May 19, 2004


Darrell Morris, the media liaison officer for James Cook Universityís United Nations Society, sent me an email yesterday about AMUNC, which apparently is some kind of pretend-UN festival happening in Australia:

AMUNC is the Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference. This is the 1st time the conference is being hosted by a regional Australian University & the 2nd time in 10yrs that the conference is being hosted outside Melbourne & Sydney. The students organising this conference have a vision to expand & develop AMUNC into an Asia Pacific phenomenon.

The conference runs from 5-11 July is hoping to attract over 600 delegates from all over Australia, Asia& the Pacific to participate in a week packed full of diplomacy, social functions & other activities.

It is an annual event that attracts tertiary students from around the Asia-
Pacific region to a week of diplomatic frenzy. Student delegates who attend this conference role-play as ambassadors to the UN & affiliated organisations. The host university provides a realistic simulation in which dozens of international disputes are resolved.

Naturally, I expected the email to at some point invite me to this AMUNC-athon, where I might add to the realism by bribing pretend delegates with pretend oil money. Iíd even planned to kiss a pretend George Galloway! But no invitation was included. Guess Iíll just have to role-play by sitting at home and doing nothing.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 19, 2004 04:42 AM

How are going to make the French feel like they are relevant?

Posted by: BC at May 19, 2004 at 05:04 AM

You could arrange to have a couple of homeless people murdered right in front of the building in full view of the delegates who would be too busy enjoying a circle jerk too call the cops.

Then, when the cops arrive, they could pass a motion condemning police brutality in case the police were planning to commit any and then break for lunch.

That would be my first thoughts on a good UN emulator, the masturbatory idiocy will take care of itself of course but for the experience to ring true an element of sordid and pointless tragedy needs to be injected.

Posted by: Amos at May 19, 2004 at 05:57 AM

I did some Model UN stuff in college, and it was actually a great deal of fun (e.g., drinking, womanizing, etc.), and there are actually more conservatives involved than you might think. The thing of it was is that conservatives were often better delegates, because they harbored no illusions that the UN existed to do anything BUT serve different national interests of such moral stalwarts as Nigeria or Myanmar, whereas the fans of the UN kept thinking it significant and important that the UN "do something."

It's silly, but it's no sillier than college debate or anything else.

Oh, yeah, and it's precisely as effective as the real UN in solving problems.

Posted by: Andrew at May 19, 2004 at 07:43 AM

I did Model UN in high school. I agree its pretty comparable to doing debate team. The US national convention gets swarms of kids together--I really don't remember all that much of it*--but some college friends who had also gone as high school students sure have a different (and much wilder) recollections of it...

* My main recollection is having brunch with Senator Heinz** who spent the time talking about the popular uprising in the Phillipines (the one in 1986 which eventually resulted in Marcos deposed).

Posted by: Sam at May 19, 2004 at 10:39 AM

apropos nothing, but here is something regarding John Kerry that you might want to see, provided you are male.

Posted by: attila at May 19, 2004 at 11:52 AM

Well, I can beat the "I was..." stories. I was one of the ppl who organised last years one at USYD. And I would definatly have to agree that many of the ppl who attend are more right wing than one would thing.
To put this all in percpective, the social event budget for last years one was $60,000, including cocktails, ball, harbour cruise, drinks night etc etc, with most ppl turning up rather hungover to the morning sessions.
I actually was talking to someone last night by coincidence about how their faith in the UN was shattered when they attended one of these in Melbourn '02, so, some good can come out.
As for giving it to JCU this year, sorry. We know. But they were the least bad of the bids. Promise.

Posted by: Tim Andrews at May 19, 2004 at 01:05 PM

You could have been their pretend Good Will Ambassador. Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Sir Peter Ustinov, Infanta Dona Cristina, Angelina Jolie... and Tim Blair.

As the folks at Sesame Street used to sing: "One of the things is not like the other - come on everybody can you tell me which one?"

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 19, 2004 at 01:25 PM

I have some further thoughts, maybe half of AMUNC deligates could be convicted thieves and murderers released for the day from a local penitentary. This would assist realism.

Posted by: Amos at May 19, 2004 at 01:53 PM

Let's hope they don't role play w/the cafeteria.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 19, 2004 at 02:03 PM

If enough RWDBs conspired, maybe they could try to re-enact some of the UN's less than stellar moments.

Posted by: Andjam at May 19, 2004 at 03:07 PM

I'm another high school MUN (Model UN) refugee from years past. We spent our time planning the night's drinking and seeing who we could hit on. It really is a circle jerk and it makes people feel pretend-important for a few days but that's about it.

