Every year Harvard WorldMUN (Model United Nations) brings together young people of all nationalities and backgrounds, this year in Paris, to spend five days debating current issues. Subjects that are also on top of mind within the United Nations. Each participant represents a country other than their own in a way that requires both diplomacy, leadership and in-depth knowledge on the subject.
The Belgian team (MUN Society Belgium, MSB) consists of a diverse mix of motivated and ambitious students from universities across the country, including 7 UGent students. MSB managed to stand out from more than a hundred teams from around the world and was able to take home the title for the tenth time in the student body's history.
The Olympic Games Diplomacy
Charles: "Harvard WorldMUN is actually the World Championship or the Diplomacy Olympics. It is the most difficult diplomacy competition in the world as it is an international competition where the best of the best from all continents participate."
Emma: "Each student is assigned a country and a topic individually or in groups of two. For example, the war in Ukraine or the energy crisis. You then have to represent your country on a committee, in a competition format against other students. The student(s) who at the end was 'the most diplomatic', i.e. had the best solutions to work constructively on the assigned topic, received the 'Diplomacy Award'. The team with the most Diplomacy Awards becomes the 'Best Large Delegation'. And that is what we won this year!"
An out-of-the-box opportunity
August: "The other international teams consist mainly of 'International Relations' or 'Politics' students. Our team is very diverse. We are not only students from different universities, but we also study very different directions. We therefore had a more broad vision on the assigned topics."
Matthis: "For me, that was the challenge I wanted to take up. You participate in a competition ofcourse to compete with other students. But it's also about preparation and learning about topics outside my own field of study. I found that an interesting combination."
Emma: "It really comes highly recommended. Especially if you have a wider sphere of than what your field of study offers. It's an out-of-the-box opportunity."
Student life is much more than clichés like hanging out at the ‘Overpoort’ every night. A lot of students selflessly dedicate themselves to a charity or other organization. We asked Silke, Charlotte and Amber why they sacrifice their free time to volunteer.