MUNPlanet Spotlight Interview

Sailing into MUN Harbour – HAMUN 2015 Special Interview


This article is published as part of MUN Spotlight, a special series dedicated to Model UNs from around the globe. The aim of this series is to introduce MUNs and their organizers to our MUNPlanet audience and beyond. Today we’re taking you to Hamburg, the city that can take you back to the past with it’s architecture and straight to the future with it’s lively night life and clubs. But among that, Hamburg is host to the biggest MUN conference in Germany – HamMUN!
MUNPlanet: Please introduce yourself to our community.


-Hi, my name is Hannah and I am currently studying political science at the University of Hamburg. Having started participating in MUNs back in high school, I am very excited to finally also give back something to the MUN community by being part of the board of HanseMUN and SecGen of this conference! I cannot wait to meet all the lovely chairs and delegates and make this conference unforgettable!

-My name is Malte Christoph Westphal and I am currently doing my Masters in IT-Management and -Consulting at the University of Hamburg. I joined MUN in 2014 and went to my first MUN conference in Israel in July 2014 where I picked up the MUN-fever. Since then I have been at 4 MUN conferences with 3 more already lined up this year.

-My name is Mai and I am currently studying Asian Studies in my 3rd year at the University of Hamburg. Since the very beginning I have been gripped by the MUN-fever and participated in MUN conferences all over Europe. Beside from getting educated on the United Nation work and diplomacy at MUN conferences, you can broaden your horizon by meeting people from all over the world or win a best friend. It is my dearest wish to offer all participants an unforgettable hammunique-experience at this years’ HamMUN. I am very excited to meet all of you!


MUNPlanet: Please tell us in one sentence, what makes your conference a must-visit among the competition in this part of Europe?

 

We think the main keywords describing our conference are diversity, versatility and fun. And what else do you want in a conference? We are very excited about the diversity in nationalities and committees that we will be hosting this year! Combined then with multiple workshops we will be offering, our pre- and post-program or possibility to apply as supporting staff to the organizational team, we also offer a very versatile conference experience. And well fun – no need to explain what we think 😉

MUNPlanet: Tell us more about history of HamMUN, one of the most prestigious MUN conferences in Germany.When the first conference was held and what has changed since then?

The first conference was held fifteen years ago in 2000. But before HanseMUN organized its first own conference, the society already sent delegations to the NMUN in New York since 1995. Back in 2000, the hosts wanted to create a MUN that’s personal, individual, and where everyone feels welcome. They might had little resources but all the more passion and enthusiasm for their job. Over the years HamMUN has grown bigger and become the leading Model United Nations conference in Germany with over 500 participants each year. Of course we have become more professional but the passion and enthusiasm for what we do still stay the same. Furthermore the location where the conference takes place has changed as well: First, HamMUN was located at the Helmut Schmidt University, the academy of the German army. But since a few years the event occurs in the University of Hamburg.

MUNPlanet: Tell us more about the venue of the conference. Also, what are your dress code rules?

Like we told above, the conference takes place in the University of Hamburg. The Intuition was established 1919 but our main building – where this years Opening Ceremony – takes place is even older and named after its donator, the trader a patron Edmund Siemers. Meanwhile, the university includes more buildings and complexes with amusing names like “Philosophenturm” – philosophes tower – or “Pferdestall” – horse stall. Since it’s foundation, the University of Hamburg has become one of the largest colleges in Germany with over 42.000 students. It is located near the city center, the town hall and our lovely Alster.

MUNPlanet: Can you give your inexperienced delegates some advice on preparation process? Where to begin?

Well the best is to always start by getting the lay of the land, so by researching basic facts on your country. In my experience, having a basic understanding of the countries size, demography, history and culture helps create an authentic position on whatever topic will be discussed in the committee. Then move on to research the political situation in the country that will give you a lot of hints on what their standing is within the world community and how much wiggle room they have in their international affairs. The rest will fall into place once you have built this foundation. :)

MUNPlanet: What about this year’s committees? Are you going only with the standard or including some other, more specific ones?

At this year’s HamMUN we decided to expand further away from the UN than last year. We have actually split the conference in UN- and Regional committees. We feature a European Parliament and a Council of the European Union committee that will work together, furthermore we have the African Union and as a first time at HamMUN the League of Arab States. Thereby we hope to offer new challenges and to our delegates. It is also the first time we will feature a simulation of the International Court of Justice,

-after we noticed how popular this idea is among the many law students who do MUN. We also decided to offer a Double Delegation Security Council to encourage delegates in team work. Last but not least HamMUN has for the more advanced delegates a 4-way-Joint-Cabinet-Crisis that not debate a common UN-topic.


MUNPlanet: Tell us more about MUN culture in this part of Germany. How developed MUN traditions are?


Compared to the british MUN circuit, the German MUN circuit is relative small and very decentralised. Because HamMUN has already a long MUN conference tradition, HamMUN is very ambitious to improve the partnership between German MUNs.

MUNPlanet: What makes Hamburg such a popular city in Germany?

Well, first there is the feeling of being able to travel in time – no matter where you are, there is always at least one old building – let it be from the middle age or from the classic time – look at the buildings and you feel like living the life stories from people from other times!

Second, where else is it possible to be at one place and at every other one of the world as well? Let me tell you: in Hamburg! Being an international trading hotspot since the Hanseatic League, traders from Hamburg imported spices from all over all the world -just breath in in the “Speicherstadt” and you’ll get the odour from wherever you wish – let it be chili or curry!

Third, what is it that makes a city unique? Something that makes ourselves feel complete – people have always unconsciously felt torn apart between the yearning to be part of a vital city and the longing to a calm place where you can feel one with nature. Not only does Hamburg have many green areas, but also does the harbour with the countless singing seagulls make you feel close to the sea!

Fourth, the Reeperbahn – one of the world’s most salacious dedicated and dirtiest streets in the world ..

Well, what more can we say ? We love our city and there are a million more reasons to – but instead of writing a novel just let us give you one good advice – You need to experience it to feel it – so give Hamburg a chance and let yourself be charmed by it!


MUNPlanet: One of the first associations we have about Hamburg are its beautiful harbors that we can often see on postcards. Also, compared to Amsterdam and Venice, Hamburg has more bridges. Besides this scenery, what else we should not miss to see while in Hamburg?

 

Since our conference is taking place on the first weekend in December, must-sees are the many Christmas markets scattered around the town! I know, this may not seem like an exclusively Hamburg thing, but going to the Christmas market in front of our beautiful city hall or along the Binnenalster is a really special. And obviously – for all party-goer – the infamous Reeperbahn (or ‘Kiez’ as the locals call it) is an absolute must-see! I personally have seen nothing like it in Germany – maybe even in Europe – and anyone is bound to leave it with a great new story to tell!


MUNPlanet: Being the city of over 100 clubs and music venues, we guess that Hamburg has plenty to give when we talk about night life. Will this be part of the social program? What are your plans?

This year we want to utilize the unique opportunities of Hamburg’s nightlife even better. We have decided to move our Delegates Ball from the town hall to the “Grünspan” one of the oldest and most well known concert venues in Hamburg that is situated right next to the Reeperbahn in the hearth of the nightlife district.


Thank you Hannah, Malte and Mai for devoting your time toMUN Spotlight and telling us more about you and your MUN. MUNPlanet is looking forward to your conference and strongly advises all MUNers to check it out. Good luck on your conference!
Apply for HamMUN HERE

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