The esteemed delegates of Cedo Nulli
On 26 February the final rehearsal simulation of the Cedo Nulli delegation for the National Model United Nations took place. From 24 until 28 March these students will represent Erasmus University.
The first one to walk into the room is the representative of Iraq, followed by the other delegates from the fourteen participating United Nations member states. When all are seated behind their country sign board the roll call starts. All representatives, dressed in suit and tie, raise their signs one by one, stating their attendance. The chair continues: ‘All who wish to be on the speakers list, please raise your placards now’. Singapore manages to be first and gets the stage.
“Honourable chair, esteemed delegates. Some say, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Our delegation believes that a distinction can be made between freedom fighters and terrorists. The former target military and the latter target civilians. It is essential to combat those terrorists, including non-state actors using chemical weapons.”
While Singapore continues its argumentations, you can feel that the ‘game is on’. All delegates listen closely to the others’ claims and prepare for their own statements and the unmoderated negotiations afterwards. A decision on the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons is going to be made today. Not by the actual United Nations, but by these fourteen students, in a classroom in the Mandeville Building.
"You may have to plea for a standpoint that is not your own. That makes it extra interesting."
Learn to present a different point of view
From 24 until 28 March, this delegation of students will represent Erasmus University Rotterdam at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) in New York: a 5-day conference in which students from all over the world negotiate in the same manner as the United Nations. Since 2008, study association Cedo Nulli annually organises a project for students from the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences in which they are prepared for their participation in the NMUN on a very professional level.
Although it is a fictional UN, the format as well as the topics under discussion are very realistic. This year, the Erasmus students are representing Singapore. Cedo Nulli board member Juanita explains: “Every year we try to go for a member state whose norms and values are quite different than ours. Singapore is relatively Western, but it might happen that you need to argue for something that is not your own opinion, which makes it extra interesting.”
An exciting trip to New York
Taking such a different perspective can be quite challenging, but the final simulation on the topic of chemical weapons shows that the students are well prepared. Throughout the academic year, the students have practiced every Tuesday evening, under the guidance of their two trainers and former delegates Joeri and Lorena. On those Tuesday evenings, the students practice during simulations as described previously, but also by trainings. Besides that, they work on team bonding and partake in workshops by guest speakers of for instance the Clingendael Institute or Horus Debate Training.
Coach Joeri was a delegate himself last year and decided to contribute and stay within the organisation as a trainer, to be able to give others this experience as well. “The NMUN is a great learning opportunity for students who are interested in international collaboration and diplomacy, as well as for those who want improve their public speaking skills. But, probably the most important thing is that you become really close with this small group of people after all these months and close it off with an, well... exhausting, but really awesome trip to New York!”