The sun made a brief but appreciated appearance earlier on Saturday. As we moved into the evening of such a film-like autumn Saturday, delegates from around the planet occupy the lecture halls of the Stockholm School of Economics. Working since the crack of dawn, they began submitting draft resolutions to our headquarters. Gabriel Gabiro, distinguished senior advisor to SMUN and former president of SMUN (2011), described the process as "different councils submit a wide range of draft resolutions. We review them for formatting and structural issues before sending them back to the councils. The level of debate and argument in this year's councils appears to be particularly high. Perhaps due to the fact that this year's topics are very relevant issues in our world today."
BRISK is the air and wide are their smiles as the shutter snaps in front of the Stockholm School of Economics for our group photo. Above, Deputy Secretary General Joel Christoffersson shares a few words with César Gimeno, chair of the European Council.
Interview with Maija Kaartinen from Finland
Interview by John Dowling, III.
Q: Which council are you in and which country are you representing?
A: I am representing Rwanda on the Security Council.
Q: What do you study?
A: I study political science and national economics at the University of Stockholm.
Q: Is this your first model United Nations conference?
A: No. I did SMUN last year and EuroMUN in May.
Q: How much of your studies are you applying to your work here?
A: It depends on the content of the discussion, of course. I've done a module in international relations and that's relevant because it requires you to know the detailed history of the Cold War for instance, as well as the relevant IR theories such as balance of power. I also took a class in comparative politics where we compared different political systems, and that's why I have information on the various political systems in different countries and that certainly helps.
Q: What have you been working on today?
A: Today we've been discussing the case of ISIL in Iraq and Syria and we've been drafting working papers and we just tabled a draft resolution and we've been discussing the possibility of military action in these areas. We have met with representatives from Iraq and Syria and discussed humanitarian aid and the finance of terrorist organizations for instance.
Q: How is it to work with your co-delegate? Have you met them before this conference?
A: Well we did not know each other very well before this but we've certainly become good friends during the conference.
Q: How do you find balancing the social events at night, and still manage to wake up at seven in the morning and do this type of work?
A: Well it can be hard to wake up in the morning but for a few days I think it goes well and I think it's good that it's so intensive because your in the mindset the whole time. And in the social events you meet these people and converse and this helps to reach cooperation in the councils as well.
Q: Is there anything in particular about SMUN that differentiates us from other model UN conferences?
A: I think it's good that the Rules of Procedure are close to that of the real United Nations, and I think that the academic quality of the conference has been very high, and we have very relevant and interesting topics as well.
WITH only two days left of SMUN, delegates continue both formal and informal debates to get the best results for their final resolutions. Coffee breaks and lunches play a large role towards reaching consensus amongst delegates in each council. While greeting delegates in the Atrium of the Stockholm School of Economics, we notice that they are more than polite and are glad to chat, but only briefly. Despite the hours of preparation, sleep deprivation, and jetlag, delegates are adamant about completing draft resolutions before the end of today’s formal negotiations. In the above picture, delegations representing Ukraine, Germany, and others, share opinions and negotiate sponsoring a resolution for the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC).
The smell of coffee dominates the HQ of the host team as we spend the morning preparing for the first session of negotiations. Hannes Tordengren (wearing bowtie) will be this year's Secretary General. Hannes recently received his bachelors degree from the Stockholm School of Economics. Prior to that, he completed a tour of military service in Afghanistan with the Swedish military and worked at the Swedish Embassy in Ukraine.
In this picture, Hannes and César Gimeno-Rodríguez (left of Hannes), head chair of the European Council, run through their Rules of Procedure with the rest of the Scenario team. Hannes and the Scenario team stress the importance of subscribing to their Rules of Procedure and not those of other model UN conferences. "In SMUN we try to work as close to reality as we can", says César who, together with Hannes, worked laboriously for weeks to architect and complete their Rules of Procedure. Emil Stensson, head chair of the Economic and Social Council (center, red tie), commented that "the importance of the ROP being as accurate as possible is crucial in seeing that the proper learning goals are met. Since our purpose is to learn how the UN actually works, we can't take any shortcuts."
The Mingle in the Rotunda
The Host Team and SASSE International Committee welcomes everybody for a great first night at the conference to become more acquainted to people with same and different interests for UN.
“No democracy, no rule of law. That’s the recipe for conflict.”
Hans Correll, his honoured former Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, begins by stressing critics towards UN as a constitution and the Security Council. He is amazed by the hard work that the worlds MUN’s put together and promotes the campaign “Stop Illegitimate vetoes” which is a movement for a functioning UN. The top 5 most powerful countries have taken advantage of their Veto rights through history. He hopes everyone shall read through it and encourages us to send it forward. Link: http://stopillegitimatevetoes.org
Jens Pettersson, the deputy secretary general of the Swedish UN Foundation follows up by giving a word to the Rhohingya munks in Burma and the Congo Wars as a valuable lesson. He hopes that every topic will be a fun challenge for the councils in negotiating peace and responsibility to protect.
