Preparing for NMUN 2021 was challenging. We did not know how the conference will look. For some time we hoped to be able to travel to New York. Then, it was not clear if some people were going to be in New York and others were going to attend online. In the end, NMUN was held online exclusively. We were able to gather experience of online conferences while attending GerMUN. As NMUN is attended by people from many different parts of the world, we worked through many different time zones. For us in Germany, it was perfect timing for students. We started session in the afternoon and were done by around midnight. Not so lucky were our friends from the Kobe University in Japan. They worked during the night and got to go to bed after 6 am. Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience to sort of live in two time zones at once. I was always a little confused about the time.
One issue unique to online conferences came up: internet connection. “The biggest challenge during this online conference was to keep up while having connection issues. I think the communication in general was a bigger challenge than it would usually be.”, said Maria, one of our delegates in CCPCJ. Jost, who was serving in CSW had a similar experience: “It was difficult to impossible to get in touch one-on-one and make plans for joint action, which is especially important for small states.”
Everyone still had a great time and said they wanted to participate again next year if their schedules allow it. “NMUN as a digital conference was already a unique experience. On site, these experiences are then supplemented by personal contact – in and after the conference”, said Jost.
Maria remarked: “I would absolutely love to attend in Person. That would be a dream come true. To only be able to experience this in person, in real life at least once would be an experience of a lifetime I will for sure never forget.” This really shows how even through the online format, everyone was able to have a unique and amazing experience.
Working together with the delegates from the Kobe University in Japan was great! We were able to meet them briefly on a Zoom call before the conference started. When we attend in New York delegates from both universities usually meet for the first time at the conference. During the conference we saw each other during the debriefing. It was amazing how much spirit and energy the students from Kobe brought into these meetings after working through the night. We all grew closer as the conference went on and the debriefings were always fun while also constructive.
I was very honoured to be able to serve as a chair in the UNAIDS committee. It was great to get to know some people from the NMUN staff and to see the delegates work. I was glad I could support my Director and keep the committee running during the sessions. I really enjoy being a delegate and representing a country but I realised more and more how great it can be to be guiding delegates within a committee and support them in their work.
NMUN 2021 has been a very different experience and we all had to learn to adapt. I think everyone learned to be more patient and adapt to new challenges. We all hope to be able to return to New York next year, but we know how amazing an online conference can be nonetheless. Everyone made new friends and got to meet people from all over the world. It was great to have a big part of the usual NMUN experience even though we all were separated by space.