Salut and Goedendag!

Students from Reutlingen represent Belgium at 2022 National Model United Nations

By Nele Wagner

First cancelled, then held online, and long under a question mark - the annual National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York was severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic of the last few years. In spring 2020 the event could not be held due to the fast-moving developments. In 2021, the online premiere took place. This year, too, it was uncertain for a long time whether there would be a conference. After many weeks of anxious waiting, however, the good news arrived that NMUN 2022 would take place for real in New York. The Reutlingen University delegation, headed by ESB Business School, was there to take part. 

The group of 24 students had the honour of representing Belgium at the conference. In weeks of online meetings, the students dealt intensively with the history and politics of Belgium. During a seminar week in Brussels, the participant finally had the opportunity to meet in person for the first time. A large part of the preparation for the conference took place there. The two head delegates Henda Okic and Amina Helmy introduced the group to the course of an NMUN conference in countless meetings - without yet knowing whether it would take place online or in person. In addition, the students had the chance to improve their skills in giving speeches in some workshops, always conscious that they were not presenting their own opinion but that of the country of Belgium. Part of the preparation for the conference was also the writing of position papers, which also had to be submitted to NMUN. 

Finally, the time had come - from April 10 to 14, 2022, the students were able to experience the National Model United Nations Conference in person in New York. In eleven committees, each consisting of two students, the delegation had interesting discussions and took an active role in negotiations. The goal of the conference was to cooperate on working papers that would later develop into resolutions - in cooperation and collaboration with as many countries as possible. This required a lot of communication and willingness to compromise, because the participating countries represented different views. The topics addressed covered a wide spectrum - from ways of reducing discrimination, to prevention of nuclear hazards, to how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The wide range of topics allowed each delegate to bring his or her interests to bear on the work at the conference.

For the team from Reutlingen, National Model United Nations 2022 was successful. Of the position papers sent in advance, four won a prize for the committee’s best paper. In addition, the delegation established close contacts - not only across study programmes and cultures within the group, but also with other delegations and people around the world.

ESB Business School students were not only represented in the Reutlingen University team at NMUN 2022; there was also ESB spirit in Canada’s Brock University team this year. Three students from the BSc International Management Double Degree, who are currently spending their study-abroad block in Canada, took part in the NMUN conference on behalf of Brock University. They represented a country they know very well - Germany. Their efforts were honoured with the Outstanding Delegation Award.

You can find more insights into NMUN 2022 and future conferences on Instagram (@nmun.reutlingen). There you can also find out when and how to apply to be part of the 2023 delegation. Every School is welcome and prior knowledge is by no means necessary. NMUN participant Nele Wagner confirms this, saying "I can really recommend involvement in NMUN to everyone. You have the terrific opportunity to be part of a United Nations simulation and the experiences are truly unique. We had an unforgettable time in New York and wish the next delegation lots of fun and lots of luck!"