[Shelby Loasby | News Sub Editor]
One of the most active societies out there at the moment is the Model United Nations (MUN). They have won numerous awards, including the Students’ Union Best New Society Award, attended conferences around the country and are currently planning for their next excursion.
MUN is run by a committee of Law, Film and Business students who all have an interest in The United Nations and are passionate about debating contemporary world issues.The committee include; Chair Person, Sean Ryan; Secretary, Matey Avgustinov; Vice President, Gayduo Kpardeh; Treasurer, Andrew Straw; and Events officer, Zeeshan Khan.
The society is a student-based simulation of the UN and each week members learn about the procedures of the UN and how to debate world issues. Trident Media were able to attend MUN’s session on “International measures to protect and promote LGBT+ rights and freedom of sexuality.”
Each member chose a country to represent, including; Russia, UK, North Korea and France. They were required to attend the meeting prepared with a Position Paper explaining their country’s views on the topic. At the beginning of the meeting Ryan set up the minutes, ready for recording, addressed the ‘delegates’ asking for any motions, and then allowed the debates to begin. Each member was required to speak for a minute about their country’s views.
The idea behind each topic is to reach a solution to the problems. Ryan explained that some topics can take a month to solve.
“Sometimes this is down to the fact that members have assignments and cannot attend the meetings, but other times it is due to the nature of the topic,” he said. “It is better to finish a topic than to just move on to the next.”
As well as working hard to tackle issues, the society also go down to Club de Hav after each meeting to unwind and enjoy a drink, says Ryan. They are quite a social group and are always planning film nights and trips.
International student, Kirsty Barfoot, explained that when she first came to the university she joined several societies to get a feel for UH and get to know people.
“I have had the best experience here out of all the societies I joined,” she said. “It’s social and interactive.” Barfoot went on to talk about the various trips and activities the society offered: “We had the opportunity to go to Oxford and the Isle of Wight, and even celebrated National Food Day.”
Trident Media also asked Barfoot if she found the Position Papers and preparation for each meeting daunting and time consuming alongside her studies. She said: “Not at all. I really enjoy writing them. It’s only one side of A4, doesn’t take long and its better to come prepared than sit there and say the wrong thing.”
Ryan commented saying that they accommodate to members and give them guidelines with the preparation: “At the national conferences people pick up on everything so you can’t be wrong.”
At their last conference in Reading in November, MUN UH won eight awards. Some were serious and notable, whilst others were ‘funny awards.’ Barfoot received an Honourable Mention; Khan won ‘Most likely to be a dictator’; Avgustinov won ‘Delegate with the dirtiest mind’, and Best Position Paper for research; Straw won ‘Funniest Member’; and Ryan won Best Delegate, Best Speaker and Most Diplomatic. It’s fair to say the society are doing very well.
MUN were also recently affiliated with the United Nations Association-United Kingdom (UNA-UK), which supports independent analysis of the UN and allows the UN’s presence to grow across the UK.
The society’s current plans are looking at attending conferences in Bath, New York UN Headquarters and Paris this year, so if you love to argue and love to travel, MUN is certainly the society for you.
They meet every Thursday 5-7pm in N003 at De Havilland Campus and anyone is welcome! If you are interested make sure you check out their Facebook and website uhmun.com.