Stories from Stockholm

Our delegation took part in SMUN in Stockholm 10th till 13th of November.
Read on about their experiences there!

Anna Vorobtsova

Okay, here are some flashbacks from my very first, but hopefully not last MUN conference, which appeared to be the Stockholm Model United Nations 2016. If I had to put it in several words, I would describe it as an interesting, busy, challenging, tiring, productive and exciting time. It flew by so quickly!  

I got a place in the UN office on Drugs and Crime and was honored to represent The Kingdom of Netherlands. We were supposed to discuss the following topics: decriminalization and trade of psychoactive substances and rebalancing the global opioid trade. I didn’t know much about what to expect, especially, when I didn’t apply for this committee and I got basically no background in drug related issues that we were dealing with. So without some decent research it would be quite hard to keep up, especially while being a newbie. Nevertheless was doing my best and with the help of my co-delegate and other delegates we managed to adopt a resolution on the matter.

The debates were rather intensive and we ended up drafting two resolutions which were different when it comes to the key point of the decriminalization of a certain types of drugs. So basically the consensus wasn’t reached. Nevertheless one of the resolutions was adopted. All in all I got to know a lot of amazing people from all over the world, experienced the Stockholm nightlife and the first snow this year. I fell in love with the city! I’m glad that my very first time in Stockholm happened to be so valuable and I’m sure it will stay one of the most memorable times of my student life! It was an amazing experience! I will for sure put effort to make it happen again! 

Henri Iso-Koivisto

This was an amazing event full of skillful, adaptable people and a very growing experience for me! I had to do it alone for the most part because my partner was missing in action after Friday, the day we set up the motions, and it didn’t help that my country of representation was People’s Republic of China in the Security Council. Even in this scenario, instead of letting that slow me down I fought tirelessly for China’s benefit in the discussion about the arctic and, funnily, at times it was me versus the world. By the end of Saturday, regardless of enmities within the council, people began to innovate and create compromises. This was a sign of breakthrough. The United States of America, with the excuse of going to have Donald Trump as its future policy-maker, agreed eventually and proposed a China-supporting amendment to tag along with an arctic free zone amendment. The day would’ve been perfect if only France had not proposed an amendment about arctic tribal people’s rights without any kind of informal preparation prior to the vote, which would have been necessary in order to pass that and consequently another amendment as well. Fellow delegates congratulated me on my efforts later on Saturday, even though hours earlier people were pointing their gaze at me and the tension was clear. The next day, Sunday, I showed the good cop part of myself as People’s Republic of China no longer was the adversary of the council but the United States of America. Sunday went smoothly for the most part and we found mutual deals. Stockholm Model United Nations simulated the actual council negotiations in an authentic way – I made new friends and reckon this won’t end up as my last entry!

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FinMUN´s delegation to Oxford

At OxIMUN 2015

The exciting weekend in Oxford was held between the 13th and the 15th November 2015. I was very much looking forward going to this legendary MUN.

The day started on Friday, when we started with our first topic. I was in the committee UN-Women. The topic was “Harmonizing the labour market in developing countries”. I very much looked forward to the debate on this topic and was prepared to represent the republic of Philippines in the committee. The debate for us took place in Wadham college.

The debate started with defining the topic – the first session was much about debating over education and how it can be used to help minimise the gender gap. Philippines has done very good job with reducing the gender gap and women and men have quite a good equality but still there is work to be done. The day ended with a really nice delegate reception at the popular Ashmoleum Museum.

The second day was really taugh, we would have 8 hours of debate in front of us. Philippines started the day aleady 8.15 by taking part in an unofficial negotiation with China and few other countries. The draft resolution started to be formed right there. The day included debate over working conditions, going back to education and taking into account the opinions of countries with more traditional views on the topic. Philippines highlighted that we need to keep in mind how to support women workers in rural areas, we hoped there would have been even more debate on this special issue especially. That night we rushed to change our clothing and went to have a really nice three-course-meal at the dining halls of the Exeter college. The dining room does look like the one in Harry Potter movies and paintings of old college students hang on the walls. The night ended with a club night.

The third and final day started with making the final resolution. There had been two draft resolutions, one was sponsored by Philippines. We managed to get a few important points to the resolution we sponsored, conserning especially how men can be educated about childcare and household duties and thus being able to lessen the burden women have taking care of  both work duties and duties at home.

The final resolution was a negotiation and a mixture of the two drafts. The final document passed voting and Philippines was a signatory for this resolution. A few very good amendments were passed to this resolution.

As we had still a few hours to go, our chairs  informed us that instead of going to the second topic, we would do an emergency case-scenario debate. This was hilarious as the countries were able to send notes to the chairs and constuct “a newsflash” where new events would occur all the time. At the end, the committee managed to find a solution on the matter. The final day ended with a coctail night with OxIMUN staff.

