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Institute in Paris: Model UN Society’s First Conference

Date

Written by
Anna Lofts and Tinahy Ramamonjarisoa

On 9th February 2024, the University of London Institute in Paris Model United Nations Society (ULIP ModelUNsoc) embarked upon a 2-day adventure in the form of their first conference, held at the Institute of Intercultural Communication and Management (ISIT) at Panthéon-Assas University.

The ULIP ModelUNSoc is the University’s society for Model UN, an activity that seeks to improve students’ debate skills and awareness of current affairs by simulating United Nations debates on various topics.

Eager to put their debate skills to the test, the Institute in Paris delegation participated in the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) committee, which focused on the urgent humanitarian crisis of food insecurity in the Horn of Africa. 

Following an insightful and informative briefing on the topic given by Dr Marc Lavergne, the first day of the conference began, with the University of London Institute in Paris representing Kenya, Peru, France and Cuba. 

Southern Sudan presentation at the model UN

This was made possible by Dr Edouard Morena, Senior Lecturer at the Institute in Paris, who connected us with the organisers of the conference. Dr Morena was kind enough to accompany the Institute in Paris delegation on the first day and introduced us to his connections at ISIT. 

One of the most impressive features of the conference was the use of simultaneous interpretation provided by ISIT skilled interpretation students. Although this obliged delegates to moderate their pace whilst speaking, the ease of communication allowed delegates to express themselves freely in their mother tongue. 

First on the agenda was getting accustomed to the conference-specific parliamentary procedure. Once these were understood, the delegates were invited to give their introductory opening speeches, establishing each country’s stance on the issue at hand.

Students representing ULIP at the Model UN

As states identified their aligning interests, two opposing blocs formed and tensions rose. Proactive nations courted neutral delegates, seeking compromise and concession, although many combatively stood their ground. 

Each bloc drafted their own resolution to the issue with one proposition led by China, Ethiopia and Sudan being rivalled by the adjacent proposition of Cuba and India. The first bloc advocated for more robust Sino-African trade, whereas the latter drew on the non-aligned movement’s commitment to pragmatism and self-sufficiency in its package of policy recommendations. 

As the second day began, these two blocs raced to have their resolutions recognised. Brows furrowed and a deafening silence presided over the room as the committee chairs set the proceedings in motion. The negotiations to come would require the tireless efforts of all delegates. 

ULIP Students in discussion at the model UN

As accusations of conflict of interest swirled, the prospect of a consensus-based solution seemed to wither. Fortunately, delegates from Peru, Kenya and France managed to revive the cordial atmosphere of cooperation.

Consequently, the members present were able to come to a resolution eclectically combining the propositions of both blocs, thereby successfully tackling the issue of food insecurity in the Horn of Africa through international co-operation: the founding principle of the United Nations. 

ULIP students debating on behalf of Peru and Kenya

The conference was a brilliant opportunity to collaborate with other universities in Paris and exchange perspectives on current international and local affairs, drawing from our studies, our personal experiences and our respective areas of interest that we pursue outside university.

We found the students present both amiable and erudite: the connections we made during the conference proved enriching, and we hope to see them again in future. Inspired and motivated by our experience, we each wish to continue our Model United Nations journey, looking forward to the upcoming Paris International Model United Nations conference.

It was to the immense satisfaction of the delegation that all the students from the Institute in Paris delegation were commended. Tom Mannion and Anna Lofts received a special mention during the prize-giving ceremony, delegate Tinahy Ramamonjarisoa was awarded best speech and Elizabeth Woods was awarded best delegate. 

Participating in Model United Nations has increased our confidence and honed our diplomatic skills. Adapting to such a challenging environment has been a rewarding process, one that we encourage all University of London Institute in Paris students to take up by joining one of the Model UN Society’s Friday sessions.