organization [WHO]. This is probably what makes Model UN so fascinating - that you must represent a country you are not originally from. This stipulation allowed us to gain fascinating insights about Kiribati, and gave us the opportunity to see the world from another nation's eyes. We had to learn extensively about the country and its policies, particularly foreign policy, in the days ahead of the conference, and we were expected to accurately defend the interests of this country in our committees.

Two topics were initially proposed for discussion. At WHO, the topic chosen was “Water Scarcity and Health”, whereas in SPECPOL, it was “Refugees, Immigrants, and Racism in South Africa”. From the second day, the committee sessions consisted of speeches by the delegates, moderated and un-moderated caucuses to discuss particular aspects of the issue, a frenzy of writing Working Papers and later Draft Resolutions, intensive negotiations and making compromises to gain allies and signatories for the resolutions, and so on. On the very last day, after intensive effort on our part, both our committees passed the Resolutions which we were deeply involved in writing and shaping, which was quite encouraging given this was our first MUN.

The conference ended before we realized, and the closing ceremony was an emotional scene as everyone was taking pictures and saying goodbye to new friends. We were really inspired to witness the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and MUN Society Belgium getting the Best Delegation awards, and them along with Venezuela taking most of the personal excellence awards.

To reflect back on our experience, of course things were not easy being completely new to the Model UN. It took us a while to understand the rules and the procedure, elaborate methods followed by the United Nations for effective running of the committees. But we were learning each moment - from other delegates, from our committee directors and assistant directors, and from ourselves. It was also difficult to keep track of so many people - at times we felt that 2500 was a bit too large a number for an effective conference. But still, it could not have been more exciting to participate in such a realistic simulation of the United Nations, seeking solutions to real life problems as ambassadors of a previously unknown country. In trying to reach solutions to the problems at hand, we faced tremendous difficulty, not only from the predetermined foreign policy framework that we had to work within, but also in avoiding diplomatic stalemates that often result because of historical hostilities between nations. It gave us renewed respect for how difficult diplomatic tasks, and particularly UN negotiations, must be in real life.

Apart from all these lessons, and the confidence gained from our success, what we think is most important is the passion we have developed for Model UN through this experience. As founding executive members of IUB's newfound International Affairs Club (IAC), we are determined to take forward this experience and help establish a national tradition of participating, organizing and excelling in Model UN conferences.

IUB has reached a milestone and set a benchmark by sending the first delegation from Bangladesh as a university. Now it is time to spread the message and passion of this intellectual exercise among the youth of Bangladesh by organizing the first National MUN in Bangladesh, which IAC intends to host later this year.

Human Race

A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race come about?"

The Mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve; they had children and, so all mankind was made."

A few days later, the little girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys, and we developed from them."

The confused girl returns to her mother and says, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me that the human race was created by God , and Papa says we developed from monkeys?"

The Mother answers, "Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about the origin of my side of the family, and your father told you about his side."




Recognizing the significant role of mothers, Star Campus will be dedicating its 10th May issue on International Mothers Day. Share with us your opinion on how your mother has influenced you to be the person you are today. Send us a short article along with some photographs on or before 4th May to starcampus@gmail.com

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