studenten regeren de wereld (dag 1)

dagboekfragmenten van MUN'ers

Auteur extern

Jonas Van Orshoven, Joseph Steimetz, Joyce Ibens en Pauline Theunis

Laat Trump, Poetin en Merkel voor wie ze zijn. Wat als studenten een natie zouden leiden en de onderhandelingen voerden op het hoogste politieke niveau? Dat is Model United Nations in een notendop. Van 9 tot 12 maart vormt het Hof van Liere weer het decor voor bevlogen redevoeringen, duistere achterkamerpolitiek en een bende briljante studenten, de wereldleiders van morgen. Ze onderhandelen er over hete hangijzers uit de internationale politiek, maar ook aan de obligate diplomatieke feestjes wordt gedacht.

dwars legde de hand op het dagboek van vier MUN’ers: lukt het Jonas en Joseph in de VN-veiligheidsraad om naar een wereld te gaan zonder atoomwapens? En wat met Europa? Zorgen Joyce en Pauline voor meer gendergelijkheid en voorkomen ze dwangarbeid en slavernij? Je leest het hier.

Joseph Steimetz   (Ambassador of the USA)

My name is Joseph, I’m 23 years old and I am competing in this years lustrum edition of the AnwerpMUN. This is in fact the second time for me to join the AntwerpMUN and as a good bottle of wine, as it gets older, it gets better!


I have the honor of being the representative of the United States of America for the United Nations General Assembly and I’ve been asked to write down a small summary of how my day has been and what is going on in a MUN. So where should I start?


Maybe I’ll just start by explaining the topic of our committee, which is briefly the context of nuclear weapons in international politics.


We started the day with the official opening of the AntwerpMUN 2017 with speeches given by the president of the AntwerpMUN organization and the vice dean of the university of Antwerp. Once all of that had passed we started with the actual committee session.


I must say, during the first half, the committee was quite sleepy or quiet. There weren’t too many motions or points being passed by to the chair. Nevertheless it was still a very intense and fruitful day, with a lot of notes being passed around. When I received the email stating that I had been selected in representing the United States of America at the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly), I imagined I’d be receiving plenty of notes, but I did not expect it to be that many! Most of the time I was just sitting there and replying to all of the notes I have received from almost every delegate in the room.


The plan of the United States together with Russia and all of the other nuclear powers, is to come to an agreement on the possible further non-proliferation and gradually strive to a mutual partial disarmament between all of the nuclear powers. I must say, we are taking the first steps towards actually achieving that, but the MUN has just started and we still have a long way ahead when it comes to working out in detail the conditions of that agreement.


As I’m writing this summary I’m nearly falling asleep from fatigue after all of the work we have done today. But I do so, with a smile as big as our (USA) president’s ego, which says a lot of how big it is.


So far day one out of four has ended, looking forward to the rest of the MUN. Let me just finish with a quote by President Trump: “Let’s make AntwerpMUN great again!”


Jonas Van Orshoven   (Ambassador of Russia)

The first day in the General Assembly was characterized by a lot of testing the waters, and delegates trying to find allies for the different goals they have for this four-day session. This resulted in a somewhat chaotic and unstructured start. We held a lot of informal debates to enable delegates to discuss issues more freely with each other in little groups, but this also fragmented the debate, as some groups focused on other issues than others. The chairs are trying their best to guide the less vocal delegations into actively sharing their opinions, because a lot of debates aren’t as polarized as you would expect for a first day. Maybe some delegations will take tonight as an opportunity to do more research to support their arguments and statements.


As soon as an opportunity presented itself, I started working with the delegations of China and the United States to address the nuclear-sharing missions that place nuclear weapons in countries that don’t possess nuclear technology. This proved to be quite fruitful and we succeeded in finding some common ground on the topic, which the other delegations in the committee seemed, at least for now, to approve of.


The delegate of Australia, however, has proven to be particularly tough and, especially during informal discussions, seems to find it very undesirable to diminish the range of the US’s ‘nuclear umbrella’. I should be able to come up with a solid strategy to either keep them happy or focus on other things during the informal discussions.


From what the first day of discussions has taught me, a lot of the non-nuclear States will try to impose inspection obligations on the nuclear States and in particular Russia and the USA. As a matter of fact, Russia and the USA already carry out inspections on each other’s territories so there is no need for an extension of the inspection regime under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.


My arguments to that effect, seemed to fall on deaf ears and it looks like some of the non-nuclear States will try to form a bloc against the nuclear States. I hope these delegations don’t forget that Russia, as well as the US, has a veto in the Security Council so any resolution that doesn’t incorporate our concerns on the matter, will carry little weight in there.


So, a major point that I expect to be raised tomorrow is the fact that the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not provide inspections in nuclear-weapon States. Although I understand this can be a sore spot for those States, it is not in the best interest of the Russian Federation to give up this much of its national sovereignty on a crucial military issue. This is a point in which I stand united with the USA, which is one of the more vocal delegations in the committee. We should be able to hold the other delegations off for the next few days, but it might cost us a lot of goodwill for other topics in which we would like to achieve progress. But tonight we have a pub crawl planned, so that might be a good opportunity to gain some allies for the next few days!


Joyce Ibens   (President of Romania)

Today I woke up as the head of state of Romania – up and ready to discuss important matters with my fellow members of the European Council. On my way to our location where the committee sessions are to be held, I encountered a colleague: the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Together we chatted a bit and upon arrival we registered. After the opening ceremony, our debates could officially begin.


