An official article written as the PR responsible of GIMUN; published in IHEID Globe.

photo by Christopher Streuli

GIMUN: 10 Years of Understanding IR Through Experience

In 1999, students from the HEI had the idea to organize a Model United Nations conference in Geneva, the European capital of multilateralism. Geneva International Model United Nations, GIMUN was born.

The core concept of a Model United Nations conference is that students take on the roles of State delegates in simulated mock sessions of different UN bodies. They hold speeches, negotiate and try to find solutions that are in the interest of the State they are representing.

The Conference steadily grew as it proved appealing to many students who were eager to apply their theoretical knowledge in a practical environment. Besides playing the role of a delegate, the Conference offers many other positions for students in different fields: journalists, chairpersons, secretaries, translators and interpreters are essential to the proper functioning of the Conference and these positions offer students a first experience in the field of their aspired career's field.

Today, 10 years after the first Conference, GIMUN has evolved into more than only a mere MUN conference. Since 2007, GIMUN is also officially recognized as an NGO, as it was granted Special Consultative Status to the ECOSOC. This status offers GIMUN the possibility to accredit people to the UN, to attend and organize work-shops or even to speak at official UN sessions. Hence, GIMUN saw its role enhanced and redefined its goal to be the "Youth Gateway to the UN".

The role of events organized throughout the year increased. These events included brief MUN simulations to give students an insight in the MUN concept, but also bigger events such as a conference organized on the occasion of the anniversary of the entry in force of the UN Charter on October 24, 2008. The conference welcomed approximately 200 participants, including many representatives of permanent missions and NGOs and was hailed as a huge success.

The annual MUN Conference has further become a hub where new youth projects are born. A recent example is EurasiaMUN, a MUN conference that took place last summer at the IHEID. The initiative to EurasiaMUN was taken by members of the LUMUN organization, based in Lahore, Pakistan who approached the GIMUN association during GIMUN 2008. An independent organization committee was then appointed to plan the first EurasiaMUN Conference.

The organization committee was able to not just create another MUN, but come up with new ideas such as workshops during the conference and the possibility to alternate the conference location between Asia and Europe. EurasiaMUN's concept also includes its specific focus on relations between Europe and Asia, in terms of conference topics, origin of participants and composition of the organization committee.

The first EurasiaMUN Conference was a clear success in broadening the horizons of participants. Europeans learned more about Asian, in particular Pakistani culture and vice versa. One consequence of this was that three participants of EurasiaMUN made the next step toward intercultural understanding and travelled to Pakistan in November to participate in a MUN conference in Lahore.

This spirit of creating understanding of international relations through practical experience, as a complement for academic education is exactly what GIMUN is trying to foster.

Further information:,,

Ivo Näpflin, Website & Publications, GIMUN 2009, January 2009