Between 12th to 14th November, the annual Model United Nations conference “KAMUN – The Black Forest Summit” hosted by the Munika e.V. took place at the Karlshochschule as well as the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany.
At MUN conferences, university students get the chance to authentically simulate the institutions, bodies, and committees of the United Nations. Through role-playing as UN delegates, participants research and formulate their country’s position which they use to negotiate and search for solutions later. Moreover, delegates discuss international challenges and crises to work out resolutions improving the delegate’s diplomatic, public speaking as well as Business English skills.
This year, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) discussed the socioeconomic fallout following COVID-19 in developing countries, the UN’s Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Issues (SOCHUM) debated on how to end world hunger as announced in the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) tackled the issue of modern slavery, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) participated in the official MUN refugee challenge debating topics such as climate change and displacement, toxic narratives about migrants, or the refugees’ economic inclusion as well as access to education. Additionally, the Security Council followed an open agenda, spontaneously dealing with conflicts such as the Libyan Civil War, the ongoing war in Donbas, threats posed by cyber warfare, the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Kashmir conflict. Following intense debates, fruitful discussions, and inspiring speeches, all committees managed to pass a resolution in the end.
Added to the academic aspect, however, also cultural understanding and personal relationships between students all over the world were facilitated by the Model United Nations spirit. Participating in a MUN conference renders feelings of team spirit, being part of a global network, and working jointly on a better future. This KAMUN welcomed around 150 delegated from 30 different countries and almost every single continent. Despite most delegates coming from Germany, France, George, the United States, and Spain, more delegates joined from Nepal, Peru, Djibouti, Egypt, and Ghana. Added to individual delegates, 8 delegations, three from high schools in Czechia and Germany as well as five from universities in Georgia, France, and Germany, participated in the conference. Here, intercultural as well as social relations were not only shaped during the committee sessions, yet also during the coffee breaks and evening socials through which the participants got to know Karlsruhe and each other.
On Friday afternoon, the conference started with a workshop explaining the general procedures of MUN. In the Karlshochschule International University, all delegates gathered for an opening ceremony which was moderated by the university group TalKIT. After Michael Zerr, president of the Karlshochschule, has welcomed all participates and outlined the common ground which can be found between the world of Model United Nations as well as the internationality and critical thinking of the Karlshochschule, Ruirui Zong-Rühe from Strategy presented the current impacts of aspects such as the Sustainable Development Goals or the European Green deal on the industry and how companies can strategically deal with this development. Lastly, Anna Bartholomäi and Aurel Steinert spoke on behalf of the Munika e.V. stressing this conference’s uniqueness. Not only represented this year’s KAMUN the 10th edition of the local MUN conference, however, it also celebrated the 100 year’s anniversary of the first MUN conference, the Oxford International Assembly simulating the League of Nations, in 1921. Moreover, after the last conference having been cancelled due to Covid-19, KAMUN 2021 illustrated one of the first conferences taking place in person again which was clearly depicted in the delegates’ motivation, energy, and social interactions.
On Saturday, the location changed from the Karlshochschule to the math building of the KIT in which the delegates started to engage in vivid discussions within their committee sessions. During lunch break, the mobile exhibition of the United Nations Association of Germany visited the conference venue offering deeper insights into the world of the UN, its processes, challenges, as well as history. Similar to the conference, the delegates were granted the chance to interactively get to know various perspectives and necessary skills of dealing with intersectional, global issues such as the ones having been discussed in the committees. After having passed resolutions in every committee, KAMUN 2021 was closed by awarding the best delegates and thanking all participants as well as organizational contributions.
After KAMUN 2021 – The Black Forest Summit having been a full success, the Munika e.V. would warmly welcome new interested members at their weekly meetings to continue offering this enriching tradition and Model United Nations experience to as many participants as possible. Get in touch with Munika e. V. on their website or on Instagram.
Article by Jule Spohn *JS – International Relations, 5th semester
*Karlshochschule is an educational institution and a non-profit organization as well. We want to encourage individuals and young people to take responsibility, find their own voice and initiate change in a sustainable and tolerant way. Listening to different opinions not only promotes different perspectives, but also discourse. The content of this blog is characterized by the diverse experience and opinions of the authors, which may not be the majority opinion of the university, but provokes reflection and discussion.