All in all I had a great time at Oxford. The MUN was international, broad and educating. The town is really beautiful, and the Oxford colleges are indeed exactly as beautiful as you would imagine. I would like to thank FinMUN for sponsoring our great delegation of four and OxIMUN-team for their wonderful work for this MUN. I definetely recommend this to everyone and just wish I could do it again!

By Pauliina Mattila

The Delegates’ Impressions on the FINMUN Simulations

Interview by Iuliana-Raluca Luca

What is your background on MUNs? What made you choose FINMUN?

Areeb Arshad, OSCE Kazakhstan
Areeb Arshad, OSCE Kazakhstan

Petya Hristova (Delegate for the Russian Federation, OSCE): I have previously participated in two big conferences. I took part in the National Model United Nations Conference B from 13th to 17th April 2014 in New York as a member of the Freie Universität Berlin Delegation and then, as a part of the FinMUN delegation, I represented the United Kingdom in the Security Council within the Tallinn MUN, 20-23 November 2014.

Juliane Jokinen (Delegate for the United Kingdom, UN Security Council): I participated in the Tallinn Model United Nations 2011, as a delegate in the UNSC. The following year I was organizing the Tallinn Model United Nations 2012. Sonja Huttunen, the President of FinMUN, and I wish to establish a cooperation between the two organizations, the TallinnMUN and the FinMUN. I met her during a TallinnMUN, where she was part of a 13-member FinMUN delegation.

Areeb Arshad (Delegate for Kazakhstan, OSCE): I’ve been participating in MUNs for the past 4-5 years. FinMUN is a unique way to experience MUN.

Susanna Kaavi (Delegate for Georgia, OSCE): It’s the first time I participate in MUN. I chose it because it sounded interesting and, besides this, it was here, in Helsinki.

How did you feel giving your first speech at the FINMUN debates?

Petya: I was excited, enjoying to hold on to the expectations according to the regional, geo-political scene.

Juliane: I was very nervous, as there have been 2 years since I last were a delegate. By now I’ve been a chair during the MUNs I took part in and I find it more difficult to be a delegate, since you have to get more involved.

Areeb: I was excited, confident, but at the same time confused, because I didn’t know what to expect.

Susanna: My first speech at FinMUN was the opening speech and I had it written beforehand, so it was ok, but the free ones made me pretty nervous.

What did you find most difficult during the simulations?

Juliane Jokinen, UNSC UK
Juliane Jokinen, UNSC UK

Petya: Getting people to listen and convincing them. You can play a role, but convincing people remains the most difficult.

Juliane: When I got personally attacked by Venezuela while I was representing the UK. Venezuela had made serious criticism regarding the UK politics and how it behaved in Cyprus.

Areeb: Understanding conversations which included Finnish references during the informal debates.

Susanna: Most difficult was being quick enough to speak when I have something to say.

What were the happenings during FINMUN2015 you found most interesting?

Petya: I think most interesting was the active attempt to solve something and seeing people getting into the problems.

Juliane: When Jordan was trying to play with a very strong delegate, France, to see how far the conversation gets. It was entertaining and showed that when you are playing a role you should not take things personal.

Areeb: The quarks and eccentricity of the chairs.

Susanna: When we finally started the drafting of the resolution, getting from the more general to specific issues.

How did you feel defending the interests of the state you’re representing?

Juliane: I tried my best. I was a little disappointed when my answers were drowned by Venezuela.

Areeb: A whirlpool of ideologies, flashes, attacks, euphemisms and negotiations.

Susanna: I got really into the character and whenever somebody said something against Georgia’s interests, I thoroughly wanted to defend them.

What was your overall impression on FINMUN2015?

Petya: Apart from developing skills, FINMUN is a great social event.

Juliane: It was awesome, fabulous, and I hope it won’t end! I wish to continue the cooperation with FinMUN. What I particularly liked was the visit to the British Embassy in Helsinki and having the discussions with the professionals there. It was really great they were relaxed and cared about young people and that they were interested in MUN.

Areeb: The organizing team is very self-moderated and the dedication shows in the overall demands.

Susanna: It was really great! I had many positive surprises and I liked the socials and the people.

OSCE in the Serbian Embassy

Yesterday the OSCE Committee had the chance to visit the Serbian embassy. It is located in an area of Helsinki unfamiliar for most tourists. The embassy building was by the sea side and it had a bright main hall with big windows. The embassy staff greeted us with great hospitality and gave us a warm welcome.

The Ambassador Slavko Kruljevic talked to the Committee about the role of Serbia in the OSCE and their goals and plans as a nation for the upcoming year. It was a great chance to ask some questions about Serbia’s relations with other countries and about its present role here in Finland. The Ambassador shared some personal stories and gave us great insights to many interesting topics.

