Culture\Cultural Exchange

Discovering diplomacy

By Zhang Zefeng | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-14 07:29

Discovering diplomacy

More than 500 young participants from 113 institutions in roughly 20 countries and regions attend the Beijing International Model United Nations over June 8-11 at China Foreign Affairs University to learn how to manage the world as adult leaders. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Model United Nations events are growing in popularity among Chinese students and changing many participants' lives in the long term. Zhang Zefeng reports.

Influential world leaders, scientists and environmentalists assembled at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York on Thursday, which marked World Oceans Day.

They discussed problems oceans face and how to find sustainable solutions.

On the other side of the Pacific, college and high school students hosted a mirror event at Beijing's China Foreign Affairs University on the same day.

Students clad in formal attire played the roles of diplomats to deliberate marine resources' sustainable use.

They presented new ideas, learned about others' positions and attempted to bid to host the next conference.

More than 500 participants from 113 institutions in roughly 20 countries and regions attended the four-day event.

"It's really interesting to get a glimpse into what diplomacy really is," says Jonas Schmid, a 20-year-old student from the University of Tuebingen in Germany, who represented France.

"I think every delegate here really wants to ameliorate the state of the oceans and reach a consensus."

The conference was one of many events of this year's Beijing International Model United Nations.

The Model United Nations, aka MUN, is an extracurricular activity that originated in the United States and has grown in China over the past decade. China Foreign Affairs University students participated in the country's first MUN event in 1995.

The event has been held 13 times since 2002 and changed its name to BIMUN last year.

It simulates such UN bodies as the General Assembly and the Food and Agriculture Organization. This year's events also included the Federation Internationale de Football Association.

"Soccer is a very popular sport in Chinese cities," says China Foreign Affairs University junior Jiang Shan, who served as the chairman of the simulated FIFA event.

"Implanting FIFA in the MUN is interesting and can also increase the delegates' engagement."

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