This article was provided by David Steiner, president of Yale Model Government Europe (YMGE) 2014.
YMGE was founded in an effort to reimagine the traditional United Nations simulation in a way that is more dynamic, interactive, and educational. It combines the best practices of American and European Model UN conferences to offer an entirely new experience to its delegates. In its first three years, the conference firmly established itself as the premier boutique conference on the international Model UN/Model Government circuit, and this year, we’ve embraced a new challenge. In addition to teaching delegates the art and skill of diplomacy as we’ve always strived to do, we will now give them a front-row seat to diplomacy as it is practiced in real life, and we’ll leverage the resources of Budapest, our host city, to do so.
YMGE is, to many, a “destination conference.” Delegates attend YMGE not just to debate with some of the brightest young minds around the world, but also to explore a city rich in history and culture. Thus, in order to give students that front-row seat to diplomacy, we decided to go out into the city. No longer are conference activities circumscribed to a hotel conference center, barring the occasional city tour. Now, the learning takes place all over the city. It takes place with diplomats, government officials, and scholars.
We have organized visits to diplomatic missions in Budapest to supplement the traditional in-committee experience—including the American, British Bulgarian, Danish, French, German, Norwegian, Pakistani, Serbian, and Swiss embassies. The typical embassy visit includes a tour of the embassy’s operations and the opportunity to speak with the ambassador. Delegates will get to see what the very jobs they simulate during the conference entail in real life. They will get to see the behind-the-scenes legwork of foreign service officers that supports the substantive discussions between diplomats of different countries. And they will get to see what a career in politics, policy, or foreign affairs could have in store for them.
Some schools, though, may not be able to or may not wish to visit an embassy. Not a problem! We created a new Director of Conference Services position to help schools make the most of their time in Budapest. Other conferences have Directors of Services, or Undersecretary-Generals of Services, but few utilize the position as extensively as YMGE does. YMGE is a full service conference, and the Director of Conference Services is akin to a concierge. If a school can’t make it to an embassy visit but nonetheless want to organize an educational activity for its students, the Director will organize a tour of Parliament on the school’s behalf. If a delegation is looking for something to do on Saturday night, the Director can reserve a dinner cruise down the Danube River followed by a concert.
Another initiative that connects the conference with the city is inviting guest speakers to most of our committees. With universities, EU institutions, and government offices located in Budapest, there are many professionals and academics that are experts on some of the very topics our committees discuss.
To read more, including information about our unique committee and crisis structure, don’t hesitate to visit www.ymge.org. YMGE 2014 will run from November 27 to November 30, and we hope to see you there.