When a new conference starts in a place where MUN programs are few or non-existent, it gives us extra pleasure to be able to share their story. Ariel Mota Alves, one of the co-founders of DMUN, originally heard of MUN through OMUN. Two years later and inspired by the MUN learned at UWC Adriatic, Timor-Leste saw its first ever MUN conference. Here is the story!
Two years ago, we got an invitation from a student from UWC South East Asia in Singapore to attend in something called “Online Model United Nations (O-MUN)”. We were completely ‘blanked’ about what MUN was. We tried our best to connect to the internet and follow the instructions from one of the O-MUN personnel. As it turned out it did not work very well for us, as it was hard to understand and because internet was extremely poor and expensive at that time.
A year later I got a scholarship to study at the United World College (UWC) affiliation in Italy (UWC Adriatic). I joined the MUN club then, as my creative activity of the college. I then knew for the first time what MUN really was and how it worked. One night, in a random conversation with one of my best colleague in Dili Timor-Leste, Rose, we decided to come with this idea to organise the first ever Model UN conference in our country, designated Dili Model UN (DMUN). Two days later, I sent a proposal asking for grant from the United States Embassy in Dili. They positively responded that they would like to help us. It was a “YAYY!” time for us.
I swear it was all started from very very scratch and we almost gave up in the beginning. The preparation was absolutely short and most of the people doubted this would happen. But it did in the end. Since we failed to engage in O-MUN, we then decided bring a real MUN to Timor-Leste. We had three training sessions with delegates, distributing study guides, helping them write positions papers, and on 17th-19th July, we had our very first Dili Model UN in the country, brought to Dili by Timor-Leste Youth for Peace (TLYfP) in collaboration with Timorese students at the United World Colleges around the world.
Our theme for this pioneer Model UN conference in Dili was “Creating a sustainable peaceful society, through alliance of civilizations and international cooperation in sectors of security, justice and equality. We had five committees: UN Security council, UN Woman, UN Human Rights council, UN Development Program and UN Environment Program. 78 delegates were selected through filling an application form provided by organising team. Some of the most important people in the country were presented for the opening speech such as Mr. Ramos Horta, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Timor-Leste as well as UN representative to Timor-Leste.
Three days discussion went superbly going well and we even did not expect the amazing turn out. The participants were well-prepared and and fully engaged in discussions, representing countries to the UN and regardless from their opinions, and learn how to write resolutions. We closed the conference with a General-Assembly on Sustainable development and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We have gotten so many positive comments for this event from participants, guests and observer members.