Among various Models UN conducted in the world the Moscow International Model United Nations (MIMUN) is deservedly considered one of the best and most important of the kind. You could ask: why?
It is nowadays that the MIMUN has 15 years of continuant activity, but long ago, in 1990, it was just an experimental, pioneer Model in our country.
While in the Soviet Union members of some hobby club were making wooden and cardboard models of planes and rockets, the first Model (a role-play conference) ever was held in Harvard in 1953. Such an a conference was scarcely possible in Soviet Russia, and up to the Perestroika it was completely out of question.
It was not the fact that the UN was a Cold war battlefield that caused such an attitude, but the nature of the Model itself: “serious” Soviet organizations considered the Model just a game and nothing more. The Perestroika, however, introduced new views and trends, and the first Soviet full-scale MUN was held in January 1990.
An initiative group of MGIMO and MSU students was established to organize this model. What is more, a grant competition was conducted under the auspices of the Peace Fund. Strict criteria for selection of candidates provided a high-quality and productive game. There were about 300 participants, every fourth of which was a foreigner. All participants were provided with simultaneous English interpretation. That is how the Model movement began in our country, and the beginning seems to be a good one, does not it?
The first Model UN in MGIMO was held in 1999. Participants simulated the work of the Security Council. This conference impressed the delegates so much that it was decided to develop the Model and incorporate it in the University’s life. Specialization in international relations and the coordinators’ enthusiasm appeared to be quite fruitful: next year already 300 delegates took part in the MGIMO-based conference, and every third one was a foreigner. It may seem interesting that after the conference, the “Izvestia” (issue of 11.04.2000) published an article concerning the MGIMO Model UN. However, the article said the Model was nothing but some kind of careless entertainment for students, even though among the participants were people from 30 different cities of Russia, Bulgaria, Finland, and Serbia. The reporter could have been confused by the warm and cordial atmosphere that was preserved even during the most serious game.
It was difficult to believe then that the Model movement in Russia was getting stable and was going to become popular throughout the country. However, since then the MGIMO Model UN has been held regularly. More and more delegates are taking part in it and more UN organs are being simulated every year. Besides, the Model is improving both in terms of organization and its concept.
Step by step the status of the Model was rising. The cooperation with the United Nations Association of Russia had a significant impact on this positive trend. The visits of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the conference in 2004 and the deputy Secretary-General Kijo Akasaki together with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in 2007 proved the international recognition of the MGIMO Model UN.
The Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia, Rector of MGIMO Anatoliy Vasilyevich Torkunov takes part in the official opening ceremony of the Model every year. In different years the opening ceremony was attended by such honoured guests as the Chairman of the Federation Council Sergey Mironov, the Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, a special envoy of the UN Development Program to Russia Frode Mauring and the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yakovenko.
Currently, the Moscow International Model United Nations Secretariat does not only hold an annual conference, but also helps to conduct such activities in other Russian universities and schools. Such cooperation certainly promotes the development of student games and draws the attention of the youth to global problems – that very “last questions” which everyone should answer to in his lifetime.
Nowadays, considering the Model’s history, it is impossible to imagine how unbearable it seemed in the very beginning to organize such great number of people, establish contacts, keep the required pace, cope with unexpected difficulties quickly and effectively… But the most valuable thing is that for more than 15 years the Model coordinators manage to create both the feeling of succession of a big, large-scale work and delight with being engaged in such an event every year. It is also worth mentioning that the Model is going to become even better. Undoubtedly.