On April 2-11, a joint team of the Ukrainian Catholic University and the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy took part in the world conference National Model United Nations (NMUN), New York (USA). This event has marked the first live participation of Ukrainian universities in the National Model United Nations since its founding in 1927.
This year the conference was attended by more than 3,500 students from more than 100 UN member-states. The Ukrainian team was represented by six UCU-NaUKMA students, coached and accompanied by their Faculty Adviser Dr. Halyna Protsyk (a lecturer at Political Science Department and a Director of UCU International Office) as well as Ms. Larysa Haiduk, a Director of Ukrainian Resource and Development Center at MacEwan University.
NMUN is not just the largest and oldest UN model at the university level in the world, which prepares new citizens of the world, active people who strive for peaceful, multilateral conflict resolution and sustainable human development. Its main hidden value is the formal association with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the use of modeling procedural rules developed in the 1990s in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). In fact, it is a kind of forge of personnel, where the world’s university youth hone their skills in more than 20 UN committees, which best reflect the real procedural framework of the daily diplomatic and administrative work of the UN. Not surprisingly, a large number of NMUN graduates are confidently getting offers for professional internships, and later job offers both among UN administrative staff and among employees of diplomatic missions and permanent missions to the UN. Practical experience and the ability to conduct multilateral diplomatic cooperation through an understanding of clear and realistic UN committee rules and procedures is one of the greatest strengths of the NMUN, which no other academic field on such a global scale can reproduce. Not surprisingly, it opens the door to the real world of multilateral diplomacy for many of its participants. UCU and NaUKMA became the first Ukrainian Universities to launch this tradition and will continue to develop the longstanding partnership between the academic institutions and Ukrainian diplomatic service to raise a new generation of new Ukrainian diplomats to serve with professional excellence in the UN system. Therefore, our first participation in the history of NMUN was vitally important this year.
Halyna Protsyk, a lecturer at the UCU Department of Political Affairs and head of the International Academic Relations Department, talks about the UN National Model and how the first team from Ukraine to the United States was welcomed.
We have been preparing for this event for the last three years 2019-2022. Together with our Canadian Partner, McEwan University, we have launched a joint project Canada-Ukraine NMUN Project to train the NMAN student community in Ukraine. Together with Prof. Chaldeans Mensa and Mrs. Larisa Hayduk we managed to conduct dozens of joint online trainings, several joint online schools, organize a joint online course based on Collaborative online international learning teaching approach, participate in several regional competitions, including NMUN Erfurt (Germany, 2019), and finally launche the first student clubs NMAN in Ukraine. We have made a gigantic effort to best prepare for this debut and to present the first-ever Ukrainian academic community in New York. The last year was especially difficult, as the whole team trained and honed their skills in country research, policy writing, public speaking, compromise, critical thinking, negotiation and multirate diplomacy. By drawing lots, our team had been given the honor to represent a European country, an EU member state – Slovenia. And we have done everything possible to immerse ourselves as much as possible in the political, social and economic life of this country. And I must admit that our joint team did it very well and thoroughly. I was very proud of our students and understood that with such results we will definitely succeed!
And then the war started, which changed everything… We faced tremendous challenges. Our team seemed to lose its integrity and connection with one another. Due to the cancellation of flights, the forced displacement of certain team members to other regions and countries, the constant shelling and bombing of Kyiv, our participation and travel to New York at one time became simply impossible. But giving up everything is not about us, Ukrainians! We understood that to represent a resilient and courageous academic Ukraine at this time on the National Model United Nations is our mission and task. Introducing Ukrainian universities to the world NMUN academic community and witnessing the truth about the brutal Russian invasion of our peaceful state became our new vocation for a moment. Frankly, our physical participation was made possible only by the support of our McEwan partners, who, despite all the circumstances, provided resources and assembled our team in Warsaw, from where we headed via Istanbul to New York.
For more than a week of the world conference, our joint delegation took part in meetings of six UN committees, met with the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN (just before the UN General Assembly has voted for suspending Russia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council), visited UN headquarters in New York , held hundreds of meetings and conversations with delegations from other universities from other countries, with whom they shared evidence of the war in Ukraine. Thanks to the support of the NMUN board, in particular the Executive Director, Mr. Michael Eaton, we held two panel discussions on the war in Ukraine, which was attended by thousands of students and their teachers. One of the key massages we delivered to the world audience was the awareness of the dangerous propaganda activities of the centers of Russian and Eurasian studies in universities around the world and the need to decolonize the Eastern European and Slavic studies from the Russian-centric view of eastern Europe. Our call was also the need to create a new scientific meaning in a manner inclusive of Ukrainian historical, political and socio-economic identity.
