Model United Nations Security Council hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

A Joint Birmingham City University and FCO Youth Inspiration Group event 11 February, 2014


  1. On 11 February 2014, BCU law students and the FCO Youth Inspiration Group (YIG) held a Model United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This UN simulation provided a networking event for students and nongovernmental organisation workers, and gave the FCO an opportunity to engage with people interested in being employed in the diplomatic service. 

    The mock Security Council session discussed and attempted to find solutions for a humanitarian crisis in a fictional country named, "Ruritania." The participants gained experience in pre-Security Council evidence gathering, presenting speeches as Heads of State and Foreign Ministers, alliance building for voting on a UNSC resolution, and the process for selecting appropriate legislative language.       


  2. Model United Nations Preparations 
  3. 2 weeks until 2nd YIG session with @DrJonYorke and BCU law skl students. Going to be a gr8 event. #youthinspirationgroup
  4. @fcocareers Really excited about the FCO/BCU Model United Nations on Feb. 11. Great experience for YIG and BCU stds @MyBCU @myBCUresearch
  5. We held a practice session at BCU. It helped calm nerves and develop confidence in approaching the different roles and aspects of the MUN. We also held preliminary discussions on the humanitarian and human rights issues, and it became clear that at the pre-UNSC alliances were beginning to be formed. BCU LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. and Erasmus students participated, and it was evident that this event was going to provide a fantastic learning environment for our students at different levels of their legal education. The students were beginning to achieve an enhanced appreciation of the application of international law at the United Nations, and were well prepared for their presentations and political negotiations.   


  6. A photo from our MUN practice session...it really helped the students for the real event! http://t.co/BwyNKWtLic
    A photo from our MUN practice session...it really helped the students for the real event! pic.twitter.com/BwyNKWtLic
  7. With the help of Mr. Sven Lehmann, Erasmus student from Jena University, a BCU/FCO Facebook group was created for the MUN (facebook.com/BCUMUN), enabling both BCU students and the FCO YIG to communicate at the multilateral level and discuss the factual circumstances of the crisis in Ruritania, identify strategies, and begin to solidify alliances for the voting session.
  8. @fcocareers FCO/BCU #modelunitednations almost upon us! Exciting! See the latest upload on debating veto and voting  https://www.facebook.com/BCUMUN 

  9. I was able to provide advice to the participants from my experiences in the United Nations as a delegate to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, adviser to the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, and from my speech to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna.    

  10. @antanas1970 The fantastic Professors Munoz Aunion and Manacorda after our speeches in ECOSOC, Vienna http://t.co/gkaByhgcEx
    @antanas1970 The fantastic Professors Munoz Aunion and Manacorda after our speeches in ECOSOC, Vienna pic.twitter.com/gkaByhgcEx
  11. Miss Ilaria Di Gioia, PhD student, BCU, had interned at the United Nations System Staff College (unssc.org/home/). At our preliminary session she provided extremely useful advice to the students on the use, and choice of, specific political language for member state presentations. She also helped identify trends in Security Council voting.    

    We also received invaluable comments and advice from our previous LL.B. and Erasmus students who had participated at the MUN in 2013 - including, Miss Amna Nazir (representing Germany in the MUN 2013) and Mr. Jovi Cheung (representing China in the MUN 2013) BCU LL.B. students, and Miss Hannah Buck from Jena University (representing Germany in the MUN 2013), and Miss Caterina Aliberti from Pisa University (representing Argentina in the MUN 2013).     

