Last week, Best Delegate partnered with WFUNA (The World Federation of United Nations Associations) to put on WIMUN 2015 with the goal of being the most realistic simulation of the United Nations to take place to date. This was the second year of WIMUN following WIMUN 2014 in Rome, held at the Food and Agriculture Headquarters. This year, WIMUN was held in New York City with Opening and Closing Sessions at the United Nations Headquarters. WIMUN uses UN4MUN procedure to accurately simulate the UN, and partnered with the UN Department of Public Information to make sure it was the most accurate model of the UN to ever happen.
WIMUN 2015 brought together nearly 500 delegates and 30 staff from over 50 different countries and every [permanently inhabited] continent. Unlike many MUN conferences, WIMUN hosts both a high school and university division, and delegates participated in the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Sixth Committees of the General Assembly and two separate UN Security Councils.
A Conference and a Workshop
Because UN4MUN Procedure is still new to the MUN Community, almost all conferences using this procedure need to begin with a series of trainings to introduce delegates to the new format of meetings. WIMUN provided delegates with a day and a half of training- sessions with the “Secretaries” of each committee, and sessions with Bill Yotive, head of the Global Teaching and Learning Initiative for the UN Department of Public Information Outreach Division and founder of the UN4MUN initiative.
Expert Guest Speakers
WIMUN 2015 was rife with content experts to brief delegates and provide them with high-level information on their topics and the conference theme: the Sustainable Development Goals. At Opening Ceremonies, the conference received an address from Under Secretary-General of the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Christina Gallach and UN Envoy on Youth Ahmad Ahlendawi. At Closing Ceremonies, delegates had the privilege of hearing from former President of the General Assembly and current Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, as well as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Development Program Michael O’Neill. Other guest speakers for WIMUN included:
- Yoonie Kim, Political Affairs Officer, UN Department of Political Affairs
- Alain Seckler, Political Affairs Officer, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
- Cissa Wa Numbe, Secretary-General of UNA of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Allison Pytlak, Policy and Advocacy Specialist, Secretariat of the Control Arms Coalition
- Daniël Prins, Chief, Conventional Arms Branch of the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs
- Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, UNCTAD New York Office
- Sonia Smallacombe, Social Affairs Officer, Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Professor Naomi H. Harley, Ph.D. New York University School of Medicine, U.S. Delegate to UNSCEAR
- Ambassador HAHN Choong-hee, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York
Consensus-Driven Committee Sessions
WIMUN hosted the 2 simulations of the UNSC using UN4MUN session to ever take place, presided over by delegates from American University of Sharjah (university division) and Dalton Academy (high school division). University students discussed the situation in the DRC, which high school students discussed the situation in Yemen, in interactive sessions with the Press, expert briefings, and delegate-driven committee committees. For more information about how the UNSC works in UN4MUN, check out this article!
In the General Assembly Committees, delegates discussed everything from Small Arms Trade to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and formulated intense policies on each of their topics. All 5 of the General Assembly committees were able to find consensus on their resolutions after some tense line-by-line reviews of each resolution, and each resolution was eventually adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly Hall during the Closing Plenary.
Some Fun Stuff!
At the real UN, Member States have the opportunity to speak during plenary sessions, so delegates at WIMUN 2015 had the opportunity to speak in the actual UN GA Hall in front of the entire conference, either to discuss the agenda or specific resolutions before or after their adoption. The elected Chairs and Rapporteurs from each committee also had the opportunity to present in the UN GA Hall, surrounded by 500 of their peers.
To cap off the conference, each division also had their own Delegate Social on Saturday night. The High School division had the opportunity to go down to Samsung Studios for food, international sodas, prizes, free tote-bag designs, and even got to play with the Virtual Reality Headsets there! University students stayed in Midtown and had their own social and dance at a local venue to say farewell before delegates headed back to each of their own corners of the globe.
And a Special Message from Ban Ki-moon
The UN Secretary General was originally scheduled to give the keynote address to WIMUN 2015, but had to go to an emergency meeting in the Middle East instead. He recorded this special message for WIMUN instead: