WorldMUN 2015 in Seoul
World Model United Nations 2015 conference took place in Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea. Right upon our arrival, we were amazed by the diversity around us: modern skyscrapers right next to ancient palaces and temples, chaotic street markets surrounded by huge colorful billboards everywhere and incredibly crowded streets.
In our free days we visited the famous royal palaces and several museums where we discovered the rich history of South Korea, took a walk through the traditional Hanok Village, went shopping in the famous Myeong-dong shopping district and enjoyed the view from the Seoul Tower. Another major highlight was the guided tour we took to the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea where we visited the Joint Security Area and learned more about the United Nations Command.
We also had the most interesting culinary experiences whenever we visited one of the countless food markets one can find all over the city. The most memorable are kimchi, South Korea´s famous side dish made of fermented cabbage eaten with absolutely everything, and the popular rice and bean desserts.
WorldMUN opening ceremony
The conference started on March 16th with a spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Aram Arts Center in Goyang. The first performances were a Korean traditional drum performance and a Korean traditional fan-dance. After this furious and glowing acts, we received a quiet insight into classical Korean music. However: What would Korea be like without K-Pop? An electrifying performance by girls-band Love Cubic answered our question. Among several Korean records they performed the famous „Gangam Style“, which anybody was able to dance to.
Of course, apart from music and dances, there have also been important guest speakers from Korean politics: Yn-Byung-se, Minister of foreign affairs, Nam Kyung-Pil, Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Dr. Kim IlChul, President of the hosting Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Dr. Park Jin, Chairman of Harvard Club of Korea. They gave us an insight into Korean politics and motivated us for the days to come. Eventually the moment we have all been waiting came: Secretary General Brian Mwarania and Host President HyunJoo Jeong declared the 24th edition of WorldMUN open.
On the first session day, all of the newcomers were astounded by the size of the conference. When we entered the big conference SOCHUM room, most of the 240 young students of all different nationalities were already gathered in small groups debating or were taking the last few preparatory notes. We were amazed by the professionalism and devotion with which all the delegates committed themselves to the issue. At first we were almost intimidated by the self-assured manner delegate pair after delegate pair stepped up to the podium to hold their speeches in front of the whole committee.
However, it was at the latest after our own first speech that it was impossible not to engage deeply in the heated and agitating debate and to contribute with several propositions. Our main work consisted in giving speeches, finding countries with the same interests and priorities, writing working papers, transforming those working papers into draft resolutions and at the end amending the draft resolutions. Finally, four days of tough debating, intensive discussions and exchanges of hundreds of messages saw their merit in a comprehensive and substantial resolution that the whole committee could be proud of. WorldMUN 2015 was provoking to all of us and bettered our abilities in a unique way.
The challenge of WorldMUN 2015 is actually combining all that concentration, focus and passion during the formal debates from 9 am until 5 in the evening, while at the same time making the most of the nights during the social events. It was a unique chance to socialize with almost 2000 delegates from over 100 countries, learning more about their diverse cultures and enjoying the sparkling differences.
On Sunday, 16th the first social night started. Filled with high excitement, dressed in white we drove to an ice skating park called “Onemount” to celebrate „Night Zero – Winter Wonderland“ which despite the freezing temperatures was a great and motivating beginning of an amazing week. On the first day, after an impressive Opening Ceremony, we headed to Itaein Town where a vast number of different delegations had set up tables filled with traditional specialties from their countries. We tasted Belgian chocolate, sweet cakes from Taiwan, Italian wine and Australian “Fairy Bread” while using the unique opportunity to have inspiring conversations with personalities from all over the world. Taking selfies wearing a Dirndl with a South Korean student in her country’s traditional robe, learning Spanish toasts: “arriba - abajo - al centro – adentro!” and cheerful dancing – The list of funny, unforgettable moments in the “Global Village” is endless.
The morning fatigue quickly disappeared thanks to the heated debates the next day. So in the evening, while dressing up for “Gangnam Style”, the tiredness completely vanished and was replaced by the joy of being able to see the notorious Gagnam District of Seoul. Arriving at Club Octagon we were dazzled by smoke and numerous flashlight. It was so fun to have delegation pictures taken by the paparazzi in front of a “World MUN” wall.
Our WorldMUN social experience culminated in the “Masquerade Cabaret Night” at Ellui, a trendy club with great music. Delegations from South America showed us hot salsa moves, all delegates were singing and hilariously jumping, group performing or presenting traditional stick dances – each and every performance being exceptional and beyond entertaining. Seeing the cultural diversity and joy under a rain of confetti on stage was an unutterable enrichment.
Unfortunately we had to bid adieu to six days full of memorable experiences and new multinational acquaintances during the “Taeguk Farewell Party” which took place at Sebitseom, a stage of three glowing islands that brightened the vista of the Han River. It was the last time to exchange numbers and enjoying the nightlife of Seoul.
Post conference trip to Japan
After we discovered Seoul together, nine people of our delegation wanted to get to know more of Asia and chose to go on a post conference trip to Japan for another seven days. We started in the wonderful city of Kyoto, which offers thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses to visit. Although we stayed for five days, we did not nearly have enough time to explore everything.
After our time in Kyoto our group decided to split up. Some of us went to the second largest city in Japan called Osaka, while others took the railway to Tokyo. The ride to Japan’s capital city was an experience on its own! The trains are incredibly fast, always in time and very comfortable. The city left many great impressions and was a lot of fun. Tokyo mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers and anime shops to cherry trees and temples. We were very lucky that the cherry blossom was in their fullest bloom when we visited Tokyo’s parks. In short, we were very impressed by the multi-faceted Japan and how different life here is. The trip was an incredible memory!