By Jan Sedlacek, Secretary 2020 / 2021
If you are new to the MUN scene, or perhaps just moved to Groningen a couple of months ago, you would be forgiven for getting a bit confused by our recent GrunnMUN PR campaign. After all, why on earth would TEIMUN, a non-profit Foundation, be organizing a conference called GrunnMUN? Is it not the case that each conference should have its own executive team and a clear name? Indeed, this is often the case. At TEIMUN though, things are a little bit different.
As I already mentioned, TEIMUN is a Foundation. As such, our activities go beyond just organizing conferences. Of course, conference organization is the bread and butter of what we do. Together with the Secretariat, the Board of Directors organizes a yearly, international conference in The Hague, which takes place usually in July. This is the TEIMUN conference, the highlight of our year which last 7 days and brings together delegates from all over the world. In a dilemma reminiscent of the infamous questions of “what came first; the chicken or the egg?”, nobody at the TEIMUN Foundation (yours truly included) will be able to tell you whether our predecessors 33 years ago first gave the TEIMUN name to the conference, or the Foundation.
So much for the TEIMUN conference. Because the Foundation is based in Groningen, a city brimming with students at the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, it is without question that we need to give back to our local community as well. This is what the GrunnMUN conference, aka The Groningen Model United Nations, is for (fun fact: ‘Grunn’ means ‘Groningen’ in the local dialect of the region, Gronings). GrunnMUN usually takes place in March and gives our fellow students the opportunity to sample what being a diplomat for a day is like. Because we are hosting GrunnMUN online this year, we are looking forward for hosting delegates from outside the Groningen area, and even from abroad. This makes the 2021 edition of the GrunnMUN conference unique compared to past years. While we are disappointed that we will not be able to welcome our local community at GrunnMUN in person, we believe that the presence of foreign delegates will make the online experience highly enriching.
Now you know that TEIMUN, the Foundation, organizes two conferences. An eponymous one in The Hague, and GrunnMUN in Grunn. So far, this is not too different to other MUNs in Europe or even other parts of the world. Hold tight, because things are bound to get even more complicated.
The Foundation has its own committee, which manages sessions of the TEIMUN Society. The committee consists of experienced former delegates, chairs and members of the Foundation’s leadership. The committee organizes training and social events for the Groningen TEIMUN community. In past years, the committee even took members of the TEIMUN Society to international conferences, such as HamMUN in, you guessed it, Hamburg. The committee/Society thus helps to fulfill social, as well as educational purpose of the Foundation at the local level.
Last but not least, there are the broader educational activities which the Foundation organizes for external parties. Organized by the Secretariat, these “simulations” introduce students and our external partners to the complexities of international politics. IRIO students will certainly recall their IO simulations, carefully crafted by the Secretariat and the committee. Apart from simulations at other departments of the University of Groningen, the Secretariat has even organized a workshop for attendees of the Dutch Royal Military Academy in Breda in the past.
Let’s tie all the loose ends together and build the complete picture of what TEIMUN is.
TEIMUN is a Foundation, with many internal organs. It organizes two annual conferences; GrunnMUN in March, and TEIMUN in July. The Foundation also has a social/educational committee for Groningen-based students. Next to that, we organize simulations for different departments of the University of Groningen, as well as workshops for public and private organizations in the Netherlands. I know, it is a lot to take in. But I hope that you now understand what the difference between GrunnMUN and TEIMUN is a tad better.