Model United Nations - A student's perspective

I am Katy Squires, second year law student who has more bags under her eyes than Tesco's and who, at this point is 90% Macchiato! I am the Queen of All Nighters and for some reason am physically incapable of doing assignments well before the deadline. This is one of the main reasons why the Human Rights module, for me, has been my favourite of the entire course so far.

Model UN 1200x450 - United Nations flag

Essentially the module itself all builds up to the coursework and every lecture and seminar is prep, which is brilliant because when you come to the point of writing your speech, it should be second nature to you. I managed to do it in four and a half hours but if Jon (Professor Jon Yorke, the module tutor) asks, that’s four and a half months.

Human Rights is a module that will challenge, drive and interest you and is one that I highly recommend choosing. The decision to make Human Rights part of my degree was made before I was even accepted into Birmingham City University. My secondary school EPQ, which was part of my university application, was based upon Human Rights in our day-to-day lives and my interest in the subject grew from there.

If you haven’t already heard of the Model United Nations (and if you haven’t, really where have you been?), it has its own hash tag and everything - #BCUMUN18.

It is the formative assessment for the International Human Rights module on the LLB. It comprises of preparing for a Model United Nations Security Council meeting representing your chosen country and presenting your ideas. The assessment itself lasted all day. It starts with your opening speech from the position of your member state, followed by ‘building political alliances’ and using your budding negotiation skills to manipulate other countries to voting with your agenda.

You quickly learn that Russia is the Regina George of the group and determined to do things their way. You might even experience the trauma of them whipping out a ‘Veto’ early on and ruining your own strategic maneuvers. The day ended with the drafting of a UNSC Resolution to resolve the fictional crisis in Ruritania, and whilst it is all fiction and you haven’t actually managed to solve a third world crisis in the same time it takes most politicians to make a cuppa, you definitely leave with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Model UN 880x400 - United Nations flag

The MUN was definitely the most fun I’ve had on the entire course and because of all the brilliant help we get, it was also the most stress-free I’ve been whilst on the course too! As an added bonus to the day there is also the chance to win the coveted ‘Best MUN Speech’ whereby you are gifted with a copy Prof. Jon Yorke’s latest piece of work. I happened to also manage to win this award so, if you’re reading this Theresa May - watch out!

I would definitely recommend IHR as an option next year as it genuinely does broaden the mind - who knew it wasn’t just travel! You will consider issues that you wouldn’t even think relevant and understand how the slightest wrongdoing could be a major violation to your human rights under international law. It is most definitely a subject that will challenge you and make you think about the world we live in and for that I am extremely grateful.

I hope you’re enjoying your course, whatever stage you are at and may your university memories last as long as your student loan repayments.

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