Standing in front of my open closet, I somehow cannot decide what to wear. Nothing seems to be comfortable enough for an evening chill by the computer in my bed. Perhaps the reason for the suspense is that there are thoughts about this year’s BratMUN flashing in my mind. By the time I was travelling home on the tram I still had not realized that the end of BratMUN has come, just like I did not realize that BratMUN was about to start when I was on my way to the Slovak Parliament building on Friday.
I regard BratMUN as a unique event and in the course of the last two years I came to consider it one of the top events of the year. Students from many countries come to take up the role of delegates and try to solve conflicts and issues happening on the global scene during just one weekend. At this simulation of real United Nations, I participated as the chair of the SPECPOL committee – Special Political and Decolonization Committee.
I would like to mention a few experiences that struck me during the course of the conference, but first of all, I feel an urge to share my feelings. I knew how much responsibility I would hold as the chair of SPECPOL, but I was truly looking forward to it. I was also looking forward to the chance of giving the delegates some kind of a unique experience. That was the reason why I also prepared a motivating speech for the start – I wanted to motivate the delegates as much as possible to make them try really hard and make the most out of the conference. I guess that I was quite successful ;)
When I was communicating with the delegates before the start of the conference, I received an interesting email, at which I did not know at first what to think.
Dear Excellence Zuzana Vančová,
I would like to apologize that my Policy Statement was sent so late in the previous message. I hope that all delegates will have great time and seriously we will have a good conversation.
I respect you really much and whole chair team.
Thank you very much for organization and thank you that you gave me chance to join Bratislava Model United Nations.
Sincerely, Marek (I won’t give you the surnameJ)
God bless your work.
After the last session at 6 pm on Friday this delegate came over to me. He was Slovak, but his English was perfect – and not only did he make an impression on me, but all delegates in our committee were impressed by him. He shook my hand and started to thank me (and the whole BratMUN team) for organizing such an event and giving him the opportunity to participate at it. I was truly surprised, because that is simply not common and one would not expect it. He really impressed me – but mainly as a human being, as a personality. I could see that his words were honest, eliciting a warm feeling in my heart. I really put myself into the role and tried to not only lead the debate, but actually lead the delegates to a next level. What I mean is that I wanted them to have an unforgettable experience at BratMUN, and I wanted them to move further in their thinking and views on their own lives. For example, I wanted them to discover hidden qualities in themselves, or to find a real interest for politics and diplomacy, or to become interested in participating at such events and gaining as many experiences as possible. I truly believe that I have reached this goal.
This delegate also mentioned that he valued the effort we had put into BratMUN and the sacrifice of our own time even though there was no material reward for us. It was extremely nice and pleasing to hear, and it really touched me in a way - mainly because I did my work with all my heart. I am really excited to be engaged in such things and actually find myself happy doing them. Knowing that someone can see that and honestly appreciates it is the most amazing thing that can happen to me.
Even when I came home in the evening, I pondered over his words. I was also a bit curious where he came from and where he studied. Someone slipped me the information that he attended the Evangelical Lyceum, and this explanation satisfied my curiosity. But I was still being forced to think about how the students are guided there and how it is possible to have such a beautiful, even majestic view on the world. And how is it possible that in such a young age they profess the "noble" values and value the things that get in their way across the life. It is a shame that I did not have a chance to talk to him any more.
Three hours of sleep after Friday's unofficial BratMUN party completely destroyed my ability to think soberly on Saturday, but we made a way to a successful end. At this point, however, I have to mention, another delegate (of Greece), who was trying very hard, but the other delegates did not want to support him for some reason. If we were giving two prizes for the best delegate, he would receive the second one. Finally, he had been so discouraged by others when they did not allow him to partake in basic procedures that he sent me a note with an amendment to the resolution, which stated, “Add a new point: ‘Make magic unicorns on Cyprus, which would eat weapons...’” I do not remember the rest. When I asked whether he was making fun of our committee, he said: “Well, maybe”:D
The General Assembly started after the lunch. We all sat in the Parliament Hall - delegates on the side of about 150 parliament seats, and us, organizers, at the lectern and the Chairman’s seat. My task was to assist the chair (the president of GA) in any way necessary. Therefore, I did a lot of administration work, and sometimes also whispered words to him when he got stuck. This, however, is not to say that he was not good at it – as a chair he was excellent, even the best of us chairs. His duties were vastly different and much harder and complex; while he chaired the debate of 150 people, we only chaired committees of 24 delegates at most. Being the assistant chair was a great experience and I felt honoured that David chose me for this position. I felt even better, when our tutor, who had watched us from the balcony, came over to us and told us that we looked very representatively, reliably and responsibly. Yes!