Posted by: JakeD at May 19, 2004 at 03:12 PM

I did something like this over a few days at uni - a hypothetical Soviet Union (showing my age) about to join the EEC (again, showing my age), when hypothetical Gorbachev gets kidnapped and executed by hypothetical Azerbaijani terrorists, who then went on a hypothetical bombing campaign. They also kidnapped a hypothetical planeload of EEC ambassadors and officials.

I was the hypothetical KGB Director who's job was to balance public safety and order against the need to maintain democratic freedoms so "we" could successfully enter the EEC.

The rest of the hypothetical Politburo, as well as the various EEC ambassadors and officials, were you basic Melb Uni arts/politics students, so as KGB Director, I invoked emergency powers, shut most of them up, and turned hypothetical Baku into what would eventually be real Grozny.

Don't know if that's what I really wanted to do, but it was good, clean, hypothetical fun.

Peace through superior firepower.

Posted by: steve at May 19, 2004 at 04:35 PM

Lucky bugger Steve, I got stuck with Zimbabwe one year. Talk about total lack of influence. Except for the bit where I convinced the South Africa delegate who got stuck on the Rights of Minorities committee to argue their position from a "whites are a minority in population within a black majority". That started a good arguement with the bleeding heart lefties on the committee.

Posted by: JakeD at May 19, 2004 at 04:50 PM

15 students ?

I'd say to simulate the UN's behaviour, you would have 14 representing the Arab and European states, always voting against the 1 Israeli representative.

Posted by: Jono at May 19, 2004 at 06:00 PM

When I was in high school, long ago, I was in a program which entailed a "pilgrimige to the UN" - we got to be fake UN ambassadors. We we got to meet with real UN ambassidors, listen in on meetings, etc. While we were there, the whole Lybia bombing thing was going on, and we were invited to listen to the Security Council meeting on it.

But the chaperones decided that was too violent a subject for UN pilgrims to listen to, and took us shopping, instead.

yee haw!

Posted by: birdwoman at May 19, 2004 at 11:25 PM

Except for the bit where I convinced the South Africa delegate who got stuck on the Rights of Minorities committee to argue their position from a "whites are a minority in population within a black majority".

Was this model UN done when SA was in apartheid, or after apartheid had finished?

Posted by: Andjam at May 19, 2004 at 11:50 PM

I want to live in Australia. How do I go about that? Whom do I have to buy lunch?

Posted by: Brian Jones at May 20, 2004 at 01:29 AM

You see Brian, I am the last surviving member of the former Australian R.oya.l family, who has had to escape the country and go into e.xi.le after the recent takeover by the republican movement. I currently have 100 m.illi.on dollars US in b.a.nk ac.coun.ts in Australia but need help in get.ting it ou.t of the cou.nt.ry, and I ask that you provide me with you so that I ma.y use your to get my mo.ney out of the count.ry. In return I will prov.ide you with 5% for your tro.ubles.
You might not want to visit Australia for a while though.
(In)Sincerly Yours
Former Court Jester to the Australian Royal Family

Posted by: RhikoR at May 20, 2004 at 01:27 PM

Heh, sorry about the the periods in words, but I suspect Andrea is running an anti Nigerian spam-scam script and it wouldnt let me post otherwise
Andrea will prolly kick my ass now for exposing the flaws to get around it... :(

Posted by: RhikoR at May 20, 2004 at 01:31 PM

I can top all your "I was..." stories. I met my long-time girlfriend at a model UN conference, and now I'm planning on moving from the US to Australia to be with her

Posted by: Adam at May 20, 2004 at 05:10 PM

I understand from a Marxist colleague who is the Model UN sponsor that some of his students were restrained in some manner (not physical) when they attempted to play North Korea as being as crazy as it is. Evidently you can go too far. (One of the students told me privately that they were going to threaten to eat up to 100,000 Norks and videotape it unless they were given massive amounts of aid without strings.)

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at May 21, 2004 at 04:02 AM

I am role playing pretend UN as POTUS:

"This is pretty simple to follow people:

"This is what we are going to do do to fix the following problems [Insert list of issues like Iraq, terrorism, AIDS etc etc]. You can either join us or fuck off. Who's in?

"Unfortunately I won't be able to attend any meetings because I am busy taking care of business."


Posted by: Razor at May 21, 2004 at 02:19 PM

This is more useful in learning about other cultures...though most of us Beta's decided the Alphas were simply too boring to learn from...our trading was more interesting.

Posted by: Aaron at May 21, 2004 at 07:56 PM

Bribing people with "Oil Money"? You never told us you used to work for the Australian Wheat Board.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at May 23, 2004 at 10:46 AM

Way to totally miss the point of the post and sound like a moron, Miranda. You're in top form tonight!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 23, 2004 at 11:38 AM