The Ermitage MUN group of 15 OIB and IB students left Paris for Haarlem on Thursday 10th April. Our first stop was Amsterdam. As we stepped out of the station after a short train journey, we discovered a beautiful and sunny city where cars had been replaced by ruthless Dutch cyclists ready to take down any clueless tourists who got in their way. After quickly scuttling out of their way, we were quickly debriefed by our new parents for the trip, Mr. Hager and Mr. Wall and and were let loose into this new exotic city in the quest of food. As we split off into small groups, we were given the opportunity to discover the Tuschinski cinema (an historic art-deco monument) and the Canal Belt as we devoured our lunch.
We soon all met up again and headed for the newly reopened RijksMuseum where we admired masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and many more. Unfortunately, we were not able to stay any longer in Amsterdam as the host school, Stedelijk Gymnasium, was awaiting our arrival in Haarlem. Subsequently, we jumped back on the train and headed for our final destination.
As we arrived at the school, we were warmly greeted by the organisers of the MUN conference and our lovely host families. We soon dispersed into our designated families, bubbling with excitement for the conference that lay ahead.
The next day, at the Stedelijk Gymnasium, the Ermitage MUN group met up once again. Dressed in our smartest outfits, we were ready to save the world from chaos and crisis. We all went into our different committees, prepared and ready to take action as the voices of tomorrow. Our subjects varied greatly from establishing an international policy on euthanasia to tax evasion or even the 65th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
With 550 students participating in the conference from over 16 different countries, the debating is not the only instructive part of the trip; we were able to mix with people from completely different cultures, who shared the same interest in the world around us. The debates were made even more interesting as keynote speakers intervened on the second day of the conference to give us additional information on the individual subjects as well as answering all of our questions.
By the last day, each committee had written up extremely constructive resolutions. The General Assembly gathered all the GAs to look thoroughly through the resolutions that had passed whilst the rest of the conference found solutions for the made up crisis which was tearing down peace between countries.
All in all, the conference was a resounding success and every student on the MUN Ermitage trip was
devastated to have to leave the beautiful country that is the Netherlands after only 4 days. Even though there may have been a few blips with the temporary loss of a passport (oops!), we all learnt something from this trip and can’t wait to go back next year.
From the 17th to the 19th of March, a group of IB and OIB students from Ermitage attended the Honoré de Balzac MUN conference for its second edition, with students from other schools in the Paris region but also from the south of France and Morocco. The conference took place at the Conseil Régional d’Ile de France.
The first day started off with the opening ceremony, during which we heard interesting speeches from the Secretary General and the school’s headmaster, as well as Jean Audouze, president of the French national commission for UNESCO. On the second day we all filtered off into our separate committees, ranging from Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) to the Security Council to the Special Conference. The 16 OIB and IB students from Ermitage were representing the countries of Germany, Chile and Lithuania. Over the course of the morning, the different committees worked hard at lobbying, to create the best possible resolutions that would later be debated. These resolutions made way for a fruitful and lively debate on subjects such as human cloning and cyber-terrorism, resulting in multiple clauses and resolutions being voted and passed over the two days of debating. It was at the end of the second day of debating that the committees went into plenary session and were faced with a crisis situation. During this crisis, delegates were given one hour to group together, form alliances and create clauses to deal with the problem at hand, in this case a made-up scenario in which Russia had invaded a country thus causing China to declare war. This challenge really brought out the best in all delegates, calling upon their leadership and teamwork skills in order to find a solution under pressure.
The conference then came to its end after the closing ceremony, all of us sad to be leaving such an enriching and enjoyable conference. It truly was a great experience, enabling us not to meet new people and make new friendships as well as strengthen the ones made last year, but also to come together and engage in enriching debates about subjects that we are faced with in our lives today. It also allowed us to enjoy wonderful lunches at the Unesco building in Paris.
The HDBMUN took place in the Conseil Régional d'île de France. This was the first MUN conference organized by the Lycée Honoré de Balzac as well as being the first multilingual conference ever.
The first morning on Wednesday, 10th of April, we had the opening ceremony which included guest speakers ranging from French politicians such as Jack Lang to Balzac's headmaster M. J-Luc Garcia. After they spoke we had the opportunity to ask them a few questions to which they would answer in front of everyone. After the opening ceremony, we jumped right into our committees. The first day we were only able to spend 3 hours in our committees and ultimately had to get to a resolution written as quickly as possible. The second day we had only 5 hours of debate time before having to deal with the 'crisis', a unique part of all Model UN conferences.
The crisis that we were faced with at HDBMUN was that North Korea had launched a missile armed with a nuclear warhead headed straight for Washington D.C. We were all gathered in the Conseil Régional d'île de France to initiate the best course of action possible. The debate included lively disputes between several countries concerning what was the best course of action.. After having solved the crisis there was a closing ceremony which involved other guest speakers as well as the students who organized the conference.
After the conference, we had a couple of hours free to go home and change before going back out to a student-organized party at a Parisian bar.
What really struck me at HDBMUN was the student involvement throughout the entire conference. An enormous body of students from Balzac gathered for this event, ranging from the 11 year old kids in the opening ceremony to the 12th graders who chaired the debates. The multilingual students from Balzac were interpreters for us during the entire conference and the most impressive thing at HDBMUN was that we were able to hold debates in Arabic, Spanish, English AND French!
For the conference in Holland, we first arrived in Amsterdam Centraal Train Station at around mid-day. We were able to roam around the city for several hours stopping in coffeehouses, canals and the Amsterdam Museum. In the Amsterdam Museum we experienced the history of the dutch merchant city from 1538 until the late 20th century.
Soon after, we hurried to the Train Station once went off the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Haarlem. After we got there, we were given everything we would need for the conference: a folder containing the research information about our debate topics, our name tags and finally our host families.
In our host families, we were able to witness the dutch style of living. Every morning we would have dutch delicacies such as Poffertjes or Stroopwafel.
During the MUN debates, although we were with people who had been doing MUN for several years, we were initiated relatively fast. The debates lasted 3 days and concluded in award ceremonies and a party in a nearby club.
The most impressive thing about the HMUN conference was that it was all student-run. Every aspect: from the engraved leather folders to the host families- we could see the trace of dedicated students.