For the next four days we are to discuss on how to implement gender equality in the European Union, institutions and society. Moreover we will exchange views on some clear pervasive problems such as countering modern slavery and forced labour in the EU. Before lunch break we got comfortable with the subjects by all stating our own personal stances on the issues and by elaborating on future measures to be taken. We talked about very diverse subjects such as the effectiveness of quotas implemented to give preference to women on the work force, both institutional as in private companies. Consequently we examined on how we could improve the educational system in favour of horizontal gender equality.


Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Komida but we did not hold off on further discussions. On the contrary, gender equality lead to some heated conversations while eating. After our lunch we continued on other matters such as gender-based violence and human trafficking where women remain a vulnerable social group. The majority of the heads of states complied on working together as a strong force, as a community in order to erase illegal criminal activities that affect vulnerable social groups. Hungary took a stance by saying they wanted to close the borders and raise border controls, but there was no consensus in the council on this proposition.


We took a small break, where me and some other delegates enjoyed the opportunity to get some fresh air. Together with the heads of states of Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece and Austria, we acknowledged that we wanted some structure in our agenda for the next days. After our break, during the follow-up session we all agreed upon to reform our agenda in order to have a clear overview on what should be discussed today and the following days.


Later a heated discussion emerged between the Netherlands and myself forming a similar opinion and Belgium and Austria on the other side. I completely agreed with the Netherlands that there should be a revision of the paternity and maternity rights, where parents could decide themselves on how to plan their leave before and post birth. Eventually we worked out a resolution on the sensibilisation of gender roles by funding awareness campaigns. There was a clear consensus that this was necessary in order to change the mentality in gender equality.


At the end of our sessions, we all decided to table the subject to tomorrow morning in order to come to a distinctive resolution on the subject. But besides those serious matters, it was time to let our hair down. All fellow delegates of the European Council, General Assembly, The World Trade Organization and the United Nations Security Council will enjoy a pub-crawl tonight! Lets hope we will be energetic enough tomorrow to continue our committee sessions.


Pauline Theunis   (Presidente van Slovenië)

De openingsdag van MUN is net achter de rug. Na de openingsceremonie is iedereen meteen ingevlogen. Aangezien Slovenië reeds enorm heeft ingezet op gendergelijkheid, valt dat ook te merken aan de resultaten. Met een achtste plaats met betrekking tot de genderkloof hebben wij al veel verwezenlijkt. Vooral één ander land springt er meteen uit, Finland. Iedereen kan leren van wat zij de laatste jaren verwezenlijkt hebben. We hebben vandaag gedebatteerd over het nut van quota’s, over mensenhandel, over de gelijktrekking van vader- en moederschapsverlof enzovoort en ik hoopte op veel invloed van Finland, mits zij net het land bij uitstek zijn om hierover oplossingen aan te reiken, maar die bleef jammer genoeg uit.


We waren ook met z’n allen in het wilde weg beginnen debatteren zonder de besprekingen effectief in een (losse) structuur te gieten. Na de middag waren we daar ook allemaal mee akkoord waardoor we nu puntjes op de agenda hebben kunnen zetten voor morgen. Handig, aangezien iedereen zich dan kan inlezen. Hongarije heeft zich vandaag het meeste geprofileerd als het land waar tradities en traditionele rollen nog steeds prioriteit nemen boven gendergelijkheid. Dit omdat ze geen genderquota’s in hun land willen, maar dat gezegd zijnde, wel willen werken aan andere manieren om gendergelijkheid na te streven. Alternatieve voorstellen bleven echter jammer genoeg uit.


Hongarije heeft ook benoemd dat zij vaak de bron zijn van mensenhandel en ze zouden graag (financiële) hulp van andere landen willen om deze problematiek te bestrijden. In Slovenië is dit minder een probleem, maar aangezien mensenhandel zich uiteraard niet beperkt tot landsgrenzen, zijn wij zeker bereid om hier een handje toe te steken. Een ander punt over gendergelijkheid kwam vanuit Luxemburg. Zij sprongen mee op de kar toen wij, Slovenië, aan het woord waren en de problematiek van horizontale en verticale segregatie op de arbeidsmarkt aankaartten. Dit is voor ons nog steeds een groot probleem aangezien slechts 1/3 van de vrouwen in hooggeplaatste functies staan. Hongarije gaf de oplossing om meteen uit het onderwijssysteem zelf te werken en om vrouwen warm te maken voor de industriële sector gezien zij vaak voor de dienstensector kiezen.


Een andere invalshoek kwam van Litouwen. Zij spraken over het feit dat het heel vaak over vrouwen gaat, maar dat we daarmee slechts de helft van het probleem behandelden, want mannen kunnen ook aangespoord worden om meer in de dienstensector te werken en gemobiliseerd worden om vrouwen te helpen. Aangezien wij de ‘HeforShe’-solidariteitscampagne mee steunen, die mannen inderdaad aanspoort om vrouwen te ondersteunen, was dit voor ons een schot in de roos. België kwam daar ook met een goed idee aan, namelijk het bannen van stereotypen in het onderwijs. Dat een verpleger een man kan zijn en dat een bouwvakker ook een vrouw kan zijn. Kortom, food for thought.