Another landmark event at the conference, which we worked fruitfully on, was the ceremonial speech of Ms. Natalia Mudrenko, Adviser to the Permanent Representative Of Ukraine to the United Nations and the first Ukrainian keynote speaker in the history of NMUN. Madam Mudrenko once again raised awareness about Ukraine and encouraged all participants with fresh minds and a driven force of reforms and changes to a better world, to use the session to consider and discuss ways to stop Russia from its abuses against Ukraine, international law, and the UN Charter, to find the possible solutions to ensure the effectiveness of the UN to protect peace and security, and to “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of Third World War!”.
We used every minute of our stay, every corner and every platform to communicate with other participants, to attract their attention, stir their conscience, and call them to concrete actions to help Ukraine rather than remain in silent contemplation.
As a result, we have received significant support and a special award from the NMUN Board, which has not yet been given to any team – gratitude for the significant and visible participation of the Ukrainian delegation.
After 12 hours of daily work and activities, for us it was the highest assessment of our first contribution to the world community of NMUN. After such a phenomenal experience of conducting diplomatic and multilateral negotiations, defending the state interests of Ukraine, applying the UN rules of procedure and their skillful application to build consensus, I can say with confidence that I am very proud of our team! They achieved an unprecedented result in such a difficult time for our country. And our mission to ensure that Ukraine and Ukrainian universities are forever integrated into the world community of NMUN – has been fulfilled 100%! Our team has already received an invitation to participate in the next NMUN regional conference to be held in November 2022 in Kobe (Japan). And we also have big plans ahead – to create a NMUN community in Ukraine, to involve as many Ukrainian universities in this cooperation as we can. And what is the most important, after the successful reconstruction of our state, to hold a regional NMUN in Ukraine, as we previously planned to do it in 2025. According to our Metropolitan Andrei, we wish only great things for our Ukrainian academic community!
Students members of the joint Ukrainian delegation also share their impressions:
General Assembly (Second Committee, Economic and Financial Affairs) – Olha Tolmachova, Head Delegate, 2nd year student of the BA Program in Ethics.Politics.Economics., Ukrainian Catholic University
Initially, my desire to work in the General Assembly 2nd Committee was shaped by my interest in tackling economic issues, which the corona crisis has exacerbated. However, when the full-scale war in Ukraine, caused by the russian federation, started, the Committee’s choice became less critical. Despite having a great honor to take part in a world conference in-person for the first time ever in the history of NMUN , I see my mission in raising awareness about the russian-Ukrainian war on each and every platform.
On April 3rd, the very first day of the Conference, we had a distinguished Open Ceremony, which was not only inspired by Antonio Gutterash’s speech, but also the level of people’s support worldwide is imposing in regards to war in Ukraine. After that, the first Committee session has started in its ordinary flow: roll call, opening speeches and agenda setting. Member States decided to begin with the first topic: Biodiversity and its contribution to Sustainable Development, which was extremely suitable for the country we were representing – Slovenia. During the second day of the NMUN Conference, Slovenia was working hard, especially during informal sessions. It was crucial to create a working group for the further days as well as continue the negotiation process about war in Ukraine. Working group was created in a spirit of cooperation between Germany, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia and many others. The whole group decided to spread into smaller batches to organize the working process in the most effective way. Slovenia was working on the following topics: sustainable practices and information spreading. The thirst day was delivered to the elaboration of the future clauses, based on instructions and adjustments from Dais. On April 6th, some draft resolutions became resolutions, one of which consisted of a clause from Slovenia, connecting to nature-oriented businesses and their contribution to Sustainable Development. The last day was full of events: meeting with the Belgian delegation representing Ukraine, interviews, closing ceremony and even a tour in a UN Headquarter!
It was crucial not to stop talking about the shameful and brutal Russian invasion on every site and every corner. For this purpose a panel discussion was held by Dr. Halyna Protsyk and Dr. Joel Ostrow, also the whole delegation from Ukraine was giving plenty of interviews for Associated Press. Another essential thing was a meeting with Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, who helped us to shape our rhetoric into a more diplomatic way. This trip gave me a great amount of emotions either good or bad, relevant experience to be shared with the future generation and one more stressed how proud I am to be Ukrainian.
