This guest post has been provided by Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg, AENU Perú Founding Member and Former PU Chief Advisor.
Peru is experiencing a MUN boom. What was once an obscure acronym known only to a lucky few is now gaining ever-growing popularity among Peruvian high-school and college students. And spearheading this boom is Peruvian Universities (PU), the largest and most successful Peruvian delegation in the global MUN circuit. Having won a Diplomacy Award at WorldMUN -this being our first year attending the conference- as well as 4 awards in HNMUN -including Peru’s first Best Delegate award ever- Peruvian Universities has become a force to be reckoned among its more established South American peers. Given this year’s exceptional results, we believe it is time to share PU’s history with the wider MUN community.
PU’s story began in 2010 when members of the then University of Lima Delegation, despite increasing success at HNMUN, faced considerable economic hardships. In order to quench their financing needs, these students decided to exscind from their own University to create a stand-alone team, benefiting from the financial freedom that came with institutional independence. Thus they incorporated the Peruvian Association for the Study of the United Nations (or AENU Peru, for its Spanish acronym), a non-for-profit NGO charged with the task of promoting MUN in Peru and creating Peru’s first “National Delegation”, using past experience to select the finest delegates from Peru’s finest universities. This National Delegation was called Peruvian Universities, which currently includes delegates from four top colleges (namely, University of Lima, University of the Pacific, Pontific Catholic University and San Ignacio University).
Two years later, PU’s record includes a place in Best Delegate’s Top 10 International MUN Teams of 2011 and a total of 5 awards in 2012 (barely losing to Simon Bolivar University the title of HNMUN Best International Delegation).
PU’s good results in HNMUN are the result of a very demanding training process that lasts from 6 to 8 months, and is in charge of PU’s alumni -many of them successful professionals- who dedicate themselves to the project’s long-term sustainability. This way, PU’s delegates are given extensive training on International Politics, International Law, History and Geography. Training also includes debate skills development and specific advisory on each committee’s topics.
But PU and its parent association AENU Peru, believe that MUN is so much more than just a conference. We believe that MUN is an asset that can be of much help to an emerging nation such as Peru. Through MUN, PU and AENU aim at creating the kind of committed leadership a nation needs in its road to development. Therefore, as part of its overall objectives, and parallel to our MUN delegation, AENU has several additional projects currently underway.
Through the “Acción AENU” Program, we join the challenge of reaching the Millennium Development Goals, centering our aim in achieving universal primary education. We believe that this goal entails life-skills education through the implementation of workshops for the development of socio-cognitive skills, to children and adolescents living in vulnerable conditions. Currently, we are undertaking this project in collaboration with a Peruvian orphanage called Aldeas Infantiles (“Child Villages” in Spanish). We believe in the importance of volunteer work and strive to offer both a fulfilling personal experience to our collaborators as well as the opportunity to be a true agent of change.
In addition to our volunteer work, however, through our Academic Program, AENU Peru offers MUN-related services to colleges and student associations in Peru’s Capital, promoting the skills and knowledge that come with MUN preparation among the general non-MUN-related public. This initiative has created a very active collaboration with the University of the Pacific, which, seeing the value that MUN can incorporate in the skills of its students, agreed to launch the first ever Peruvian College Course on “Debate and Negotiation Skills through Model United Nations”. In this Course, PU senior members share their knowledge with university students and promote MUN values with Peru’s youth. Also, PU advisors helped organize the first ever Model United Nations held in the University of the Pacific, called UPMUN.
Finally -and most recently- AENU Peru is preparing to launch a special program called “Opinión AENU” aimed at the creation of knowledge and awareness on national and international issues. Through this initiative we mean to create a wide array of forums, both through social media and through the organization of colloquiums and public debates, where Peru’s youth will be able to express its point of view and participate in the Nation’s marketplace of ideas. With AENU’s assistance, college students will be able to find like-minded peers with whom to set their plans in practice and help their country on the way to prosperity.
With such a busy schedule, PU and AENU Peru have great plans for next year, including setting up a MUN Conference of our own. We are confident that with perseverance and effort we will be able to bring a Best International Delegation Award to Peru for the first time. We are aware of the challenge that lies ahead, and could not be more excited!