Students Launch HEC’s First Diplomacy Week on UN Lines
Almost 200 HEC students are expected for a week of conferences, workshops and debates centered on global geopolitics and international relations. Kicking off on March 5, the inaugural Diplomacy Week is to culminate with a Model United Nations focused on “The Challenges of Development in the 21st century”. MUN is a simulation of UN multilateral bodies designed to introduce students to the world of diplomacy. This first-ever Diplomacy Week is organized by the MUNHEC student association.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”, Benjamin Franklin
MUNHEC was born out of a vision: to promote Model UN in France, where it is still largely unknown. Co-founders Mai Tran and Erwan Garrec were quickly joined by other students who shared their ambition, helping to shape MUNHEC from an idea to an event. And last September, MUNHEC 2017 took place on campus: a two-day conference for more than 150 incoming students, who stepped into the shoes of real UN delegates partaking in sessions of various UN committees.
Since the very beginning, MUNHEC’s goal has been to encourage students to actively think about the world they live in and the challenges societies face, with the conviction that understanding international affairs and the way institutions deal with them is key for future business leaders. The participating students were dispatched into four committees to discuss solutions to the refugee crisis, the third world debt crisis, the role of technological weapons in modern warfare and several other global issues. Adherents to one of HEC’s youngest students club discovered the intensity of UN-simulated negotiations and hard-knuckled diplomacy.
Following the success of this maiden MUNHEC event, captured on video, the association began setting up HEC's biggest-ever students diplomacy and geopolitics event, the Diplomacy Week. From March 5 to 11, HEC students will take part in a week of engaging conferences and debates, workshops and networking events. On March 9, former French Air Force General Jean-Marc Journot will speak on the topic of “Multilateralism: an inevitable decline?” an event designed to launch HEC’s second-ever MUN taking place over the weekend. Some 175 delegates will be divided into five committees to wrangle over some of the world’s most sensitive topics.
MUNs are simulations of United Nations work sessions. Participants are required to act like real UN delegates, with each representing a different country. The delegate has to work to obtain the approval of documents that favor the assigned country and the collective interest, all the while respecting the assigned country’s standpoint. Following the rules of real UN negotiations, delegates are asked to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, to take a standpoint and to whole-heartedly defend it whilst not losing sight of reaching a joint resolution.
The first MUNs, dating back to 1920s, were established to show students the importance of learning peace and cooperation after World War I. Ever since, MUNs have evolved and spread all over the world, with major universities playing a fundamental role in their success. They are seen as the perfect occasion to develop teamwork, negotiation and networking skills, all the while raising awareness on the world’s current affairs.