With all being said, I am extremely grateful to our Canadian partners: Ukrainian Resource and Development center of MacEwan University, especially Dr. Chaldeans Mensa, Larysa Haiduk. Moreover, it was a great pleasure to have a Dr. Halyna Protsyk as an scientific advisor as well as ‘mentor’ during the whole preparation process
General Assembly (Third Committee, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs) – Oleksandra Mudrak, 2nd year student of BA Program in Law, Ukrainian Catholic University
The first Conference day was entirely devoted to setting the agenda and finding Member States with the closest idea to that one Slovenia has. Even though in the General Assembly Third Committee, Slovenia was primarily interested in working on the right to privacy in the digital age, other delegates voted for deliberating on the issue of inclusive and equal education. Thus, the next day the Committee conducted its ongoing and fruitful work on the first topic, and delegates finally formed working groups with common interests. Slovenia joined Hungary, Slovakia, Morocco, Czech Republic, Spain, France and Brazil to create fundamental approaches to the social and economic inclusion of vulnerable groups and establish dual educational systems to provide lifelong studying opportunities. Slovenia insisted on the importance of carrying on the system of educational financial support and received the full approval of other delegates in this working group. The common paper with consolidated ideas was shared with the Dias.
The third day of intensive Committee work in GA3 was further dedicated to careful editing of working paper returned from the Dias’ check. Slovenia concentrated efforts on improving its proposal of increasing vulnerable groups’ awareness of opportunities to obtain financial assistance in their education through the consolidation of UNESCO’s many educational scholarships into a single, navigable resource; providing an informative campaign conducted by UNESCO and strengthening partnerships with NGOs helping vulnerable groups navigate the application process for the various scholarships offered by UNESCO. After final editing moments, working groups with similar ideas started merging their papers to receive a consolidated and strong draft resolution. The working group, Slovenia was taken an active part, had unique and specific proposals and decided to submit it to the Dias without merging with someone else only making a few grammatical and syntactic corrections for better perception of the work. On the last Conference day, our short but quite saturated Draft Resolution 1/2 was fully supported by the Committee and passed as a Resolution with the majority of votes. The time spent in a company of educated, responsive and passionate people passed so quickly that we did not even feel like taking final photos, embracing and saying thank you to each other for interesting stories, wealthy experiences, and excellent work. These days will remain in memory as those of making new contacts, finding partners and just friends for the whole life.
United Nations Environmental Assembly – Roman Kmyta, 4th year student of BA Program in Ethics.Politics.Economics, Ukrainian Catholic University
The first day of the UNEA committee work concentrated on getting to know other delegates during the formal and informal sessions. Setting the agenda was already a challenge because all the delegates wanted to demonstrate their ability for leadership. Also, we supposed that there would be only a possibility during the conference to consider and work with only one of the two topics before the committee. The topic that was voted for by the majority of delegates was “Implementing a Circular Economy for the Sustainable Development Goals.” It seemed to have been voted for because of the broadness of the issue. Thus, each could offer some subtopic for consideration for a resolution paper.
Starting from the second day, Slovenia in UNEA concentrated on looking for allies and forming working groups. Consequently, two teams seemed to be suitable to implement two main Slovenian priorities. The first was implementing sustainable fashion processes, and the second was green tourism development in the Member States. The following two days were full of jumping from formal to informal sessions, expressing positions, and discussing them. Fortunately, Slovenia’s ideas were indeed exciting and pretty original for the whole committee. The complete informal sessions were full of intense discussions on both Slovenian proposals and, of course, russian full-scale attack on Ukraine. It was a pleasure to hear thoughtful questions and support from the international delegates representing other countries. The committee session ended up adopting both resolutions that Slovenia was working on. Consequently, every proposal that Slovenia made was implemented and even didn’t get amended.
General Assembly 1 (Disarmament and international security) – Larysa Haivoronska, IV year student of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Specialization: Bachelor of International Relations, Social Communications and Regional Studies.
From the first day of the Сonference and the work of the General Assembly First Сommittee, the Republic of Slovenia has taken active steps to establish the most relevant agenda. Between two topics: Improvised Explosive Devices and Nuclear Danger, of course, both topics are a priority, but the second has shown its urgency and the need for concrete action by the Memeber States in the last few weeks. The direct threat of a nuclear attack, and later of the World Nuclear War potentially started by the Russian Federation, was mentioned in the speeches of many nuclear and non-nuclear states. However, unfortunately, the issue of Improvised Explosive Devices seemed to many countries (mostly Latin America and Africa) more realistic and in need of discussion. The Slovenian delegation worked very fruitfully to ensure that the topic of Improvised Explosive Devices also covered the case of Ukraine, the most mined country in the world and one that is at war with a terrorist country – Russia. The Delegation was a sponsor to two powerful Working Papers, which managed to become Resolutions. The quintessence of the desire for a secure future of all sponsoring and signatory countries has resulted in the following key principles of joint work: Definition, Innovation, Prevention, Sharing.
