If you clicked...
... the philosophy link in the hope of finding enlightening
quotations by towering intellectuals such as Immanuel Kant or Franz
we are sincerely sorry to disappoint you. This
link is concerned with conveying the values and beliefs we share
within our Model United Nations Group. For several years now this
set of beliefs has formed the underlying basis of an inspiring and
successful cooperation. What brought us together was a shared interest
in politics and a sense of responsibility for the steps this world
is taking towards the future. Responsibility implies involvement.
However, it does not necessarily entail activism. There are many
ways of becoming involved. And if knowledge is power, then - for
us as university students - familiarizing ourselves with current
political, cultural and environmental issues seemed to us an adequate
expression of our commitment.
The Harvard WorldMUN provides us with an excellent
opportunity to test the practicability of our ideas, as well as
learn how the decision-making process on a global level actually
works. Furthermore the concept of representing another country not
only creates an awareness for the interests of other governments,
it also encourages you to develop an understanding for the needs
and views of other cultures. In a world which is growing together
so rapidly the success of cross-cultural encounters is becoming
increasingly vital. Therefore exercises in open-mindedness, such
as the WorldMUN, should not be viewed as international frolicing.
They are attempts at sensitizing us to different stand-points, stand-points
which are often rooted in back-grounds alien to us. This does not
mean, that we advocate a blurred and unconstructive anything
goes attitude, where everyone accepts the others opinion at
face-value. It does, however, mean that we try to understand the
issues and people we are dealing with, which in turn means approaching
them with respect - critically, yes, but not with an air of superiority
(which is in itself toxic to any form of understanding). The Harvard
WorldMUN fosters such attitude.
The Harvard WorldMUN Group in Heidelberg has also created a forum
for students from different academic disciplines to get together
and exchange their views on the issues currently troubling the globe
to varying degrees. In a democracy, where so much depends on the
convincing articulation of your opinions, we feel it is a valuable
part of academic (and indeed democratic) education to share, defend
and (if necessary) re-assess your views. Besides, the WorldMUN group
also offers a rare, yet much needed chance to practise debating
in English. Especially on the annual conferences the need for this
becomes apparent. International encounters can only ever be successful,
if both sides are able to communicate successfully. And as it is
becoming increasingly important to tackle the problems we are facing
globally, the need to acquire and practise foreign languages cannot
However the ModelUN-group is also beneficial on a more concrete
and personal level. The skills required to successfully take part
at a ModelUN-conference are skills, which prepare us
for our future career, yet are seldom part of the curriculum. Team
work, focused research and negotiating skills, the ability to speak
confidently and to the point - all these are basic requirements
in any leading profession. By founding the Heidelburg WorldMUN Group
we have found an enjoyable and creative way of acquiring such faculties.
And independently of the different careers we are envisaging, what
unites us is a desire to be effective in what we do. Effective
in order to make a difference.
To come back to a more philosophical aspect of our
group: We believe that categories such as nationality, race or religion
are historical realities, which therefore cannot be ignored. However,
we are not prepared to let them dominate our thinking or actions.
As students at a German University we are only too well
aware of what can happen, if prejudice starts narrowing and poisoning
peoples mind. We feel it is up to us to remain vigilant and
critical and to not leave matters which effect us all to a couple
of big guys. Even if we are not in a position to change
what is happening, that does not stop us from becoming involved.
Making sure that the knowledge of what is going on and
why does not remain in the hands of a few is the first
step towards change.
We do not believe in easy slogans, nor in easy solutions
to complex problems. What we do believe in is embracing the complexity
of our world. Our aim is not to get lost in the maze of things that
are, but to forge a link between reality and possibility.