Delegations from all over the world will be participating in the committees
The Concordia Model United Nations (ConMUN) association is hosting its first conference, with a theme of freedom of expression and tolerance, from March 8 to 10 on campus.
Gabriel Guppy-Garba, secretary general of ConMUN has been planning this conference alongside his team since the 2017-18 academic year under his mandate of vice president of special project. “My early job was actually setting the foundation for the conference that would happen this year,” said Guppy-Garba. “I had to set up a framework for it because Concordia [had] never held one before.”
Model United Nations (MUN), are simulations in which participants, who are called delegates, learn about diplomacy and international relations through a series of committees and debates. Created a few years after the UN, “it was made to give people an understanding about different global affairs through simulation,” said Guppy-Garba.
ConMUN’s first conference includes committees on the duties and rights of journalists, the organization of African unity, freedom of speech and social media, the Yemeni crisis, and social activism within the NFL, among many others. There will also be a committee on the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.
ConMUN has been an active delegation in conferences around the world. The Concordia association has had a 30 year-long run, according to Guppy-Garba. He said what inhibited the association from hosting a conference, like other divisions of MUN, “was the fact that we didn’t have a large basis and the group was fluctuating back and forth.” He added that issues with member participation and funding made organizing a conference more difficult.
Former ConMUN president, Andrei Bochis said this conference is an important milestone for the association and the university. “In the past two years, most of the financial policies that were implemented to save money were meant also for the club to have the resources to, one day, build a conference,” said Bochis in a statement to The Concordian.
Guppy-Garba said delegations from all over the world are coming to the conference, including Italy, Ghana, Dubai, and Latin America. “What’s really interesting is you get to meet a lot of driven people and a lot of people can be very similar to you, but can also be very different.”
Guppy-Garba said that instead of learning in an abstract and formal way, MUN makes it tangible through the simulation. “It simulates different bodies where you get to play one of the different countries, and you get to learn about their foreign policies and where they stand on issues like healthcare, education, culture and security.”
According to Guppy-Garba, ConMUN became one of the top 50 delegations in North America in the 2017-18 Best Delegate rankings. ConMUN delegates have accumulated 56 awards since 2017.
“A lot of people saw that Concordia was a very strong delegation, but that we didn’t have our place, like having our own conference,” Guppy-Garba said, adding that the first conference can be credited to his team. “They really wanted to see everything that we worked on put together into something tangible. And so, when you have a lot of people that are very involved, forming the team became very natural.”
Bochis said “Concordia having their [conference] is a dream come true for most of us that worked hard in the past years to see this club among the top in North America.”
Photo by Mackenzie Lad.