Well before the entry deadline (14 February 2003), the 12th Harvard University World Model United Nations Conference (WorldMUN), taking place 22 to 27 March 2003 at the University of Heidelberg, already looks like breaking all previous records. With over 950 participants and 83 delegations, the sign-up figures represent a 50% rise over the number of participants registered at other WorldMUN conferences in the last few years. The high number of delegates is not the only positive surprise. Alongside the familiar Anglo-American delegations from Yale, Oxford or the American military academy West Point, there are also a large number of first-timers, including universities from Kuala Lumpur, Zagreb and Peking and delegations from countries as different as Macedonia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. Major interest also focuses on the delegations from Afghanistan and the People's Republic of China, hitherto unable to participate, partly for political reasons.
In Heidelberg itself, the preparation teams are working flat out. The committee sessions themselves will be flanked by an attractive programme of social events, ranging from a science market, a cabaret evening and a soccer tournament to a gala ball at the world-famous Residence in Schwetzingen. At present, the chairpersons of the various committees are undergoing a training programme in Heidelberg and Harvard. Alongside 16 chairs from Harvard, 37 Heidelberg students will be supervising the conduct of business in the various committees.
The WorldMUN Conference
The WorldMUN conference is a week-long simulation of the work of the United Nations and other international organisations (NATO-Russia Council, Council of Europe, World Bank). The Conference was officially recognised by the UN in 1994 and has enjoyed the patronage of the officiating UN Secretary-General ever since. The Conference is organised on a yearly basis by Harvard University and the local running of the event is in the hands of the student association "WorldMUN Heidelberg e.V.", working in close cooperation with the Rector's office of the University of Heidelberg.
Sixteen committees convening in parallel will debate present-day matters of moment in global politics and also elaborate resolutions on topical issues connected with foreign policy, development policy and economic policy. On the agendas, crisis prevention and management figure just as prominently as global policies concerned with the environment, health or finance.
A separate forum will be debating and adopting reform proposals for the UN Charter initiated at the 2001 WorldMUN conference in Istanbal. After the WorldMUN press conference on 26 March (10.30 a.m.) at Heidelberg's NH/Astron hotel, the draft Charter (UN Vision of Youth) will be presented to the public.
The conference creates ideal conditions for encouraging an exchange of ideas, views and attitudes, both on political and other subjects. Diplomacy, rhetoric and negotiation skills are trained and enhanced. These are precisely the abilities sought by employers in industry, business, the political and the academic world. For young people aiming at an international career they are absolutely indispensable.
The United Nations may sometimes appear to be an abstract, not to say faceless institution. But this conference turns it into a living, breathing reality, at least for the space of a week. The conference offers students the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the workings of international diplomacy. What could be more challenging and exciting in an age of globalisation and heightened public and media interest in international politics?
Again and again, educational visions encouraging greater proximity to the practical side of life are being called for. The idea behind the World Model United Nations Conference is an extremely interesting and innovative step in this direction.
For more information go to www.worldmun.uni-hd.de (Heidelberg) or
Director of Public Relations
WorldMUN Heidelberg e.V.
phone: 06221-659219, (mobile): 0177-4495753
For more general inquiries (journalists) contact:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317