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Where world leaders make their start

23 May 2014 / 11:05:18  GRReporter
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Polina Spartyanova

    They say that if you have never taken part in a conference on the Model United Nations, you have not lived. Model United Nations (MUN) follows the basic principles of the United Nations (UN) and is a weeklong conference that involves young people as delegates in various committees of the organization. MUN is the most common international youth event in the world and so far, over 400 conferences have been held around the world annually.
    Manolis Batistakis is one of the many young Greeks, who are trying to make their way to the stage of international relations, starting from the first hindrance, Model United Nations. He is 24 years old and graduated in International and European Studies at Thessaloniki University of Macedonia. Over the past five years, he has participated in 25 UN simulations in Europe and has held the position of Secretary General in two of them. In 2013, shortly before entering the Greek army, he applied for the post of General Secretary in "Sofia International Model United Nations" (SOFIMUN) and a little later, he was approved. "Even during my first participation in SOFIMUN I was convinced that the conference has the status of a 5-star MUN and what made it so special for me was the attitude of the people who stood behind its organization," said Manolis for GRReporter.
    "Sofia International Model United Nations" is the Bulgarian simulation model of the United Nations and this year it will be held for the seventh time. The Bulgarian annual conference is one of the most popular and prestigious events in the world and after its first edition in 2008 it received an official congratulatory letter of support from the United Nations. In 2010, SOFIMUN was declared the best Model United Nations of the year.
    To find out more about the Foundation's activities and the conference we met with Milen Hristov, who was involved in the preparation and organization of its last four editions, and currently holds the position of Conference Manager. "You do not have to be interested in politics or diplomacy to participate in ‘Sofia International Model United Nations’. It is enough to have a strong desire to change people's attitude towards life and make the change you want to see in the world," says Milen while introducing us to the work of the Bulgarian simulation of the United Nations. For him SOFIMUN is not a game of diplomacy since after the conference all the resolutions, which have been prepared in this period, are recorded and sent to the UN headquarters, where they are examined with the possibility of being discussed and adopted at a higher level.
    SOFIMUN Conference is one of the few MUNs that have a specialized journalistic team composed of international correspondents of some of the world's most popular mass media to cover the operating process of the UN, EU and NATO bodies. The journalistic panel of SOFIMUN Information Network follows the hottest events in the conference rooms and publishes them in the form of printed and online editions that are simultaneously issued during the conference. For SOFIMUN 2014 its organizers have planned daily television broadcasting to present the most important highlights of the working day of the conference commissions.
    SOFIMUN International Foundation, which deals with the organization of the annual conference of the same name, is the result of the actions of young people from over 50 nationalities who participated in the first six editions of the international Model United Nations in Bulgaria. The conference in Sofia has an active network of coordinators across Europe, North and South America, Australia, Asia and Africa. Up to this point, nearly 700 delegates from around the world and over 150 from Bulgaria participated in SOFIMUN. According to Milen Hristov, thanks to the great international success of the first six editions of SOFIMUN, he and the organizers of this year's conference expect it to be attended by over 100 young professionals who will be divided into 7 bodies and focus on the work of the United Nations and the European Union.

    "Apart from getting acquainted with tomorrow’s leaders at the conference, you have the opportunity to "walk in the shoes" of those who occupy the high posts and who are responsible for whether tomorrow we will wake up to boots and helmets instead of jeans and t-shirts," says Milen. Therefore, as in any other year, the delegates of SOFIMUN 2014 will be able to simulate the activities of some of the most important bodies on the stage of international relations, as follows: UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, UN Economic and Social Council, UN First Committee of the General Assembly, NATO, EU Council of Ministers-Foreign Policy and UN Security Council, which is based on historical events.

Tags: SOFIMON 2014United NationsEuropean UnionWorld leadersPolina Spartyanova
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