08 February 2017
The Hague International Model United Nations
The Hague International Model United Nations, also known more simply as THIMUN, runs annually in The Hague and involves over 4,500 students from hundreds of schools around the world. This year’s main theme was “Borders in a Globalised World”, especially fitting for the current political climate. Sevenoaks School was representing the delegation of Serbia; sixteen Lower Sixth students were spread across a range of committees discussing over 100 global issues including the environment, human rights, disarmament and political conflict. In my committee (General Assembly: Special Political and Decolonisation) we discussed, among other issues, the reunification of Cyprus and the question of Kosovo. Other committees’ topics included: disarmament of weapons in Africa, fighting cyber crime, global consumption patterns, protecting ethnic minorities, managing overpopulation, UN budgetary and finance issues, and many, many more.
Our journey began with an early 6am start at Gatwick Airport, flying into The Hague to visit the conference centre, check into our hotel and to collect our badges, passes and placards. The lobbying process at THIMUN was a new experience for us. When entering your council room you are met by over a hundred other people, some of whom have the same views as you, others, not so much. Your goal is to submit a resolution with enough approval signatures from other delegations to be debated in your committee. The rest of the conference involved debating the submitted resolutions; each debate lasted 80 minutes and included speeches for and against, with some delegates suggesting amendments to the resolution to help it pass. Six of our delegates were chosen as Main Submitters of their resolutions, with four of those resolutions passing in their committees.
Outside the conference hall, we also found time for a visit to the International Criminal Court, which included sitting in on part of a trial for crimes against humanity, and an evening question and answer session with a Syrian refugee who had made a documentary about his journey across Europe.
The THIMUN conference is truly a unique opportunity. Every single one of us was passionate in our debates and really attempted to push our points across, and we did our best to make each speech at the podium count. We made friends from all around the world, adopted new international perspectives on a huge range of issues, and developed our skills in leadership, negotiation and public speaking. MUN is not just about debating, it is about creating future leaders.