Today, on Sunday, we had the General Assembly again - and as David promised to me, he let me chair the Assembly. Wow, I led the discussion of 150 delegates! I could not wait for it since the beginning. Now I assured myself that I can do such “big” things. Not that I did not believe in myself, but there were some doubts. I just remembered how pleased I was when Tomas, the Director General, came to me on Saturday morning and praised me for how I managed the debate in my committee – according to him, our committee was one of the best at our MUN. God, I love doing these things so much!!
I have to mention one more funny story from the GA. Usually, several delegations have some point after each speaker to say or to propose something. At that time it was very difficult to decide on who was the first and thus the rules say that it is determined by the chair. Unfortunately, the delegation of Sweden apparently felt that we preferred others over them. They were deleted from the Speaker's list by mistake - but this also happened about a million times to others as well because our electronic program somehow protested and made a few changes on its own. Furthermore, they felt that we ignored them when they asked for the floor, and that we gave the floor only to the other delegations and preferred stronger countries. So at the moment when the final vote on the resolution was about to happen, they arose to a Point of Order and said all these things, they attacked the chairs and stated that they were leaving right now and were not going to vote. So they lifted from the chairs and left the room. And what did David do? Since it was a clear provocation from their side, he ignored them and simply announced that we had a new number of delegations in the General Assembly (one less) and announced the new majority necessary for adoption of the resolution. BRAVO! In my mind, I was applauding. To explain, we had apologized to them at the meeting for about three times and honestly, there was no discrimination from our side.
What more to say - perhaps that sometimes I was not quite happy about what some of the delegates and the people in the organizational group wore, and that I was terribly active yesterday evening when I heard that a protest was supposed to be held at the front of the Slovak Parliament building and that it's purpose was to protest against foreign people entering the actual building. To be honest, I was already putting a blog together in my mind on how to argue against it. Fortunately, those were just rumours and of course none of it was true. I can also mention that I had a nice talk with one person who was a guest on BratMUN and was a member of a certain organization here in Slovakia.
Apart from everything I have to commend the quality of this year’s BratMUN. In my opinion, the planning and organization was controlled perfectly, and I liked the fact that, on contrary to the last year, we had enough snacks and various drinks to offer during the coffee breaks. I also liked the way our people took care and supervised everything to ensure everything went just fine. And, although "shit" still happened (pardon the expression), I still can’t say that the organization of the event was not good enough. If you have organized such events, you know that something always goes wrong, and I understand that. Therefore, my opinion will not change and I especially thank to our organizing team that managed it so perfectly.
Photos from the conference: http://bratmun.sk/gallery.php
A few quotes from the conference:
"It is my honour to be the guest of honour"
"My grandmother can say only three words: yes, no and fuck america"
Delegate of Cyprus in his first speech: "Probably most of you know how democracy works or actually some of you might not, actually maybe I should explain it to Russia, China and Cuba"
Delegate of Spain after his soulful speech on the Sharia law and the need for democracy in the Arab countries: "And, well, yesterday I forgot my jacket in Subclub so if anyone had seen it, please tell me..."
"Well, the Russian Federation should probably establish their own government first orderly before criticizing the others..."
"So what's your reply, you dumb America???" (by the delegate of the People's Republic of China)
Delegates of Sweden: "We feel discriminated by the Chairman, so bye guys" -> "Sweden has just left the United Nations"
At UNSC, the delegate of Japan beginning his speech: "We all share a common European history..."
"I'm sorry, but Theodor the delegate of Spain, will come later, he didn't feel well this morning"
"I would like to ask the chair what the letters P and R on the screen mean" "I have no idea"