What is BERMUN?
This question almost always comes up when you are talking about your experiences you have already made in your life. And probably even you will ask yourself this question.
But what is BERMUN?
BERMUN is fun and effort, dispute and finding new friends, international and intercultural exchange and hard work all at once condensed in four days, which do change your life.
I attended two BERMUN conferences one as delegate the other one as Chair of the Political Committee. All delegations, a group of five to seven students from one school representing a totally different nation from their own (I remember meeting Russians representing the United States and vice versa!) send one of their delegates to one of the subcommittees of the General Assembly – the Environment, the Human Rights, the Disarmament, and the Political Committee. In each of those committees are about 80 students from all over the world each representing a different nation. The Chair presides over his committee and is responsible for a smooth debate about the topic, and fair and legal resolutions as the products of the work done.
Being a Chair at BERMUN was one of the most interesting things I have ever done. It was a lot of work but what I got out of it is worth everything you invested. I got to know so many different people! Students from Turkey, Belarus, or the Russian Federation for example. And because last years topic of the Security Council was the conflict in the Middle East I even met a really nice and very enthusiastic Palestinian! It was simply AWESOME!
Vielleicht noch einmal auf Deutsch:
BERMUN findet jedes Jahr statt. Es ist eine Konferenz auf der Schüler lernen international zu denken, Freunde finden und über Dinge diskutieren können, die normalerweise nur „die Großen“ debattieren.
Letztes Jahr hatte ich die unglaubliche Ehre zum Vorsitzenden eines Komitees ernannt zu werden. Es war fantastisch. Meine Aufgabe bestand darin die Diskussion „meiner“ Delegierten (Schüler aus allen Teilen der Welt, z.B. aus Russland, der Türkei oder den Vereinigten Staaten) zu leiten, sie in die richtige Richtung zu lenken, und dafür zu sorgen, dass das Abschlusspapier rechtlich einwandfrei ist und niemand unfair behandelt wird.
Es war ein wunderbares Erlebnis, das ich nicht missen möchte!
Jens Koschel (Jgst.13)
The Human Rights Committee
Politics? How boring… ! People in suits who think they are important and talk blabla? Well, I need to clear things up. Politics is not only about incomprehensible language and proud peacocks walking around in parliament. It is also about real issues. Plus, it can be approached in a very interesting way. Want to know how?
If you watched the news before or listened well in political science class, you might have heard about the United Nations. The United Nations is an organization where all member countries meet to talk about current international issues, e.g. the Gaza conflict. Several students from our (beloved) school and I have participated in the “Berlin Model United Nations”. We simulated the work of the UN, debated with students from all over the world and gained insight in issues in a new way.
But first of all, let me explain to you the whole procedure: Our group represented a particular country – this year it was the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) – in several committees. The topic was “Rules of Global Welfare”. I was the delegate of the PNA in the Human Rights Committee and we discussed the question of core labour standards and the elimination of child labour.
At the beginning we needed to find countries with similar attitudes and demands in order to write a new resolution to these particular issues. Well, it might sound easy, but it was not. At the beginning it was a big mess. Just imagine about 200 students in fancy suits trying to find their partners in one room? In the end I did find one group (safely) and we handed in a resolution to discuss. It cannot be just easily passed. Every country can make amendments to the resolution – depending on its aims and beliefs. Finally, all delegates of their respective countries either voted in favour, against or obstained from the resolution. I was very happy that I could contribute a lot and that our resolution was one of the two only that were voted “in favour” and passed successfully.
Well, you might wonder… and where is the fun? There was, believe me! We had ‚official cookie breaks‘, you could get to know so many new people from all over the world and discuss and interact on a very new level. In my committee, everyone who was late had to “dance the funky chicken”. There was a delegation of “Very Far Away” which demanded the cooperation of Tinkerbell and Mickey Mouse with the International Labour Organization in order to eliminate child labour (Actually this was the only clause which was voted 100% in favour!). We had a press team, which e.g. voted for the best ties or played tricks on us delegates. And there is so much more to add! But I will let you experience yourself, if you participate in the BERMUN next year.
If you have the desire to debate about current politics with 700 students from 34 countries in an extraordinary atmosphere, experience that politics is fun and eat cookies in fancy clothes meanwhile, join BERMUN next year. I did and enjoyed it. So should you.
Mai Ngoc Nguyen (Jgst. 12)
The Disarmament Committee
From Wednesday, November 18th until Saturday, November 21th 2009 the eighteenth annual Berlin Model United Nations Conference was held at the John F. Kennedy School. Already months before that event the MUN Directors Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Hövermann informed us about the procedure and the year’s theme: Global Ethics: Rules for Global Welfare.
As in 2008, I also participated in the 2009 Conference and was highly excited about it. This was due to my special order for this year: I was the so-called Ambassador of our school’s delegation. Therefore, I had to represent the delegates of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), as this was our country, at the best.
Usually, on the first evening of the BERMUN Conference all Delegates, their Tutors and the Student Officers meet at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin. This is always a smooth beginning where special key note speakers address their thematic speeches to all Member States. Over some coffee – and teacups in the intervals, the students could establish initial contacts. Then we went on with the daily procedure: the Opening Speeches in which every Ambassador of a Member State represented the government’s view on the year’s theme. This was my task and I was very proud and honoured. However, I was even prouder when I finally stated my last sentence without making any mistake!
The next days we would then meet in our special Committee. Mine was the Disarmament Committee in which we debated five resolutions on the topics: Elimination of arms sales to areas of social and political unrest and Reviewing the implementation of the global ban on the use of cluster bombs and landmines with the intent of addressing the human and environmental costs caused by such munitions. Alone the long titles of both issues are evidence of the political significance of the meeting!
Those two days we spend in our Committees were characterized by long-lasting, viscous and unnerving discussions as we had to manage several quite different political positions towards those two issues! Nevertheless, my two Chairmen Soylu from Robert College, Istanbul and Paul von Salisch from the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin knew how to ‘sedate’ us: of course with lots of COOKIE BREAKS! Those sweet intervals are always important to keep the concentration at a high level! Beyond, they are good to intensify private as well as political contacts with other Delegates… .
All in all, this year’s Conference was a success – not just for me but also for our School. We did prove that Johann-Gottfried-Herder School has highly capable students who can represent the positions of mostly unknown countries with implicitness and conviction –and this in English which is not their native language! I, for example, was so much into my role as a Delegate of the PNA that I even wore a kaffiyeh, a Palestinian headdress. =) This had only positive impacts as I was recognized!
As you can learn a lot about your abilities as well as other countries, I can only recommend MUN to you. You will not regret that experience as it is a step towards your future.
Lisa Düsing (Jgst. 13)
The Special Conference
Bermun 2009 – that was a great experience for me and unforgettable 4 days!
We represented the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and this was quite interesting to be in its role. Unbelievable, but we were so many delegations from all over the world.
I was often separated from my group because I was in the Special Conference. Maybe the reason was, that we were so special. Therefore our opening ceremony was not at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung but at the Hertie School of Governance.
We had many debates and discussions about the topic: Combating the threat posed by contagious diseases in a global environment. The contentious debates had often a touch of humour, so it was a pleasure for everyone to be present at BERMUN.
I am sure that I will never forget this time and I recommend this experience to everyone.
Maria Rassa (Jgst. 11)