Diplomacy award (Issue 36, 2010)


La Trobe participants to the MUN, Raphael Haycraft, Thomas Day and Greg Healy

La Trobe students Greg Healy and Raphael Haycraft returned home from the 19th annual World Model UN (MUN) Conference in Taipei with the prestigious Diplomacy Award, awarded to delegates that throughout the conference embody the spirit of diplomacy and the UN.

Developed on The Harvard Model, the annual World-MUN is one of the largest Model United Nations Conference’s in the world. This year’s conference was held at the Freedom Conference Centre in Taipei, Taiwan, and hosted 2000 young leaders of the future, including over 65 Australians.

‘From the very beginning I was appreciative of effort Taipei had gone to open up the city to us and knew it would be a great experience,’ said Raphael.

Representing South Korea in the UNHCR committee, a country that does not historically have a prominent role in policy making, Raphael quickly developed his position as an independent negotiator, building consensus for other countries who did not see eye to eye.

Sitting on the executive branch of the World MUN, Greg took on the duties of Deputy Secretary General. Administered for the first time at a World-MUN, the executive branch receives resolutions and works towards their implementation. Members of the executive branch were able to get first-hand knowledge of how the UN works internally and gain negotiation skills at a managerial level.

‘The standard of participants was very high and it became quickly obvious that we were getting exposure to work methodologies and a depth of knowledge that you cannot get out of going to a conventional conference,’ said Greg.

When asked what each would take away from their experience in Taiwan, in addition to a better understanding of multilateralism, cross-cultural exchange and the experience of all working toward a common goal of good, Raphael highlighted the excellent networking opportunities.

‘I met a lot of contacts in my field of International Relations that were so in tune with each other and academically homogenous, the level of conversations that were had was extraordinary,’ added Raphael.
Greg and Raphael are now looking to develop their MUN experience by continuing to engage La Trobe in MUN activities. There is even talk of a La Trobe mini-MUN, which would better prepare students for the world stage and would provide opportunities for more La Trobe students across faculties to get involved in this distinguished activity.