by Marcell Veer
As schools are cancelled around the world, and events shuttered, one activity seems to live on virtually. I am talking about Model United Nations.
This year, the third annual ZYGMUN conference was set to be held early April at the American School of Warsaw. After the recent restrictions on events being held in ASW, and the subsequent move to virtual school, the original conference was on the brink of cancellation.
This all changed when the decision was made to hold the conference virtually via Zoom. In addition to this, the date was changed to April 23 & 24, in order for delegates to get used to the online platform. I interviewed Julia A., one of the ZYGMUN secretariats, for her viewpoint on this special event.
What drove you and the other secretaries to make the decision to hold the conference virtually?
Our theme for ZYGMUN 2020, “Good Health and Well-Being: Ensuring healthy lives for all at all ages.” When we heard that our conference would be cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak, it was almost ironic. The very issues we were meeting to discuss was the reason we were shutting down. I think there was an internal initiative for many of us not to let that happen. On a larger scale, MUN facilitates very important conversations about global issues and especially in a time like this, it is important not to let those discussions die down. Today we live in a day and age where technology allows us to connect even in situations like this and it seemed wrong not to take advantage of those opportunities.
Is this the first time an MUN conference is being held completely virtually?
It is the first time ZYGMUN will be held completely online. All of our delegates, both from ASW and outside will be joining us via Zoom. Additionally, with the prolonged school closure, the Secretariat and Student Officers will also be running the conference from our homes.
How will this new form of the conference differ from the original conference that was planned to take place in early April?
We were positively surprised by how little it really differs. The functions offered by Zoom allow us to run the conference very much like we usually would, except that we are all participating from home.
In general, how excited are you and the other secretariats to hold this conference?
Extremely excited! The online format has allowed us to not only keep the conference alive, but even expand to include participants that perhaps weren’t able to accommodate traveling to Warsaw. As of today, our delegate count is 138 delegates from 18 countries! I am confident we are doing something amazing here and paving the road for the future of ZYGMUN.