This recap was provided by Michelle Ann Meza Reusche, LiMUN 2013 Secretary-General – Chief Advisor for HNMUN 2014 Peruvian Universities, and Maria del Pilar Lindley Esteves, Director for the Committee on Primary Education Development – AENU Peru Director General.
On August 8th, more than 180 high school students from a variety of districts within the capital city of Lima gathered in the auditorium of la Universidad de Lima to participate in Lima Model United Nations (LiMUN) 2013. The excitement could be felt from the moment they stepped into the auditorium. For most of them, this would be their first MUN experience, although some students had already participated in LiMUN 2012. The three days of conference proved that LiMUN 2013 was a complete success. The anxiety and enthusiasm among the delegates were indescribable, especially as the Committee Directors announced the awards and the Secretary General approached the podium during the Closing Ceremony to announce the closure of the Second Edition of Lima Model United Nations.
LiMUN – An Initiative by AENU Peru
AENU Peru is a non-profit organization that was born from the curiosity and initiative of a group of Peruvian students interested in debate and global issues. It all started in the year 2005, when a group of Law students from Universidad de Lima decided to form the “Círculo de Estudios sobre las Naciones Unidas” (CENU) to participate in Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) 2006 for the first time. They returned year after year, each time achieving better results thanks to the endurance and dedication of our members. Finally, in the year 2010, the CENU became an independent association under the name AENU Peru, allowing students from other universities and other academic disciplines besides law to become part of our “Peruvian Universities” team. After several years of success in HNMUN, AENU Peru decided to start participating in Harvard World Model United Nations (HWMUN) in 2012. The success of our association is the direct result of the commitment and perseverance of our members. Not only have we managed to win 18 awards in these competitions; more importantly, we have been the driving force that has steered the MUN boom in Peru.
In 2012, we started a new project: Lima Model United Nations (LiMUN). We thought about the importance of using our experience for a bigger purpose and for the benefit of our country’s youth. We realized the importance of including school students and initiating them in their MUN life from an early stage. To this end, AENU Peru worked together with Universidad de Lima to bring the first MUN conference for schools, Lima Model United Nations 2012 (LIMUN). This first session was a complete success, allowing more than 100 students to get an insight into what an MUN conference is like. We decided this project should become an annual conference, and we worked during several months to make LiMUN 2013 an even better experience.
The LiMUN Philosophy
AENU Peru strongly believes LiMUN is definitely more that just a conference, as it was our first step towards developing new MUN projects for Peruvian students. Our experience has led us to discover the importance of responsible leadership in achieving effective changes in our society. This is why we decided to develop this new project and to invite younger students to become part of the MUN experience. We decided to start modeling future leaders from an earlier stage than before.
At first we were doubtful about the results among our young public. After all, the MUN culture had still not touched the heart of schools and students up to then, since most of our projects had been aimed at University students. However, LiMUN in its very first edition (2012), surpassed our initial expectations, gathering around 130 students willing to live their first MUN experience. LiMUN 2013 gathered almost 200 students, and confirmed our belief that this project had been born to stay.
LiMUN 2013 Experience
LiMUN 2013 took place from August 8th to August 10th at Universidad de Lima, in Lima, Peru. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” was the slogan that motivated almost 200 delegates from 13 different schools from all across Lima to participate enthusiastically in this conference. The 185 delegates who participated signed up as 37 delegations of 5 students in order to participate in the five committees we offered this year. These committees addressed the most delicate issues currently being discussed in the highest forums and committees of the United Nations. From the present crisis of the Syrian Refugees, to the Millennium Development goal of Primary Education Development, passing through the topics of Human Trafficking, Access to Medicine and Climate Change and Conflict, young students were challenged with the authentic and most critical global realities.
Furthermore, la Universidad de Lima allowed us to use their capital market computer laboratory as the headquarters for the Press Staff operations. The advantage offered by the capital market computer laboratory was that this room allowed us to control the T.V. screens outside the committee rooms, enabling us to display the updates and news about the heated negotiations, intense lobbying and drafting processes that were taking place inside and outside the rooms.
Our Press Team was in charge of preparing and delivering updates, to each committee. The purpose of the updates was to bring a dynamic nature to the debate and to help students to become more engaged and interested in the topic being discussed. However, updates were also provided to test delegates’ ability to respond to new problems in a quick but effective way, as they knew adaptability to new ongoing outbreaks was a critical aspect in the evaluation of their performances. The Press Team surprised both the delegates and the staff this year by producing creative updates that went from a disabled girl visiting the Primary Education Development Committee to talk about her limitations regarding access to education, to a delegate being kidnapped in the Human Trafficking Committee and an overwhelming zombie attack due to an epidemic outbreak in the Access to Medicine Committee.
On the other hand, the Committee Directors presented consistent information that led delegates to model their resolutions in the most realistic and creative manner, while addressing the issues being discussed. Furthermore, it is impossible to forget the outstanding work done by the teachers, who played the role of advisers for their delegations and kept moving from committee to committee in order to evaluate their students’ performance and give them advice when considered appropriate.
The LiMUN 2013 Staff consisted of a Secretary-General and an Under-Secretary-General, as well as a Logistics Director, a Press Director and a Director for Substantial Affairs, and nearly 30 additional members who worked as part of the different teams. The Staff decided to concentrate on the delegates and teachers in order to enhance their learning experience. To this end, we improved last year’s Teachers Workshop and implemented a new Delegates Workshop, both aimed at explaining the basics of MUN, revising the Rules of Procedure and Conference Policies, and carefully describing the official format to present Position Papers, Working Papers and Draft Resolutions. The criteria that would be use to evaluate their performances was also explained, and both teachers and students clearly understood what we expected from them in this Second Edition of Lima Model United Nations. The Workshops could not end without the teachers and students asking questions in two explanatory sessions that lasted over two hours each!
To sum up, if we have to recall what LiMUN 2013 means to us, we can surely affirm that it has been much more than just a conference. It has been a challenge for both the LiMUN 2013 Staff and the delegates, and a realization of our contribution to the education of our country for AENU Peru. We have certainly started a journey with a young public of future leaders who are already working under the flagships of international commitment and global responsibility, values that were explicitly recalled in the closing ceremony by the Secretary General.
As members of the LiMUN 2013 Staff, we believe that being the pioneers of MUN in Peru has brought us thousands of rewarding results. We have managed to contribute to the education of our country, by raising awareness about international issues, developing knowledge and debate skills, and teaching students about the importance of team work, dedication and perseverance. We doubt that what we have done so far will be able to affect national education to such an extent as considered in the Millennium Development Goals. However, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and we are definitely on path towards making a substantial change in our society by forming leaders and agents of change in our community.
The Future of LiMUN
From 2012 to 2013, the number of delegates participating increased by around 40%, and delegates showed a huge improvement in their understanding of MUN rules and their development of MUN abilities. We expect this positive trend to continue over the next years. Furthermore, we are sure that LiMUN is here to stay, and we will definitely improve our conference and offer better and more interesting options for schools and delegated each year, as we learn from our own experience. We want to extend this invitation to High School Students from all around the world to participate in LiMUN 2014. We promise this will be a unique experience you will never forget!