International Ruhr Model United Nations (RuhrMUN)
University of Duisburg-Essen / Germany
Wednesday, 17th June – Saturday,20th June 2009

The fifth Duisburg-Essen Model United Nations conference continued the ongoing growth process of the past years by increasing the number of participants threefold.
Delegates from 27 nations joined their German colleagues for the second international Model UN conference, hosted in Duisburg.

Thanks to improved cooperation in the framework of the Ruhr Alliance, larger groups of students from the Ruhr University Bochum and Technical University Dortmund could attend the conference compared to previous years.

Building on the successful model of a preparation seminar from the previous conference, delegates from Duisburg,Essen,Bochum and Dortmund could prepare extensively while earning credit points for their study programs.

As per DuEMUN tradition, international delegates were greeted with a special cultural program that presented the Ruhr Area and famous sights in the vicinity. This year a visit to the former capital of Bonn and a trip to Cologne provided the contrast to the industrial charme offered by a tour of Duisburg’s port and a visit to the Gasometer in Oberhausen.

Thanks to the generous patronage of Lord Mayor Adolf Sauerland, a formal reception at Duisburg City Hall could be held along with a lunch break in the new Haniel Saal. Unfortunatly the suprisingly bad weather did not play along and the partially open roof of the former courtyard allowed a flash flood of rain water to threaten the beautiful buffet. Fortunately the food could be salvaged and lunch continued in a room usually reserved for wedding receptions.

The Global Village Party, a cultural bazaar for the participating countries, was a lot more favoured by weather conditions and proved to be the best way for delegates to socialize. Delegates offered small selections of food and beverages from the countries that they were to be representing in the conference as well as from their home countries.

Delegates hailing from countries such as China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan also showcased national dances and songs that turned out to be the most memorable event of the whole party.

The public Opening Ceremony turned out to be much more formal but not less enjoyable. After the usual honours exciting academic presentations prepared the audience mentally for the topics of the coming debate and allowed for an exchange of ideas and perspectives among young scholars.

When the conference could finally begin on Thursday, seating arrangements for the larger committees turned out to be less than ideal as the rooms were not very well suited to accomodate such large groups of people. Still debates quickly developed and the first working papers were drafted in the afternoon.

In the evening, various experts joined the committees to provide more information on the topics they were debating. As past experiences have shown, expert testimonials greatly influence the perspectives of delegates by offering new solutions and helping to re-evaluate old ones.

The next morning saw a new arrangement of seats in the ECOSOC and the General Assembly to improve the conditions for delegates. With two printing areas and decentralized laptop stations,  work on resolutions could pick up more speed. This was evident in the first draft resolutions thst developed during the course of the day.

Debates in the committees progressed very dissimilarly. The Security Council was quite slow to reach agreements on international piracy, whereas the General Assembly and ECOSOC moved quicker than their size would suggest. Still the General Assembly was largely unable to reconcile the many different view points and thus was outpaced by the ECOSOC.

The evening saw two expert presentations, largely unrelated to the conference topics. The first one was an expert panel on “Afghanistan and Pakistan from the Grassroots”, featuring Dr. Jochen Hippler and Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg, renowned experts on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan alongside Aitzaz Rehman Sheikh and Ahmad Sulieman Hedayat, students from both countries.
The participants provided an interesting insight into the mind set of people in the region and put politics and power struggles into a broader context.
At the same time, Albert Ifeanyi Ugochukwu, M.Sc. provided background for development as he outlined his own country’s development to a stable food supply in his lecture titled “Nigeria on the Road to Food Security”.
Both events drew a lot of participants and external guests and helped raise awareness of issues beyond the scope of the Conference.

On Saturday,  debates continued productively, especially the General Assembly, which had briefly been in voting procedure the evening before, and the ECOSOC were quick in drafting resolutions. By afternoon the Security Council had also agreed on a draft resolution when an unforeseen event shook up their debate.

At 3 pm, messengers entered the Security Council to distribute a country briefing to the unsuspecting veto powers. The briefing was top secret and focused on North Korea and it’s military capabilities.
Shortly afterwards, news of an impeding launch of a Taepodong-2 missile reached the council by a call for help from the representative of the Republic of Korea at the General Assembly.

Fed information through intelligence reports for indidivual countries and by public information for all delegations, the Security Council had to face a small crisis on the Korean Peninsula. As it later turned out, the North Korean missile’s guidance system failed and led to extensive damage in the Chinese city of Nanchang. 

The attempts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to hinder the investigations of the Security Council and to erase evidence for its failure by escalating the regional conflict proved to be a strong obstacle for the members of the Security Council. Still, the P5 could avert a war in the region and organize a relief effort for the Chinese victims.

The conference concluded with a light hearted closing ceremony that saw the distribution of awards for outstanding position papers and delegations. Shortly afterwards, a farewell party commenced that, altough disturbed by outside forces during the night, was a resounding success. 
Unfortunately a farewell party ultimately means farewell and thus many new-found friends from different areas of the world had to part, uttering a final promise:

 Let’s meet again in 2010!