West Coast Model EU 2018
In February, I joined three UVic students to represent UVic at the 2018 West Coast Model European Union Conference in Seattle.
It was a fantastic experience, and as a Political Science major, I loved using what I had been learning for the previous year and a half of university in such a practical way. (That’s not to say you have to be in Poli Sci to do it: Daphne, one of our team members, is a Chemistry major!)
I hope this post gives you a good idea of what Model EU is, and if you are at all interested in world events, debate, negotiation, research or politics, that you will consider doing it. It’s not only an excuse to travel, but will give you incredibly useful skills and knowledge that you can apply to both university and your future career.
What is Model EU?
Simulated meetings of political leaders in the European Union, working together with the goal of reaching an agreement on EU policies.
56 participants from universities across the Pacific Northwest were split into two groups, each meeting on different issues. The role you were assigned determined which group you were in and what topics you discussed. The first group was a meeting of the 28 Heads of State of the EU, who discussed the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The second group was a meeting of the 28 Ministers of Agriculture of the EU (this was the one I was in, representing Hungary), and we discussed the Common Agricultural Policy.
I should clarify that Model EU is NOT the same as Model UN. Instead of doing your best to keep your interests safe, Model EU involves compromise. Having done Model UN before, this was initially very hard to do, but I ended up preferring the EU’s goal of finding common ground.
My favourite part about Model EU was the feeling of accomplishment from getting consensus and the smiles on all the participants faces! -Kadi, Head of State for Hungary
What did you do?
We spent the weekend dressing up, eating good food, and pretending to know what we were doing. Just kidding. 😊 Our team spent the months before the conference researching our assigned roles and topics. We met weekly with previous participants and UVic professors, giving us a chance to ask questions about our topics and strategize about how to negotiate successfully.
The weekend of the conference, we had a delicious dinner the Friday evening, and then spent Saturday in our two different meeting rooms to discuss and negotiate our given topics. In each room, the goal was to pass a resolution that every one of the 28 member states agreed on (yes, this was as hard as it sounds).
How much did it cost?
Nothing! Thanks to UVic’s European Studies program, our flights, accommodation and food for the weekend was covered.
Advice for future Model EU participants:
Be well prepared, but don’t stress yourself out completely about it. A lot of the conference was about thinking on your feet, and this is not something you can always prepare for. When in doubt, be confident. -Daphne, Minister of Agriculture for Belgium
Model EU was a fantastic experience. I was able to see the benefits of my degree in a practical setting, network with students from across the Pacific Northwest, and learn skills (like how to reach an agreement without giving up on what’s important to you) that I know will stay with me long after I graduate.
And if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below!
Note: A big thank you to Dr. Valerie D’Erman (who took some of the pictures in this post) for accompanying us to Seattle, and being such an awesome source of information and advice both before and during the conference.