Conference Recap: UkraineMUN 2017

by Sam Povey on April 28, 2017

Model UN is expanding and has been for some time. From its ivy-league enclave, Model UN has spread throughout North America and Western Europe and beyond: there are large, sophisticated circuits in South America, East Asia and the Indian sub-continent. But some countries remain relatively untouched by the MUN phenomena.

Ukraine is one such example. There are a handful of small conferences in the country but Model UN remains a niche activity that is unheard of by most students. This year, however, students from a number of universities came together to host an international MUN conference in the city of Lviv, hosted at the universities of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and Lviv Polytechnic National University.

UkraineMUN brought together 120 students from 24 countries for its inaugural edition. The conference not only gave Ukrainian students the opportunity to participate in an English language conference but welcomed students from across Europe to experience Ukraine.

The UkraineMUN Secretariat

The UkraineMUN Secretariat

We had the opportunity to speak to the Secretariat (pictured above) about their time organising UkraineMUN.

How did the idea for UkraineMUN come about?

“After literally everything (phone, keys, passport, credit card) was stolen at a social of a MUN conference last year, I was refused to board the plane back home, so I had quite a long bus journey to think and the idea came up (as we say in Germany: Glück im Unglück).

With UkraineMUN, we wanted to firstly, promote the city and country itself to the international community. Lviv is a UNESCO heritage city and jewel of East Europe. With its cultural diversity, Austrian, Italian and Slavic architecture and charming cosiness, Lviv has become the cultural capital of the country and a prime tourist destination in Ukraine. Secondly, we wanted to give local students a chance to participate and network in such an international environment.” – Katia Lomakovych, Secretary General

Delegates of the UNSC

Delegates of the UNSC

What does Model UN have to offer students from Ukraine in particular?

“Many of the Ukrainian participants we had were newcomers and unfamiliar with the MUN concept. Enabling them to benefit from MUN experience serves, in my opinion, a twofold purpose. Firstly, it brings the world closer to them and Ukraine in general by destroying myths about Ukraine and showing what a beautiful, ambitious and safe country it is.

And secondly, most importantly, it also brings the Ukrainian people closer to the rest of the world. Many of them dream about going abroad to study or work but for various political reasons face great difficulties in achieving these goals. Taking part in Ukraine MUN gives them access to a vast network of alike bright students who can help them or, to a certain extent, even motivate them not to give up just yet. I had personally met a great number of talented people and I shall hope we stay in touch. After all, making friends is a vital part of what Ukraine MUN is all about.” – Ondrej Toloch, Deputy Secretary-General

Social

UkraineMUN’s opening social

What challenges did organising UkraineMUN present?

“The difficulty with language is a first, but a natural problem, especially when dealing with universities with whom you have to rely on to book rooms. Fortunately, we had a few members on the secretariat who are Ukrainian, but this was not the case for everyone (like myself).

Bringing MUN to a country that does not have that many MUN university level conferences can be challenging as most delegates that we had didn’t know what MUN was in the first place. However, we were fortunate that we had excellent chairs who truly brought a fun and light-hearted atmosphere to all of their committees, showing delegates the incredible side of MUN. This was definitely the most rewarding challenge to confront whilst organising UkraineMUN.” – George Mullens (USG Chairing)

What was the most rewarding aspect of UkraineMUN?

“In terms of Ukraine MUN 2017, each of the three days was an unstoppable sequence of unpredictable events that at times sent me crazy. Nevertheless, I cannot describe how happy and rewarded I felt noticing that MUNers didn’t want to leave Lviv on the last day. The second portion of rewards didn’t make me wait too long as promptly after the closing ceremony all of the organisation team received a huge amount of positive feedback and had been asked when the second edition of UkraineMUN will be held. Without any doubt, such moments are the greatest reward I could imagine, for regardless some obstacles, people were more than satisfied.” – Anastasia Honcharuk, (Conference Manager)

The largest international delegation was from the University of Aberdeen, who contributed delegates, chairs and many Secretariat members

The largest international delegation was from the University of Aberdeen, who contributed delegates, chairs and many Secretariat members

What would you change about the conference in the future?

“The conference itself went by great in terms of the quality of socials and debate. The mere thing that I would possibly consider changing, which was pretty much out of the hands of even the secretariat, would be the communication between our partner universities. The whole thing would go slightly more smoothly if we knew some of the room allocations or venues in advance. But let’s not forget that this was the first time something of this scale was organised in Lviv or even Ukraine as a whole.” – Klaudia Kucel (Head of Delegations)

If you had to convince someone to attend UkraineMUN, what would you say?

“The big difference between UkraineMUN and other conferences is that the experience goes far beyond the conference. The many socials provide a real taste of Ukraine, and an excellent time besides. While you can only ever hope for a passing glimpse of the local culture, UkraineMUN makes sure that delegates really experience Ukrainian culture.” – Josh Upton (Crisis Manager)

For more info on Model UN in Ukraine, visit the UN’s own website!

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