With the ceremonial hit of a lamp on a desk (instead of the usual gavel), this year’s Sussex Model UN conference came to a close on March.

Model UN is an activity in which students take on the role of diplomats and simulate how the UN functions. These conferences allow students to discuss relevant and essential topics in a structured debating format, much like the real UN.

Sussex’s conference was online this year, following the trend of other conferences due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a clear change from last year’s in-person conference, which had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

Students from universities across the world gathered to discuss a range of issues centering around the conference’s theme of “redesigning global responsibility.” The discussion spanned from a UN Security council simulation discussing the Myanmar military coup to the disarmament committee debating space’s possible militarisation.

The opening ceremony started the conference with the lead organiser, Júlia Barbosa Moreira Bastos, who talked about how the conference is a great opportunity to “learn from others” as she highlighted the positive experiences she gained from years of Model UN.

George Mullens, a former Sussex Model UN conference organiser from years past, also joined as a guest speaker. Mullens spoke of the issues that face our world, such as increased flooding from climate change. He also discussed the solutions to these problems that the young people of the world will help provide.

The conference featured more than debating. In replacement of the usual formal ball that most in-person Model UN’s feature, Sussex hosted an online social evening; the online social hosted on zoom featured a game of werewolf, an activity similar to the popular video game Among Us.

The closing ceremony finished with the deputy lead organiser Santiago Rodriguez Peña giving a speech about his appreciation of the Model UN community, praising the welcoming environment at Sussex.

During the closing ceremony, awards were given out to the delegates who stood out within the debate.

Peña told the Badger: “for Model UN you ought be brave, you ought to be smart, but above all you ought to be cool.” He added that he hoped those who took part “walked away having gained these skills.”

Picture Credit: Sussex Model United Nations Conference – Sussexmun

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