Uganda Model - UN (UMUN) 2013

Written by Agaba Ronald, Coordinator

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The Uganda Model UN (UMUN) 2013 attracted over 50 University students under the theme: “Global partnership for enhanced health services — Youths involvement to improve health.” It was hosted by UNAU - MUST Chapter at Mbarara University Inn.

Through simulating the UN General Assembly, the conference aimed at instilling diplomatic skills among participants.

The office of UN Resident Coordinator was represented at the kick-off   of the event by Mr. Nuwamanya Abel.

In his remarks, Mr. Nuwamanya encouraged the delegates to read widely about the United Nations (UN) during the 3-days youth assembly so that they could better their understanding of the organisation.

After a brief insight of how far volunteering has taken him, he urged delegates to embrace the spirit of volunteerism. “I started working with the UN as a volunteer,” he said.

“This  is where the developed countries beat us; the youth in developed countries  do a lot of voluntary work that helps them improve   both personal and professional skills,” he added.

He listed some of the programs that the UN is carrying out in Uganda. These included; Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), disaster response, humanitarian response among other activities where the UN helps support the government.

Nuwamanya requested UMUN delegates be humble in whatever they encounter in life. “Never despise humble beginnings because they can take you to greater heights,” he quoted and wished the gathering a fruitful session.

Baguma T. Richard, General Secretary UNAU has emphasised that delegates need to appreciate the value that UMUN brings to young people. “We need to see the value of this initiative. UMUN provides a platform for the youth to develop themselves diplomatically, he added.

Baguma went on to thank the host UANU-MUST chapter for organising the event and requested that other chapters follow the lead.

“We learnt about United Nations Associations (UNAs) when I was at university – me and my colleagues were on the University Guild at Makerere University and because of that we had the opportunity to travel and realised that our fellow students back at home were missing out on a lot of opportunities. We decided to form UNAU so that we could extend the level of exposure we had experienced to the rest of our colleagues that may be interested. It’s now 15 years down the road and I’m very happy that we did this,” he said.

Baguma said that UMUN started as a training session for those members that were to go take part in international conferences. “Since we were more exposed, we would have this as a training for those that would be going to take part in international gatherings that they had been invited to participate in over time we made it a conference on its own, and this is now the 5th annual UMUN since the launch in 2009.

Quoting from his personal experience, he mentioned that he was kicked out the first time he attended the UN General Assembly. “I was thrown out, I had not paid much attention to the rules about the dress code and I was asked to leave and return only when appropriately dressed.” He said.

“I would like you to be serious during the time that you will spend here.”  This is a great learning process it should be taken seriously,” he concluded.