This autumn, six selected student members of the Milestone Institute’s Model United Nations Society — Laura Bánhidi, Dániel Biró-Markovics, Hanna Bitter, Bianka Bodon, Borbála Kovács, and Samu Marosi — with the wholehearted support of their accompanying Eszter Jókay prepared for and were given the opportunity to attend Europe’s most prestigious MUN conference in Berlin between the 14th and 17th of November.
Each year, the international conference christened BERMUN, whose origins and tradition can be traced back to the 1990s — actually, much further than that of Oxford Global MUN —, addresses a banner headline decidedly relevant to our era, and tackles some of the most immediate issues plaguing the world on both a national and international level. This year’s theme was on “Strengthening Global Cooperation: Navigating Power Politics in a Shifting World Order.” Representing Italy, however, our delegation came face-to-face with an “impossible mission,” thereby speaking up for the interests of a politically increasingly divisive nation. Consequently, not only did we have to prepare on this wide-ranging topic in general terms, but also had to thoroughly research Italy’s policies to be able to represent its stance properly in front of hundreds of other countries’ delegates.
After an adventurous flight and arrival in the German capital city one day prior to the conference, our delegation went sightseeing in the marvellous metropolis. Unfortunately, “Berlin Got Blurry” that day, but this could not at all inhibit us from visiting the most iconic landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag, and the restaurant the previous delegation had suggested. Having prepared in both body and mind that night, we also became ready to debate as well as sharing all our resolutions and operative clauses we had worked at the next days.
The opening ceremony took place at the John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, where the participating delegates were warm-heartedly greeted by the BERMUN Team and could get to know each other. After the long-awaited and inspiring speech of our delegation’s ambassador Laura Bánhidi, some committees even started their lobbying time, and set about working together on their drafts and resolutions. The countries’ clashing policies on the various social, political, and economic issues centred around the main theme first seemed to have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat — but the Milestoners refused to be pushed backwards, and achieved tremendous successes even on their first day by becoming either the main or co-submitters of resolutions.
Every day was given a new colour by the most scenic bus stop we had ever seen; the (biased) chairs who sometimes did not want to put us on the general speaker’s list; the Kenyan delegate in the Environmental Committee; the triggering British accent of the Russians from Westminster School; the Hungarian goulash (or something considered as that) which was the main dish on the third day of the conference; the iconic red bench in the middle of Schönower Park; and last but not least the hilarious, but often too offensive gossip box holding those notepapers with a subject matter not really suitable for public ears.
Be that as it may, we were thrilled to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as well as the fruitful and informative debates, not to mention the last night’s BERMUN Dance where we could finally say goodbye to all those we had made friends with — but only until the next time we meet. At last, we would like to give a huge thank you to Eszter Jókay for organising the trip, and would also include some of the short reviews of my fellow delegates Laura Bánhidi, Hanna Bitter, Bori Kovács, and Bianka Bodon.
BERMUN was really a spectacular experience. Not only were the committee sessions certainly interesting, we got to meet a lot of people from all around the globe, as well. Furthermore, Berlin is a breathtaking place which was delighting to visit and wander through, even though we decided to skip the traditional wurst for trying some of the famous Five Guys hamburgers.
Attending BERMUN was a unique and memorable experience. This year’s conference theme advocated engaging and heated debates among the participants. In my committee (Special Conference), the delegates were disputing over migration, terrorism, and the security of networked infrastructure. I enjoyed not only the conference, but the non-academic activities as well: meeting people from all over the globe, exploring Berlin and trying different cuisines.
This conference was truly a great experience for me. As for my second international conference, I participated in the Economic and Social Council. I had the chance to discuss the issues of poverty and soft power in international diplomacy. We had exciting debates about sustainability, or how to achieve positive sum trade. I think we got quite close in the delegation, we had so much fun, night-long conversations, and explored the city together. BERMUN was very beneficial for my academic advancement, I had an amazing time and made really good friends as well.
This was my first time flying, first time in Germany, and my first time at an MUN conference. As the meeting started and I began meeting new people, I started realising how much Milestone has prepared me for all of this. I did not find BERMUN a challenge as much as I thought I would. Later I discussed with Eszter how special it is that in Milestone, students prepare students. This was evident to me right until this conference. To summarise, it was an amazing experience and memory. Can’t wait for the next one.