The Committee had a great time and really enjoyed chatting with the Ambassador in person. As a memory, we took a wonderful group photo.

Group photo.
Group photo.

A visit to the British Embassy!

Yesterday, The Security Council got to have a peak at the life in the British Embassy. As the OSCE simulators went to the Embassy of Serbia, SC together with some organizers and our Secretary General Sonja had the opportunity to meet some of the staff representing UK in Finland.

The British Embassy is located in Kaivopuisto in southern Helsinki on the same street with many other states’ representative offices. It is a beautiful old pink building with classical interiors and spacious and bright rooms with a sea view.

We were given a warm welcome by Liz Boyle, the Deputy Head of Mission and other members of the embassy staff. Andrew Wells, the Head of the Political and Press team kept up a very lively discussion with the delegates from a whole range of issues. Communication Manager Reetta Purontakanen asked questions about the press team’s work and told that her own job is very versatile as she is the only person in charge of communication in the Embassy.

The facial expressions after the visit!
The facial expressions after the visit!

 

 

 

FINMUN2015 visited the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Yesterday FINMUN2015 had the opportunity to visit the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs of Finland. We heard four different experts telling us about Finland’s foreign policy and their own work.

In it’s foreign policy, Finland has strongly emphasized three key themes: the arms treaty that came into force on Christmas Eve 2014; gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights; and mediation and peacekeeping.

When talked about the changing atmosphere of international relations, Katja Kalamäki from the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that it goes in cycles: at times it is easier to make progress and after a certain period the spirit changes, and finding common views becomes more difficult.

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Lauratuulia Lehtinen

In its strong emphasis on mediation Finland underlines the role of rule of law and gender equality. Without these aspects, peace endeavors cannot be successful, said Lauratuulia Lehtinen from the Unit for UN and General Global Affairs.

The delegates had plenty of questions for all of the speakers. The second half of the programme dealt with security issues as Antti Vänskä from the Unit for Security and Crisis Management presented a review on Finland’s security cooperation. Especially Nato issue raised a lot of questions among the audience as discussion about joining is currently under a debate in Finland.

Toni Sandell from the same unit  presented OSCE and the case Ukraine. OSCE has been very quick to react to the situation in Ukraine which makes the organization unique. It has been able to get it’s personnel to monitor the border in hours whereas from the UN it would have taken up to six months.

FINMUN2015 thanks the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a interesting visit! Today’s second simulation session is now underway and in the evening we have the special tram ride Spårakoff, looking forward to that!

FINMUN2015 has kicked off!

The 10th Finnish Model UN Conference started yesterday Wednesday! The Opening ceremony was held in Eurooppasali (Europe Hall, if you like) in the center of Helsinki.

In the Opening Ceremony, we heard interesting insights from Nina Suomalainen. Suomalainen has extensive experience from various international tasks in UNDP and OSCE and has currently a permanent position in the Finn Church Aid, the largest development NGO in Finland.  Suomalainen told that a great deal of diplomatic influencing happens off-the-record, outside the official negotiations. Not everything can be said publicly as that might harm a country’s position in the international stage. This makes interpersonal relationships very important. Suomalainen is a great example of an internationally successful woman. She told that working with other people to build society is her key interest and that business life never really interested her.

Joel Linnanmäki
UN Youth Delegate Joel Linnanmäki

Joel Linnainmäki, Finland’s UN Youth Delagate told us how the Youth Delegate institution is still very concentrated in Europe and that it should be expanded to other continents as well. He also made substantial points why all young people should be interested in the Post-2015 Agenda. Linnainmäki noted that besides deciding the actual goals, the way of achieving the goals is an important question. Views on this matter vary greatly among states.

Sonja Huttunen, the president of FinMun, also gave her

Secretary General Sonja Huttunen
Secretary General Sonja Huttunen

opening ceremony speech in the event. Sonja told about how she got involved in MUNs during her studies in the UK and that doing MUN can be very addicting! She also read aloud the letter sent to us by Sauli Niinistö, the President of the Republic of Finland, wishing us an interesting conference.

FINMUN2015 week’s first evening event Diplomats’ Reception was also quite a success. The delegates, FinMun Board and the organizing and press teams gathered to Mannerheim-hall in the New Student House. Participants seemed to have a lot to talk about with each other even though most faces weren’t yet familiar. All in all, the atmosphere was very relaxed and fun. Even Pekka Haavisto, a green MP, presidential candidate in 2012 and a long-term mediator in the UN popped by to chat with the young future diplomats!

FINMUN2015 continues today as the second session is already underway. Keep posted for bits of today’s visits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of UK! And don’t forget about the Sauna Diplomacy in the evening!

PS. Go see a photo gallery by Daniela Velasco of the first day in Facebook!