Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning the importance of diplomacy

Today Urvashi Bundel, a first year student at SAIS Europe in the International Law concentration, tells us about her experience at the Rome Model United Nations (MUN). Urvashi, from India, took part in the five-day simulation with students from all over the world. 

Participating in the Rome Model United Nations put to the test what I had learned during my classes. Diplomacy and speech-making are of prime importance, whether we choose to enter foreign services or consulting.

Urvashi Bundel (right) and her teammate
RomeMUN has become one of the biggest UN simulations in the world. These Model UN training programs are mainly designed for students, and aim to enhance their understanding of the roles and procedures that characterize an international organization like the United Nations.

Between 13-17 March 2014, 1500 participants from around the world gathered to represent UN member countries in a simulation of diplomatic debates in various different UN Committees.

The opening ceremony took place at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquarters in Rome, with dignitaries such as Minister Stefano Baldi, Director of the Diplomatic Institute of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Palestinian Ambassador to Italy in attendence.

The purpose of this experience-based program was to find common and effective solutions to various issues by drawing up and approving a number of resolutions. The participants could participate as delegates; as journalists representing networks such as Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, France24, Rainews International and Russia Today; or as language experts interpreting in and out of Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and French. RomeMUN delegates worked for different UN bodies, including the General Assembly, the Security Council, FAO and various UN agencies.

I represented the delegation from the Republic of Kuwait at the United Nations Human Rights Council. We debated topics ranging from indigenous peoples’ rights/minority rights to grave human rights abuses at the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay.

Kuwait was selected to be one of five members of an investigation committee whose presentations would be heard at the International Court of Justice. Eventually, due to the popularity of Kuwait’s speeches, it was voted “most popular delegation” in the Human Rights Council.

It was a truly profound experience - an experience that spanned five days of public speaking and diplomatic debates. To borrow from Joseph Nye, “getting others to want the outcome that you want” is a skill that students master during their time at SAIS.

Urvashi Bundel 
(BC14 / DC15)

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