CBS’ Superhuman Society – CBS MUN
Even though several US universities have MUN as a subject, where students are prepped for the Model United Nations conference in New York, and despite it being the first time for most for most of the members of CBS’s MUN team to part-take in an MUN like setting, they still managed to bring home an honorable mention (for the fourth year in a row now) AND two awards for outstanding position paper. They may just be the most underrated –superhuman society that CBS has! I met two lovely ladies, Jasmin Stamer (BSC. SOC) and Justyna Bekier (MSc. IBP) who let me know the ins and outs of being a part of the team in New York representing CBS.
For those people who have no idea about MUN, could you explain to us what it’s all about?
JS: I have given this speech so many times recently because no one ever knows what it is. Well, you simulate the United Nations. It is playing the UN, as if you were part the real United Nations. The UN is split up in all these different bodies and committees where they debate specific topics that are under the mandate of this certain organ and so you are given a country to represent the opinions of. We were Tanzania. I was in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Justyna was in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Then you get specific topics on which you then represent your country’s opinion. So Tanzania’s opinion on women’s rights in our case, and then you collaborate with other countries or rather people representing said countries to come to a resolution and together you so you write up a document with several clauses in it.
JB: It’s also important to mention that while most of us were representing Tanzania, we did have two guys from our team who represented Nigeria in the Security Council.
JS: There are very specific ways on how to do that and how to debate and talk but that is basically the fun of it, like tweaking the system, finding ways of making other countries do what you want them to do without anyone realizing that you’ve done so in that way – it’s a lot of fun.
I know it may sound a little nerdy but as soon as you have done it, you get addicted to it. I have done so many and I just can’t get away from it!
JB: For the closing ceremony, we were at the UN Headquarters, sitting in the actual general assembly where real delegates and ambassadors from all over the world sits – it’s a surreal experience!
Are these topics given to you?
JS: Yes it’s given. The organisation that organizes it, National Model UN in this case , they choose chairs and topics , they set the agenda and there are 3 topics in each committee and you can decide which order you want them in. So there is a way of doing that as well
JB: So during the first committee session there will be a vote on which topic you want to take up first, and usually you don’t get to talk about 2 other topics because topics are broad enough and there is no time to discuss them all
JS: It depends though. What Justyna said is for this particular case where we only had four days. Other conferences are longer and your have more time to go through them all.
Does the country get delegated to you as well?
JS: The head delegates set up a list of preferences on the country – here you have to consider what’s realistic, what you can get based on how you performed the previous years and how long you have been attending the MUN conferences – (There is also some seniority benefits).
Tanzania is a pretty good country to represent, because Africa is quite an important player globally and when they (the head delegates) made this list, they wanted to make sure that we don’t just do the European thing and wanted to ensure that we get outside of our normal way of thinking and have to put ourselves into a completely different culture, and potentially debate for a perspective which we ourselves might not agree with, but that way we get a deeper understanding of the cultures in the world around us. That’s why it was an African country that we wanted to do.
Last year they did South Korea, an Asian country and so next year maybe it’s going to be some South American country, who knows.
What were the recruitment and the preparation period like?
JB: For the recruitment process, you send in an application – your CV and letter of motivation, and then the head delegates, who organize the whole trip, pick the most suitable candidates. We were a very diverse group this year – and I think that may have been a big factor in recruiting people– to have people from different study lines across the bachelors and the masters. I don’t think it mattered so much about how much experience you had with MUN, but more so how motivated you were to represent CBS at MUN.
JB: For the preparation – of course there is a long period of preparation beforehand – so it’s not as if you go completely unprepared and talk about another country’s policy. We had been preparing since October, and from then up until the time we left for New York, we had meeting almost every second week , where we would meet with representatives or people who are somehow connected to Tanzania and could tell us more about the culture and the policies.
We went to different seminars, different workshops, and we had a meeting at the Ministry of foreign affairs as well where we skyped with a representative from Denmark in Tanzania. A lot of the time was spent looking at the code of conduct, how to write resolutions, practicing the MUN style of debating etc.
The head delegates, Nima and Sebastian, would coach us, and sometimes they’d bring in external people associated with MUN or Tanzania to help us out.
JS: Other than that, there was a lot of self-preparation as well. Often also just as a committee. A committee is always made up of two people, so a lot of preparation time was spent with your partner.
JB: And that was all just in Denmark. When we were in New York, we had a few days prior to the main MUN conference, where we prepared ourselves for the conference. We visited the Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the guys representing Nigeria visited the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We also visited the Danish Permanent Mission to the UN and the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact has a sub division called PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) and they host the PRME Secretariat.
