This past weekend, March 24-25, saw Dublin’s first ever Model United Nations (MUN) conference take place, organised by Trinity’s Society for International Affairs (SOFIA). I was fortunate enough to be able to Chair the European Council, and to say I enjoyed the event would be an understatement.
The conference was jam-packed, as the usual three days allocated to MUNing were condensed into two, leaving a much-needed Sunday free to sleep, recover, and pretend to study. Events kicked off on Friday at 13:00, with an opening ceremony in the GMB Chamber. Secretary General for TrinMUN, Jack Smith, opened the conference followed by speeches from Grace Conway, Chair of SOFIA, and Alice Kearns, Chairperson of Board of Directors, who spoke passionately about their society and the conference. James Temple Smithson, Head of the European Parliament Office in Ireland, was a guest speaker, and spoke inspiringly about maintaining world peace in times of economic and social instability.
The debates themselves started at 3pm following a coffee reception in the Hist Conversation Room (which had some lovely cupcakes and cookies for fellow carb addicts). The theme for this year’s conference was “reconciliation”, which was reflected in the topics of the four committees: Security Council (the question of the Cyprus conflict and Kurdish people), ECOSOC (environmental protection and youth engagement in SDG’s), UNHRC (sexual violence in armed conflicts and protection of environmentally displaced persons) and finally, the European Council (EU-NATO cooperation and external dimension of migration in Europe).
Delegates came from all over Europe to attend the debate, most notably from France, England and Ireland. The chairs were also diverse group, with students from Boston to Stockholm, as well as the exotic location of Cork.
After a day of fruitful debating, MUNers reconvened in JW Sweetman’s for a traditional pub night, where caucuses and notes were replaced by banter and beer. Debates resumed painfully early the next morning at 9.30am, with delegates, chairs and members of the board alike dragging their hungover selves to Trinity for a full day of MUNing. Fortunately, at lunchtime we were able to nurse ourselves back to health with coffee and salad boxes from KC Peaches.
Most of us headed to the Pav after the last debate ended at 6pm, where we were able to soak up the Dublin sunshine, though we assured the foreign delegates that Irish weather is not always as sunny as it was this weekend.
The closing ceremony was held at 8pm at a beautiful Hilton reception, where we were greeted with a classy glass of cava. After awards and honourable mentions were given out to delegates, each chair received a differently filled chocolate egg and a Trinity badge. The directors received a variety of different presents, including a tiara for Alice Kearns, who was crowned Queen of MUN.
The night spectacle ended in the early hours of the morning, as we were graced with “Le Lac du Connemara” by Michel Sardou, as requested by the French delegates. The brave went on to Temple Bar for afters, whilst the rest of us returned home, ready for bed.
Overall, it was a brilliant conference, and certainly one of my favourite MUNs thus far. It was superbly organised and the small committees were highly welcoming, as well as fun and laid-back. As for my experience chairing, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will absolutely aim to take part again next year. For anyone interested, I would strongly recommend you do too.