Not every Model UN conference gets to celebrate a substantial anniversary. That is why reaching a 10 year anniversary it is a very special occasion. Some conferences even reach 20. However, there is only one university conference in Europe to pass 30, which is TEIMUN, a conference in The Hague which is celebrating it’s 31st anniversary this July.
What does it mean, to head a Model UN that is a decade older than the secretariat? We sat down with Maxime and Jonas, to hear about why this is the Model UN to start off the summer.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Maxime: I am Maxime Voorbraak, this year’s Secretary-General of Teimun. I studied Law in Utrecht and am enjoying a gap year. I spend most of this year working as an English teacher and getting a terrible sunburn in Colombia. I love coffee, dancing and special beers.
Jonas: I’m Jonas Fiebrantz, the USG of TEIMUN 2018. I’m a German student of IR at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. Growing up in Vietnam, I was first exposed to MUN in high school. From then on, I’ve been working my way up the hierarchy, enjoying the plentiful diversity of all the MUN world has to offer. Aside from MUN, I enjoy pondering profound theological questions, practicing parkour and the occasional game of chess.
How did you get started with MUN?
Maxime: I got started with MUN when I was sixteen and in high school. I forgot to study for a test and I got asked to fill in for a delegate at a MUN in Haarlem. In order not to have to take the test I didn’t prepare for I joined and I have been in love with MUN ever since.
Jonas: Attending a UN school, the introduction to MUN was as natural as they come. My interest was really sparked after attending the prestigious THIMUN conference in Singapore, where I represented (no joke) a 200-page document in a special council on the topic of the Law of the Sea. I started chairing in my first year at university at GrunnMUN 2016, and kept at it since then.
Tell us a little about the TEIMUN conference?
TEIMUN is a summer conference that takes place in the Hague in July from the 15th to 22nd. It’s unique nature as a 7-day conference is that there is much more time not only for in-depth council sessions but also socials, excursions and other fun activities throughout. These include a Global Village, where participants can show off their traditional clothing, food, and dance moves, and of course the iconic beach barbeque (That’s right, a beach barbeque at an MUN conference! How often to do find that?). Aside from the usual selection of councils, we also facilitate a challenging Historical Crisis Council on the Roman Empire at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. You can find out more on our website, of course.
What makes the TEIMUN structure unique?
TEIMUN is quite unique in its structure, as we have a specialized system wherein we, the Secretariat, handle the staff and content of the conference while the Board of Directors, lead by the talented Sacha Martini, handles logistics, participants, and all the technical details. This structure allows us to specialize in our tasks and excel at every aspect of making a great conference.
After 30 years of conferences, what is the TEIMUN legacy?
Having attended TEIMUN for quite some years, we’ve both come to regard TEIMUN as having a special place in our hearts. That being said, even first-timers agree that there is something truly special in the way TEIMUN seamlessly melds together work and play, formal and fun, in a flavorful blend that has been perfected after years and years of tweaking and honing.
Is it the 7-day long extravaganza of dynamic council sessions, interrupted by a healthy dose of crisis scenarios? Is it the diversity of socials and excursions that have something for everyone? Is it the warmth and inclusiveness of the TEIMUN family? No one really knows how to pin down the ‘secret recipe’ of TEIMUN, but practically everyone agrees that the conference experience is unlike any other, and one you are not prone to forget anytime soon!
What MUN resources contributed to becoming the MUNers you are today?
MUN is a very technical thing, and it can be hard to understand without experiencing it directly. That’s why there’s no better place to learn than by just diving right in! Experience, experience, experience.
Websites like HelpMyMUN are a great way to get familiar with some of the more tricky concepts, perfecting those resolution-writing skills, and finding the balance between assertive and friendly chairing. Even in our position on the Secretariat, we sometimes catch ourselves needing a bit of extra help in properly bringing a conference to life. As sappy as it sounds, being a great MUNer means constantly being open to learn and grow in your skillsets.
What is the one tip you’d give an aspiring MUN beginner?
Maxime: Relax! Most beginners, including myself, get quite nervous. However, if you relax and just try to have a good time with your fellow delegates it will be much easier to speak up and participate in the debates.
Jonas: Don’t get overwhelmed. As a good friend of mine once put it: “MUN is just cosplay for political nerds.” It’s intense, it’s formal and outwardly very serious, but at heart, MUN is all about family and having fun. Our staff at TEIMUN are all extremely friendly and supportive people, always willing to help you out over a drink at socials. Take a leap of faith, come and find out for yourself!
As a delegate, what was your favorite conference, committee and moment?
Maxime: As a delegate, my favorite conference was PIMUN 2016, my favorite committee was the Joint Crisis Committee at HAMMUN 2015 in which I represented a cartel member in the Mexican Drug War. I can’t choose a favorite moment out of all the great moments.
Jonas: I was only ever a delegate at high school level, where my favorite conference was the aforementioned THIMUN Singapore. I did get to play the grim reaper two years ago at TEIMUN though, so that was fun.
As a chair, what was your favorite conference, committee and moment?
Maxime: As a chair my favorite conference was Teimun, otherwise I would probably not have become Secretary-General. My favorite committee was the Security Council at Teimun last year. I have many great memories from last years conference, the worst however was the staff vs. board footballgame. I am not a great player to begin with, but especially not when I am hangover.
Jonas: There comes a moment in any good crisis council when you get so immersed in the action that you lose track of reality and get lost in the (often absurd) consequences of delegate choices. One such moment came for me at OxIMUN 2016, where I was part of the backroom staff for the historic suffragette crisis directed by Daniel Gindis. Working alongside such legends as Hamzah Sheikh, Michelle Kazi, and Afolabi Adekaiyaoja, the crisis was a non-stop maelstrom of creativity and chaos. From love poetry to poisoning to a privately-funded ultra-feminist army, it was an unforgettable experience.
Any final words?
Come join us at Teimun 2018! We promise you will not be disappointed!