Raquel Hazeu, a student in her third year of the IE University Dual degree in Laws and International Relations program, served as the secretary general of the first ever IE University Model UN Conference in October.
Her responsibilities included administrative and public relations related tasks, as well as coordinating and supervising the staff prior to and throughout the conference. Raquel shares her experiences and her hopes for the future of the IE University Model United Nations.
On the weekend of October 10 and 11, students from all over the world participated in the first-ever IE University Model United Nations—IEUMUN 2020. Model United Nations (MUN) is an interactive simulation of the work completed by United Nations committees. Each student, referred to as delegate, represents the stance of a country on a specific topic. Together, delegates debate in order to draft and approve a resolution with measures that seek to resolve the issue at hand. It allows students to understand the inner workings of the United Nations, and to develop their public speaking and negotiations skills. At IEUMUN 2020, delegates simulated the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Each of these committees addressed one of the fundamental pillars set forth in the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations.
The IEU Debate Club has been actively participating in MUN conferences hosted by other universities, but we felt that it was time for us to step up and organize our own at IE University. Whilst the circumstances prohibited a face-to-face conference, we kept in mind that in times of change it is essential to be courageous and let go of familiarity. We were determined to make IEUMUN 2020 a reality by maintaining the global conversation through a virtual conference. It was fascinating to see over 60 students from 36 different countries virtually unite for a common purpose.
The organization of IEUMUN 2020 was no easy feat. Composed by students who are studying different degrees and are of diverse nationalities, the secretariat was the backbone of the conference. Under Secretary Generals (Olivier Baeten – Logistics, Yasmin Akhrarova – Human Resources, Christian Roessler – Marketing, Hala Qudah – Finance, Dhruvi. Khandelwal – Director General) served a different role in the organization and execution of the conference, including recruiting, screening and allocating the staff, chairs and delegates. Recruitment was conducted through the virtual platform, MyMUN, which is used worldwide for MUN conferences—giving it an international reach.
Staff recruitment occurred in July and August. The chairs, who were selected through a two-phase application process, played an important role as they prepared study guides on each topic—available at IEUMUN – IE University Model United Nations.
The work put in by the secretariat did not go unnoticed, especially as the smooth flow of the conference was in their hands. Their presence was incredibly important due to the fact that connectivity tends to be the main drawback to virtual events. Interviews, debate notes and 20 different press releases are published on the IEUMUN website thanks to the press and marketing team. The incredible posts designed by our social media manager are featured on our Instagram page @ieu.mun2020.
IE University Student Government sponsored the conference’s website and collaborated closely with the team. The winning delegates received LinkedIn Premium subscriptions sponsored by the IE Talent & Careers team—demonstrating our ongoing commitment to students and their professional development.
After two days of Model UN debates, all three committees managed to pass resolutions proposing various initiatives for refugees covering public health, housing and education. They also proposed training programs and funds for low-carbon development in developing countries, professional medical training for frontline workers and the creation of safe ports and trade corridors in Yemen.
IE University Model United Nations raised a total of €728 to be donated to the Red Cross in Yemen and the NGO, Bala Wala Chi in Beirut. Each participant truly made an impact with their proposals, contributed directly to the cause with their fees and created long-lasting connections with other students worldwide. Don’t worry if you missed this year’s conference—our objective is to make IEUMUN an annual IE University event to ensure that we can continue to make a positive impact.