Every day the conference proved its uniqueness and unprecedentedness. Absolutely every delegate demonstrated a high level of professional training and willingness to cooperate. It would be a crime not to highlight the participants’ reaction to the fact that I am a Ukrainian student who came to represent not only Slovenia but also Ukraine to those over 130 countries, who were present in New York. First of all, genuine curiosity and support enveloped me like a blanket, which only stimulated the desire to work productively. However, even in hours / minutes of unspeakable difficulty, the whole team helped to optimize the work so that it would not negatively affect anyone, including me. You definitely feel part of a whole, something more than just an international community. At no point in the conference did the hope that we would meet with this generation in the walls of state and international institutions fade away. The spirit of creating something bigger and more effective filled every delegate and representative of the Member State. I understood for sure that the War in Ukraine is what distinguishes the nature of the perception of countries, but also that unique chance to finally unite and take the chance of global recovery and blessed reconstruction of the globe.
International Organization of Migration – Tkalenko Yevangelina Beatris, IV year student of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, major – International relations
The first day started by the inspired opening ceremony, where all the 2500 delegates from the whole world were applauding our delegation from Ukraine. Later the Committee Session was opened, then the roll call and delegates were pronouncing the opening speeches about the preference and importance of topics. In the IOM committee the topics were following: Migration and Racial Discrimination; Ensuring Access to Preventative Healthcare for Migrant Workers. The agenda of the committee was set up in favor of the second topic. Slovenia had cooperation with such Member States as Ukraine,Hungary, Romania, Belgium, Slovakia, Lithuania, Albania and others. The main focus of the working group was on language barriers, which often become the obstacle for migrants to visit the practitioners for early examination. One of the operative clauses from Slovenia has been the proposal to call upon the Member States along with the cooperation with the WHO and Department of Operation Support to contribute in the update of the “MigApp”, including preventative healthcare definition and translation. Moreover, the Member States proposed to expand the scope of services offered in their MHACs.
The working group was later expanded to the larger group, and the focus became not mostly regional, but international. All the Member States were focusing on the educational and enlightenment programs for the migrant workers to ensure the understanding of the necessity of preventative healthcare methods. The editing and merging of draft resolutions were during the two days, as the accuracy and practicability of every preambulatory and operative clauses are highly important for the efficiency of the final resolution. After hours of editing, the resolution has been adopted by acclamation.
The other important role of our delegation as Ukrainians has been behind the NMUN – sharing the truth and personal experience about the russian-Ukrainian war. Most people were deeply concerned about the full scale invasion and the future of Ukraine. However, at the same time the war has been described by such words as “situation” or “crisis”. To combat these incorrect terms the panel discussion was organized, where Kateryna Bila and Halyna Protsyk in the academic way explained why what is happening in Ukraine is real war, not the situation. After the discussion all the Ukrainian students were approached by the number of international students, asking the question about the current conditions, personal experience and predictions. All our delegation has experienced the huge support of the international academic community.
International Atomic Eenergy Agency – Mariia Panchenko, II year BA student of National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, major – Law
The topics of the committee on atomic energy were related to the artificial intelligence and nuclear situation in Iran. As the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine started I realized nuclear weapons are not the only danger Ukraine is facing now. The chance to get to know the topic more deeply than just overall discussion in the news was significant and timely. Fruitful work on the position paper was important from the academic side as I can contribute to the discussions on nuclear energy, it’s flows and risks in simple language yet preserving clearance and consistency. Our committee was a large one with 5 working papers. The opportunity to work with students all around the world brought me the understanding of the current attitude to the most controversial issues in the world not only from the side of the states we represented, but how the young diplomats perceive it from their own experience and knowledge. I am so happy to feel the academic growth I missed as the war started. This intensive schedule brought me back to hard mental work and pleasant insights. Our resolution on how to return Iran to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has thirty two proposals, each one with strong argumentation and not repeating what was already done. The work was smooth, warm and productive. The world will have less problems if we work so hard.
Moreover, the general atmosphere of support was healing for me. Representing Slovenia was a wonderful experience, but still I am Ukrainian. And my goal was not only to contribute to the work as a delegation in IAEA but to help foreigners discover Ukraine and tell them my own story of war. Therefore, I am incredibly grateful to Dr Chaldeans for the Panel discussion that became only the start of the small talks about war. Being the first in person delegation to the NMUN New York was the responsible and hard mission, but I feel our team did our best to meet and represent Ukraine as an independent state with a high-quality education and willingness to take part in the worldwide decision-making on all the current issues and levels.