Above l to r: Dan Edwards (India Ambassador), Esmé O’Keeffe (Human Rights Delegate, Mali) and Krem Todovora (Mali - Special Conference - front right in group) in 'caucus' with other countries concerned about the expansion of LGBT rights
The Paris MUN is described here by Charlie Duckworth, who achieved the notable distinction of winning an Honourable Mention in his first ever MUN conference.
As this was my first ever MUN conference, I was really looking forward to going to Paris. We all met at KH at a bright and early 07:15; we were all excited for the next few days. We took a very complicated journey on our way to Paris, passing through ten stations over seven lines on our long journey. When walking to our hotel from the metro station we saw the light that rotates around the top of the Eiffel tower. This moment made everyone happy; we had arrived in Paris! Once we got to our rooms we dropped our bags and then rushed out to a pizza restaurant to have a well-deserved meal after our long journey. We went back to the hotel to have an early night’s sleep, all eagerly looking forward to the next few days.
We took a ten-minute walk to UNESCO and saw the amazing building and its close proximity to the Eiffel tower. Parts of the Eiffel tower were hidden in the clouds and it gave a perfect photo opportunity. After taking a quick photo we entered the UNESCO HQ. We were then taken on a tour of the building by Mr Peach. After the registration process where we were given our information packs and name badges, we went into the general assembly for the opening ceremony.
We were met by a group of 850 delegates. We had a speech from our Secretary General speech followed by a speech from a UNESCO delegate and we then went to our committees. I was in the Disarmament committee. I walked into the large committee room where I went to meet the chairs and delegates. The committee room came to order and we were told by our chair which topic we were debating – the issue of child soldiers. After a speech from the chair we were given time for lobbying. This was a process when you go and meet other delegates and try to gain support for your clauses and try to create alliances.
I had a clause prepared which I then joined with another country’s clause. I gained the necessary signatures from other countries and I submitted the clause to the chair. We then started debating. By the time it got to lunch, we had been through many clauses and only one had passed into the resolution. My clause had still had not been debated and because of the harshness of the committee, I was scared as to whether it would pass. We went and had lunch on the top floor of the UNESCO building where we were met by a fabulous view of the Eiffel tower.
We went back into the committee and it was then time for me to speak for my clause. I took my position at the podium in front of the 150 delegates in my committee and talked on my clause. After a long debate it finally passed.
The day was nearing a close. After walking back to the hotel, we got changed and ready for the night out. We went to a party run by the MUN conference at the Duplex night club (very near to the Arc de Triomphe). After a fun few hours we then went sightseeing on the Champs Elysées, including the Christmas market which got us all into a festive mood.
Charlie Duckworth asking a question in the Disarmament Committee
Saturday was the day I was most looking forward to, since we were debating chemical weapons in the Disarmament Committee. I am doing my Extended Project Qualification on “the Halabja Genocide of 1988 and its implications on international beliefs of the use of chemical weapons”. So this was a topic that I knew I would be able to talk a lot about.
I had submitted a clause and after explaining to the chair that this was my specialist subject, my clause came up for debate. I took the podium, and unlike on the previous day where I was nervous when stood at the podium, I was completely confident, knowing that this was my subject and hopeful of my clause passing into the resolution. According to other delegates, I spoke for around 10 minutes (despite the time allowed being 3 minutes) but to me it felt like a rather short period of time. I was worried during the debate that I had been too technical, but my worries were put to an end when the clause passed into the resolution.
We carried on debating all day long on this topic and it gave me a chance to speak on many occasions. Towards the end of the day the whole committee suddenly started singing “We Will Rock You”; it was very spontaneous and was very good fun. After this weird moment we carried on debating and the day came to an end.
We went back to the hotel to get changed for the night ahead. We then went to Montmartre to have a meal then we walked to the Sacré Coeur and had a look around the impressive building. We then took the metro to Notre Dame and another metro to the Eiffel Tower. After making sure that we had seen the majority of the sights, we went back to the hotel.
This was our last day in Paris. We went into the general assembly for our debate on human rights. After a lengthy debate where many Shrewsbury pupils got to speak, we had the closing ceremony. It was the time when we found out who had been given the prestigious Best Delegate awards and those who had got Honourable Mentions. Each chair took the podium and talked about what their committee had debated and then gave Honourable Mentions and Best Delegate awards. When the chair of my committee took the podium, I was not expecting anything as it was my first MUN conference. The chair spoke and I received an honourable mention. I was extremely happy and it was completely unexpected.
The ceremony carried on with a keynote speech from our Secretary General and the organiser. After saying goodbyes and thank yous, we left the UN building and set off back to England. After a long journey and a mad rush on the underground in London in order to cut our journey by two hours, we all arrived back in Shrewsbury having had a wonderful weekend. Our thanks go to Mr Peach for organising and taking us on the trip and to Ms Burge for accompanying us.
Dan Edwards (S LVI) (Human Rights)
Sylvia Yeo (EDH LVI) (Special Conference)
Sasha Arridge (Rb V) (Environment)
Guy Cabral (Ch V) (BEST JUDGE in the ICJ)
Honourable Mentions went to 2 Salopians:
Sonny Koh (Ch V) (ECOFIN)
Charlie Duckworth (O LVI) (Disarmament)
The teams were:
Dan Edwards (Ambassador) - Human Rights panel
Sonny Koh - ECOSOC
Ed Plaut - Disarmament
Jamie Nugent - Political
Sylvia Yeo - Special Conference
Sasha Arridge - Environment
Guy Cabral - ICJ
Theo Simmons - (Ambassador) African Union
Esmé O’Keeffe - Human Rights
Charlie Duckworth - Disarmament
Teddy Briggs - Political
Krem Todorova - Special Conference