Our honoured Secretary General Hannes Tordengren inaugurates the formal ceremony and welcomes all students to participate as delegates in the UN simulation.
Our 4th guestspeaker Anders Lidén served 6 years as a Permanent Swedish representant in the UN between 2004-2010 and is a member in the UNCHF The roll of Security Council has great historical importance to the UN. It’s the strongest organ in the UN where the most powerful countries are gathered to maintain peace. There are certain doubts in this matter, for example why India as the worlds largest democracy with nearly a billion people in population is not a permanent member of the Council. After all his work he’s still not fully convinced yet that all conflicts shall be solved by the UN and the G20 members.
Lidén gives a very New York perspective of the UN: “Meet China in the morning, coffee with Pakistan and late chat with the Americans.”
There were no authorization from the Security Council in the 2003 Iraq War where US committed violation of international law. This affected the trustworthiness of EUs mandate.
There is no further information about the rumour with Reinfeldt becoming the next UN secretary general and when we ask him he shines up and says that it would be an honourable position for Sweden.
Third Guestspeaker. Thomas Sommerer is an expert on state actors in global governance and holds a PhD in political Science from the University of Konstanz. Today he talks about transnational actors in global governance. Many NGOs play an important role at the World Political Arena. Organizations such as the Red Cross have provided humanitarian help in conflicts as well as Greenpeace who fights for a better environment, and ILO against child labour. Most of the work within this field is covered by the Economic and Social Council. Thomas presents charts showing how we as individuals are affected by these stakeholders. Trends show how society is moving from a normalized dimension to become more multilateral in the future. In countries where freedom of press isn’t fundamental there’s a stronger need for change in peoples opinion. In China most of the West is clashing with the East through Business Life and an equal responsibility for keeping stable economic growth and production.
After the NSA scandal in 2013 the world took a sharper check against America and has glorified Edward Snowden as a modern cult figure.
As an observer in the UN the councils have to agree on permitting these actors to participate.
SMUN is opening the doors for 194 delegates from around the world to kick-off opening day. Registration is currently underway and will be followed by our opening ceremony at 19.00. This year will mark the 10th anniversary for SMUN - the largest model UN conference in Scandinavia!
Each year, students from all over the globe studying an array of disciplines flock to Stockholm to take part in SMUN's simulation of a real United Nations conference and aims to emulate the real UN as accurately as possible.
Delegates at this years conference represent schools from around the world including Mannheim University, Sciences Po Paris, Howard Payne University Texas, St. Gallen University, and many more.
We welcome all delegates to the Atrium at the Stockholm School of Economics for registration followed by our opening ceremony at 19.00.
We look forward to meeting all of you this afternoon!
TODAY we will be welcoming Idris Ahmedi and Linda Åhre as quest speakers.
Today Idris Ahmedi speaks about Offshore Balancing as a strategy in warfare to achieve diplomatic goals. He's specialized within American foreign policy towards Iran and Iraq and has a Ph.D from Stockholm University in political Science. After the Second World War the European Union was founded to build up new welfare and commitment for collaboration in order for fascist rules never to occur again.
Idris talks about the background of the war in Iran and Iraq as a following scenario of the Gulf War which had effect on relations to Soviet and USA as the superpowers of the World.
The Oil has had historical impact on warfare and is repeatedly becoming a common denominator for territorial excesses and revolutions. Saddam urged the control of the entire Persian Gulf which pushed the UN and NATO to act. During the 70s when USA took a stand on Israels side in the Yum Kipphur War, the Middle Eastern countries responded with a massive oil embargo against the Western World through OPEC. After nine eleven George Bush claimed an invasion of Iraq to be necessary to strike down a nuclear armament which he used as a purpose to take control over the oil.
Idris gives an exciting explanation of democratic progress which the UN has accomplished based on his own experiences as an academician. The Students who come from different parts of the world show interest by asking critical questions to the Guest speaker. Most discussion is made of the UN’s urge to promote democracy as a shallow argument for a need of control. A very concrete example from an angle of ordinary life is medias role in warfare which is predominately western from newsfeed such as BBC, CNN and Bloomberg. Terrorist organizations like Al Quaida and ISIS have taken advantage of media as their strongest weapon to threaten people.
Our Second Guestspeaker Linda Åhre is an Officer at UNA for peace, security and disarmaments. This evening she talks about Responsibility to Protect from the perspective of homocides. The 90s was a dreadful decade which costed 800000 lives in Rwanda and more than 8000 lives in Srebrenica, Bosnia. The UN failed to solve peaceful resolution. In order for these deeds never to happen again the UNHCR and Human Rights Council made a lot of input on understanding psychological warfare. Amongst them was the process of dehumanization in African countries where children were forced to combat and women were assaulted through rapings. A lot of victims have told their memories which gave the African Union basis for developing Responsibility to Protect.