It is Saturday, 10 a.m., and the formal meeting starts with the roll call. Students of the University of Tübingen, dressed up in professional business attire, represent the UN delegations. The chair (Bettina Ahrens) and rapporteurs (Lidija Beganović and Malena Halmer) guide the delegates through formal session. It is all just a simulation, yet everyone is determined to achieve the best outcome for his or her represented country.
During this first simulation, we as student delegates discovered that international diplomacy requires a lot of time. For example, it took us surprisingly long to set the agenda. Eventually, the majority agreed to have the impact of pollution on marine life as our first topic. It turned out we did not have the time to work on religious intolerance and the role of women in peace and security as well.
In the substantive speeches that followed, the delegates promoted their countries´ positions and offered solutions for existing problems. We all knew: If the speakers´ list runs out, the voting procedure will start even if there’s no draft to vote upon. This is why we did all we could to keep the discussion going—not an easy task if you only had a few days to prepare your topics.
This weekend helped us to become aware of quite a few things, including the fact that suspending the meeting does not mean having a break. As soon as we entered into caucus, we gathered with our allies and formed working groups. Once we had agreed on the main topics, we started writing working papers. As we soon figured out, they can hardly be detailed enough. This means revising them over and over again, improving the wording and adding in sub-clauses. After hours of work, it was a relief to have them accepted as draft resolutions.
Finally, we moved into voting procedure. The draft resolutions were amended and voted upon. All resolutions were adopted, the diplomats were happy and “clapping is in order.”
Diplomacy in one sentence: It is hard work, but satisfactory.