Oct 28th, 2016, 05:34 PM

WawMUN 2016

By Elizabeth Nguyen Son
Image credit: Facebook/Faces of Warsaw Model United Nations
The AUP debate club takes Warsaw

Hosting over 400 delegates at their last conference, WawMUN, launched in 2006, is the largest Model United Nations (MUN) conference held in Central and Eastern Europe. MUN "is a popular worldwide initiative that stimulates the agenda of the United Nations and is committed to political education of youth," according to WawMUN's website. The AUP debate club attended the tenth annual WawMUN conference, orchestrated by high school students from the Stefan Batory High School in Warsaw, from the 20 to the 22 October. The topic of the 2016 conference was "European instability," which, given the ongoing issues in Europe, seemed appropriate. 

Image credit: Faces of Warsaw Model United Nations/Facebook

Pictured above are, on the left, Jacqueline Malaret, a judge for the International Court of Justice, and, on the right Polina Shaykina, the delegate of Hungary for the European Council. Shaykina positively describes her experience at WawMUN, saying, "I really enjoyed our trip to Poland. The conference itself was filled with interesting and passionate debate. Students attending were diverse, erudite and passionate for learning."

Image credit: Faces of Warsaw Model United Nations/Facebook

Students of all backgrounds attended the conference—there was even a puppy! Malaret says that her debates were "full of energetic and witty competitors, and there was never a dull moment." WawMUN was an opportunity for students to immerse themselves into Polish culture, all while meeting other students from places such as Belgrade, Munich, and even fellow university students from Sciences Po in France. Needless to say, the AUP delegates were especially excited about the latter.

Seth Jackson, the delegate of Syria for the Historical Security Council, at the Polish Supreme Court. Image credit: Faces of Warsaw Model United Nations/Facebook

The unique aspect of this particular conference was that debates were held at varied venues across Warsaw, such as the Palace of Culture and Science, the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the National Stadium, also known as PGE Narodowy. Malaret confirmed this sentiment, saying "My favorite part of the conference was that it was spread out over Warsaw, so I was able to both compete in the tournament, and see the city. For example, one day I was able to compete inside of the Supreme Court of Poland."

Image credit: Warsaw Model United Nations/Facebook

Most MUNs also host social events for their fellow delegates and chairs, which is included in the conference fee. This year's WawMUN social event was held at a club called XOXO, which is known as one of the best clubs in Warsaw. Despite a handful of participants being under the age of 18, the organizers successfully put together an inclusive event in the center of the city. Those over the age of 18 were allowed one free drink upon entry, followed by especially cheap drinks—Poland is extremely wallet-friendly, particularly when it comes to vodka. It was a fun chance for everyone to let loose and mingle outside of the more formal and tense debate settings.

Image credit: N i c o l a/Flickr

Additionally, the city of Warsaw was the perfect backdrop to the conference. Shaykina adds, "When it comes to living in Warsaw, it was a one-of-a-kind experience. One of the highlights of the capital is its Old Town, with the charm of the small streets, cozy cafes and friendly street artists." Warsaw is the capital of Poland and home to over 1.7 million people. It was severely damaged throughout World War II; despite this, the small city still keeps part of its pre-war architecture in the heavily restored Old Town, which is the oldest part of the capital. TourFound.com accurately depicts how the "widely varied architecture reflects the city's long, turbulent history, from Gothic churches and neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers."

Despite the rain and the cold—it averaged four degrees Celsius—the AUP delegation's overall experience at WawMUN was fun and educational, but most of all, unique. All members of the delegation believed that the event was truly a bonding experience, and a trip to remember. For further information on how to take part in an MUN conference as an independent delegate, further information can be found here.