JS: For some strange reason, not many people at CBS know this but PRME has an office at CBS, and CBS even became PRME champion in 2014, for being one of the best schools at integrating these principals to future managers already at university level!
JB: They are actually the people that organize the CBS Responsibility Day. In my lectures we talk a lot about the UN Global Compact, so it was nice see the place in real life, and we received a really warm welcome from them.
We also met with Mogens Lykketoft, who is now the President of the UN General Assembly. That was very exciting for all of us!
JS: That was so cool, I was sitting there like “OMG this so cool!” When we went into the actual UN building for the closing ceremony, we were joking about how for people associated with the UN, this the mother ship, and Lykketoft is a pretty big deal to the UN – so for us it was a huge deal!
JB: Having these visits beforehand made is much easier to understand the policies that you were representing.
JS: And it also allowed us to ask questions about things that weren’t as easily available on the Internet.
From my understanding, there’s in all four parts to the trip to New York – the actual MUN conference, sightseeing, company visits and the social aspect of it. We’ve been through the first part, let’s talk a little about the other three – perhaps starting with sightseeing.
JB: This year we had a social group, who prior to the trip researched what nice things there are to do in NY. NY is a pretty popular place with lots happening all the time, so it was pretty easy to find interesting places to visit. But I think, correct me if I am wrong, I think we did it individually once we were in NY – so it was basically up to individual preferences what people would do.
JS: I was actually in the social group and it is difficult for us to plan in that way because many of us have been to NY before. Lots of people have friends in NY who they want to see, so it’s hard to create a set schedule for everyone. After the conference however, we scheduled two days where we had nothing planned for us at all, so it was free for people to do what they wanted. By that point we had been living together for about a week in a big house so people knew each other and could be like “Oh what are you doing today? Ok I’ve done that before I don’t want to do that, ” and then to somebody else “What are you guys doing? Oh, I’ll join you guys then”. The great thing was that the response was always “Sure, come with me, no problem whatsoever.”
Personally, I hadn’t been to NY before, so I did all the typical sights like the World Trade Center, Wall Street etc. It was really nice
JB: I have been to NY before and I still did all of those things- it’s so much fun. The two days of nothing in the calendar was perfect, SO needed! The conference was exhausting! By the end of it we were so physically and emotionally drained that it was great to have two days to just relax.
It sounds like so much fun! What were the company visits like?
JB: Okay so we visited a handful of really lovely companies, that were obviously relevant for us, coming from CBS. It was nice to have a range of companies from smaller startups to bigger MNCs. We visited StartApp – an IT company that has a lot of big clients whom they help with mobile advertising and data collection, Boston Consulting Group, BTS – the marketing strategy simulation group, and Danish Cleantech Hub – which is an advisory that works with Dansk Industri and the Danish embassy in NY and are essentially a hub for sustainable solutions and sustainable companies in New York.
JS: It was really lovely to get to see all those companies and how they function on a daily basis. They were incredibly welcoming! I guess it’s easier to organize company visits if you are an organized group and also under some sort of banner, so we go as CBS MUN, so a lot of people, companies were very excited to have us and were open to sharing information with us as well.
How about the social part?
JS: Prior to the trip, our meetings used to be on Thursdays, so we would every now and then go to Nexus afterwards and spend some time socializing there. Once we got to New York, there were a few social events organized by the MUN organizers. This year, we were lucky enough to have all 24 of us living together in a huge house in Brooklyn. The previous years, the CBS MUN teams have lived in hostels. So a lot of the social part for us didn’t have to be planned – we would just lounge around the house together, play charades, watch movies, have breakfast parties etc.
JB: The nice part about living together is that you really get to know the 24 people that you went on this trip with.
JS: We also went to the McGee’s Pub – the pub from the TV Show “How I met your mother”, and on the day we arrived it was Saint Patrick’s Day – so we got to experience the full-blown New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade as well!
JS: The parties organized by the team behind MUN were also a lot of fun. We had a welcome party at the Maple Club in Times Square, and then there was also, right at the end, the Delegates Dance, where all the MUN delegates suit up / doll themselves up and together go to this huge venue together.
It sounds amazing! And finally, are there any last things you’d like to mention?
JS: Yes, we’d really like to thank our sponsors. CBS, Oticon Fonden, Akademikernes A-Kasse and Holmegaard sponsored us. As university students especially, trips like these to New York for an MUN conference are quite expensive, and they can make people iffy about whether to part-take or not, so it’s a huge blessing to have the support from our sponsors.
Still not had enough of CBS MUN? We’ve got good news for you! CBS MUN is currently in the process of evolving into a year-round society.
Stay tuned for more information!!