For four days in August, around 200 students and graduates put their diplomatic skills to the test by participating in a United Nations Simulation Conference. Participants from approximately forty countries convened at the Vienna International Center (VIC) in Austria to debate current issues in international politics.
The students were divided into committees assigned to cover various issues and represent different United Nations Organizations. The committee on the IAEA simulated a Board of Governors Meeting and discussed Ground Water Resource Exploitation through Isotope Techniques. To gain a more in-depth knowledge of the techniques they were discussing, the students toured the IAEA´s Isotope laboratory at the VIC. They were then given the opportunity to speak with specialists in the lab in order to gain more understanding of the issues at hand.
Through VIMUN, students assume the role of a diplomat and tackle up to date and important global issues by engaging in debate, building consensus, and representing an assigned UN member state. To increase the challenge and test their diplomacy skills the delegates are given a country other than their own.
The VIMUN provides more benefits than just the simulation. The working IAEA committee described the experience as "fantastic."
"It was the atmosphere and flair of the situation that added to the practice, and the fact the participants were able to meet with diplomats and speak with delegates from the IAEA," says Mathias Steinhauser, Secretary-General, Vienna International Model United Nations (VIMUN).
The 15th annual Vienna International Model United Nations (VIMUN) took place from 2-6 August, at the VIC in Austria, which is the seat of several major UN organizations including the IAEA. The VIMUN is among many simulation exercises that take place annually around the world. What makes the Vienna conference unique is that it is the only Model United Nations to take place in one of the four global UN headquarters. VIMUN is the chief conference organized by the United National Youth and Student Association of Austria - Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs (UNYSA-AUSTRA-AFA) and continues to be an effective way to engage youth within the bodies of the United Nations.
This year´s VIMUN exercise featured participation from UN bodies including the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UN Commission on Population and Development, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities; also known as "the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee (SCC)."