Where can a music student and a physics student find common ground? At the UN Headquarters in Vienna discussing issues like food security.
Around 200 students from varying academic backgrounds took part in the Vienna International Model United Nations (VIMUN) Conference held at the Vienna International Centre in Austria from 2 to 5 August 2010.
Twenty students simulated the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting discussing Atoms for Food: Against Growing Food Insecurity in the Light of Climate Change.
"Atoms for Food" is the slogan for the partnership spearheaded by a joint division of IAEA and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). This partnership has established programs in more than 100 countries that have provided nuclear techniques for increasing harvests, combating livestock and plant diseases, and protecting the land, water and environmental resources necessary for food and agricultural production.
The participants had the opportunity to talk to Nicholas Odongo, livestock nutritionist at IAEA´s Animal Production and Health Section, before the session began.
"This interaction with the expert gave us a clear idea of how things actually work in the field," said Fruzsina Földer, Chair of the VIMUN IAEA Committee.
"The Conference has been a fascinating learning experience," said a participant who represented South Korea at the VIMUN IAEA sessions.
"It gave us an idea of how a powerful technology can be used to improve food security around the world," she said.
The Conference concluded with the committees presenting their resolutions during the VIMUN General Assembly and the closing ceremony where the best speakers were recognised with awards.
The VIMUN programme was started 15 years ago in 1995, and has hosted over 4 000 participants from around the globe. This year, over 200 students simulated negotiations of different United Nations organisations, including the IAEA, the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
By assuming the role of a diplomat and representing an assigned UN Member State, the students discussed important global issues. The idea was to not only hone their diplomacy skills but also to raise awareness about imminent global issues that the UN organisations are dealing with.