  12. The Facebook group pages were used for: 

    - Disseminating event documentation - including; Crisis Scenario; SC Member State advice; Resolution Voting Sheet 
    - Key United Nations Documentation - including; UN Guide for MUN; UN Security Council voting procedures and records; the United Nations System Staff College; and information on other regional human rights systems    
    - Multimedia - youtube videos; United Nations Channel; and UN News Centre  

  13. LIVE: Global Classrooms International Model UN Conference
  14. The Model United Nations Session 

    In the magnificent Locarno Room, fantastic presentations were given as Heads of State and Foreign Ministers. Complex issues relating to the UN Charter, Chapter VII, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression against the Ruritanian people, and international human rights law issues, such as mass-casualty medical care, were professionally engaged with and analysed. There was an even balance between the protection of state sovereignty with the delicate issue of the responsibility to protect.  
  15. Following the presentations we held the "alliance building" event in the Entente Cordiale room. The discussions provided the participants with experience of the complexities of multilateral initiatives in humanitarian crisis situations. The room was buzzing with the discussions generating bilateral, then multilateral, networks. Difficulties were faced to make sure that the alliances held strong after new countries joined and some attempted to take the political perspectives and aspirations in different directions. Following this, the drafting of the "Resolution on the Crisis in Ruritania" took place. The veto was only used once (by the United States), but it became difficult to achieve the required nine votes for many issues. The result of the voting session was that limited trade sanctions, healthcare provision and access, and logistical issues, were included in the resolution.         
  16. @fcocareers #MUN BCU and YIG alliance building discussions at the FCO. Complex issues negotiated! http://t.co/947CtaWuRu
    @fcocareers #MUN BCU and YIG alliance building discussions at the FCO. Complex issues negotiated! pic.twitter.com/947CtaWuRu
  17. Then the drafting process began. Here the participants experienced both the success of some alliances and the collapse of others. This intensified the focus on the language used in the drafting of the resolution. In the heat of some of the discussions, the text shifted from producing defining obligations with specific legal parameters to enumerated aspirations providing political flexibility. However, following a grueling legislative session, a UNSC resolution was completed and we celebrated the adoption of our text.     

  18. Talks by Government Staff

    During the MUN we had the privilege to hear three very informative speeches. Mrs. Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary, Department of Culture, Media and Sport, give an extremely engaging presentation on the need to increase the employment of women in senior civil service roles. Mr. Robert Hannigan, Director General for Defence and Security, explained with great erudition the processes for collating information and the use of information to protect British interests in the international community. Ms. Melinda Simmons, Head of the Conflict Department, provided invaluable insights into the bilateral and multilateral issues affecting international responses to humanitarian crises.              
  19. @fcocareers #MUN participants were privileged to hear talks by Sue Owen, Robert Hannigan & Melinda Simnons http://t.co/8fXaaRZU4j
    @fcocareers #MUN participants were privileged to hear talks by Sue Owen, Robert Hannigan & Melinda Simnons pic.twitter.com/8fXaaRZU4j

  20. Reflecting on the MUN

    The event provided an excellent pedagogical framework from which students can better understand the complexities of international politics, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The benefits of simulated legal exercises are becoming clearer to law schools, and the FCO MUN helped to affirm the need to embed these pedagogical models within the delivery of legal education. Such exercises for law students help to better prepare them for a career in law and/or politics.  
     
  21. @fcocareers @DrJonYorke Brilliant photo! Congratulations to all involved. Fantastic experience for students. #youthinspiration
  22. Following the event, the "MUN experience" at the FCO was blogged by BCU LL.M. student, Mr. Lamiegha Brinemugha, click on link in the tweet to see blog post.
  23. The MUN received fantastic support by the staff at the FCO. The initial encouragement for the event came from Mr. Christopher Layden, and Mrs Louise de Sousa, Head of the Human Rights and Democracy Department. Ms. Emily Farrow and the Communication Excellence and Reputation Team, organised the day, and requested feedback on how to make the event more successful in the future. The blog post by Mr. Brinemugha identified some issues, including a presentation of certificates to the participants.      
  24. The FCO blog post on the event (click on the link in the below tweet), will help inform United Kingdom missions on the use of simulated exercises to help promote understanding of international law and human rights. Overall it was an excellent day in which everyone developed a deeper understanding of the political and legal processes involved at the Security Council level in dealing with international crisis situations.     
  25. Thank you to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for hosting such a successful event.