The University of Sydney Model United Nations (SydMUN) Conference is the largest national Model United Nations conference in Australia. In 2012, it was held from 30 November to 2 December, and with the theme of ‘Conflict and Consensus in a Changing World’, SydMUN focused on emerging issues that may not regularly make the news but are critical to global cooperation. Whether it was the Security Council dealing with the peaceful use of Arctic Resources or the World Health Organisation considering the impact of climate change on malaria, delegates were challenged at every turn to come up with innovative solutions and work with their fellow member states to produce a final working paper for the UN General Assembly to vote on.

The ANU sent a delegation of 20 students to this prestigious conference, and while having to wear business attire in the sweltering Sydney heat was inconvenient – to say the least – the delegation from the ANU did their university proud. Of the nine Best Delegate Awards that were given out at the conclusion of the conference, five of them were given to ANU students. This is a testament not only to their oratorical and debating skills, but also to their diligent preparation and ability to negotiate and work with fellow member-states.

Such a distinction is even more notable when one considers that ANU sent a relatively small delegation, outweighed by much larger contingents from such heavyweights as the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales.

But this was only one part of the SydMUN experience. Students also had the amazing opportunity to hear the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, Dan Ryan, talk about his own experiences, such as meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and being present when Australia won its bid for a UN Security Council seat. The social events, whether it was enjoying drinks on the rooftop of Zanzibar or partying at the University of Sydney Refectory, also provided students the opportunity to bond with fellow delegates from other universities in a social setting.

The students of the ANU delegation were also brought closer together – not only in committee, but outside it as well. Whether it was chilling in the rooftop pool at the Sydney Central YHA after a long day, having dinner in Chinatown or even fighting it out in laser tag, they forged stronger bonds with each other during the amazing array of activities and opportunities provided by the conference.