Published by Mathis Gilsbach on 14 July, 2017.
The 3rd edition of MUNSC Salient has been a great success so far. The delegates seemingly enjoy themselves, the Secretariat appears relaxed yet competent and the organisers are happy with the turnout of this year’s Salient thus far. Speaking to News Salient Agency they professed their happiness about the increasing number of participants from about forty-five in recent years to around seventy-five fluffy alpacas in the 2017 edition. To explore how this conference came into existence, News Agency Salient decided to dig deeper and look behind the scenes of MUNSC Salient 2017.
MUNSC Salient is organised by the Model United Nations Slovenia Club (MUNSC), which is basically the youth section of the United Nations Association Slovenia (UNAS). Apart from the conference, they also organise summer schools and other events, as well as training future delegates and sending them all around Europe to other MUN conferences.
Backed by a great amount of expertise and human capital in the MUNSC, they decided three years ago to set up the first edition of Salient. And they wanted to make a conference different to all the others. They decided to modernise the usual MUN formula a bit by introducing workshops and panels to the programme. The aim is to broaden the horizon of the delegates and to give them further insights into the topics they are working on during the sessions.
The overarching theme of this year’s conference was: The Hidden Faces of War. But how did they come up with it?
The basic question in choosing the topic was: What are we not talking about in the bigger themes like war or inequality? What tends to get lost in most debates on these topics, but needs to be investigated?
In the last edition of Salient the topic was diverging quite a lot from traditional International Relations as it was dealing with the Deconstruction of Contemporary Inequality and thus strayed away from the nation-state centred view of classical IR theories. It turned out to be a bit difficult though for the delegates to effectively work with the topic. Consequently, in this edition the organisers tried to establish a middle ground. The topic Hidden Faces of War still aims to uncover less discussed aspects of Global Affairs but to make it more connected to classical IR themes, such as geo-politics in Libya or the Role of Private Military Companies.
During the opening ceremony, the delegates got to listen to several, maybe not perfectly eloquent, but certainly highly knowledgeable and qualified speakers. How did the organisers find them, we wondered.
Usually the team first decides on a topic for a Panel and then searches around Slovenia for experts and professionals working in a related field. Those are then invited and thus far the experience has been that many speakers were really interested in the conference and willing to share their knowledge with the next generation. But it is nonetheless challenging to find relevant speakers who also have time to come to the conference.
For this year’s edition two planned Panels didn’t make the cut due to a lack of Panellists. News Salient Agency hopes that these Panels will be reconsidered for the next edition of MUNSC Salient as the topics sounded quite interesting. The first one was a play with definitions of war. International Politics on the war of drugs was supposed to look at situations such as Mexico where one could argue that the fight against and between drug-cartels creates war-like circumstances in some areas of the country. The topic of the second planned panel was conceived in the light of attacks on hospitals and doctors in the Syrian War. It was supposed to be about the Protection of Aid Workers in Conflict Situations.
The combination of classical MUN debates with new educational aspects and of course great socials seems to work nicely if one believes the happy (though sleep-deprived) faces of the participants.
Overall, it can already be stated that MUNSC Salient 2017 has been a great accomplishment and asked for their message for the MUN world, the organising team issued an invitation for old delegates to come back for the next edition and for people to go and tell it on the mountains and to all their friends that there is a wonderful conference happening every summer in Ljubljana, Slovenia.