Toshiyuki J. (9th grade) and Max K. (12th grade) represented GISSV under the guidance of David Giesen at the virtual Berlin Model United Nations (BERMUN): www.bermun.de.
While Model United Nations is a valuable part of GISSV's extracurricular program for many years we are proud that our school was invited to this renowned international conference for the first time.
Toshiyuki's BERMUN Reflection
I recently participated in the global Model United Nations (MUN) event based in Berlin, known as BERMUN, together with Max K., a GISSV senior. This is an annual international MUN event and is organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Overall, Bermun was a very fun experience and a great first encounter with international MUN conferences.
After the opening ceremonies on the first of four days, there was about an hour of lobbying time, in which I was able to meet and discuss our countries’ views with some other delegates. During this time, I also chose the topic which I would write a resolution about in the coming days, which was the issue of overfishing and the promotion of small-scale fisheries. It was surprising, however, that most of the almost 50 delegates attending the Environmental Committee meeting chose to discuss the other topic, global warming during times of Covid-19, since both topics seemed to me to be current global issues relevant to many present nations.
We started the second day by doing short introductions in the general assembly. Afterward, the time was mostly spent writing resolutions and discussing the various aspects of solving overfishing. During this time, I noticed the similarity of country policy the other delegates seemed to have. After finishing our resolution, my fellow delegates and I decided to do some lobbying and listened to some of the discussions other groups were having. The last hour was spent discussing and arguing a resolution about climate change during covid-19.
The following day was, similarly to the end of the previous day, spent arguing, discussing, and voting on the various resolutions and their individual components. This was definitely supported through the online system on the BERMUN platform.
On the fourth and last day, the general assembly finished up the discussion and voting on the last resolutions. Because the voting was finished early, the last couple of minutes were spent making jokes and reflecting on the past days. We then left the zoom call and went to watch the closing ceremonies, which were in the form of a livestream.
Although this was only my second online MUN conference, I believe both the website and the delegate platform were very helpful in creating a realistic, enjoyable MUN experience. The user interface on both was very user friendly and allowed communication between delegates. On the delegate platform, the personal profile and embassy pages allowed delegates to get to know one another prior to the conference and to learn about the relations between their delegations and other countries. During the discussion, the live-updating system showing delegates who had the floor and those who wanted to speak helped to keep the system organized and clear.
Another great part of the BERMUN experience was some of the fun activities that were integrated into the committee sessions. For example, committee observations were nicely integrated into the daily program. Committee observations could be anonymously submitted by members of each committee. They were read out by the committee chairs at the end of each session and were always very entertaining to listen to. The BERMUN talent show was also a fun feature. All delegates were welcome to enter videos of themselves demonstrating their talents. The winning videos, chosen through votes held throughout the four conference days, were shown during the closing ceremonies. Both of these events were fun and entertaining features, which definitely improved the conference experience.
Looking back, I had a great time participating in my first international MUN experience. The event was well organized, with schedules and research papers for each committee being released weeks before the actual conference, in order to allow for a long preparation time. The online platforms were also very helpful in preparing for and participating in the conference, while the activities made the overall experience very enjoyable. I hope to be able to take part in another international conference, perhaps even in another country next time.
BERMUN 2020 Closing Video
(photo and video: https://www.bermun.de/press)