Seminarkurs in Holland


Seminarkurs: Model United Nations Trip to Leiden

The seminar course “Model United Nations” (MUN) teaches us about the United Nations, international relations and diplomacy by simulating conference work of the United Nations. At such conferences, we assume the roles of the representative of a country and must solve a problem with other delegates from around the world. The seminar course teaches us skills like research, public speaking, debating and writing, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork and leadership.

With the participation at the Scala MUN conference in Leiden (Netherlands), we had the opportunity to feel like a part of the UN and to get a glimpse on how conferences works.

It was a wonderful opportunity which Mr. Ruhstorfer and Mrs. Kräutle-Brecht had organized for us. In addition, we got to know some of the most important institutions of the UN, for instance the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. We also got to know some famous attractions like the Mauritshuis, an art museum, where we had extraordinary experiences.  

Our trip began with a meeting on Wednesday, the 23rd of November 2022 after school at 1:30 pm at Heidelberg main station and from there we took our train to Leiden. We ran into a few problems with the Deutsche Bahn, but nothing Herr Ruhstorfer and Miss Kräutle-Brecht could not master. With a two-hour delay, we finally caught our train from Düsseldorf to Utrecht and then to Leiden, where we finally arrived at around 11 pm.  Our hotel in Leiden was genuinely nice and was in an excellent location with typical Dutch touches. 

We spend the first day in The Hague and split up in two groups. One group visited the ICC (International Criminal Court), where we had the opportunity to watch a real court case in which two African war criminals were being interrogated. We were also given a presentation on how everything is organized and how everything works within the ICC. The second group visited the University of Leiden, where some students from our seminar course might want to go study after the Abitur. After that, the two groups came together at the Mauritshuis. But before that, we all had some free time to look around The Hague and to get some food. The Mauritshuis is a beautiful museum and it stunned us all with its magnificent paintings. We all picked our favourite one and then presented the painting and what we liked about it to the rest of the group. After that, we took the train back to Leiden and ate dinner.  

Of course, our initial reason to go to Leiden was Scala MUN. So, with no doubt, we were all extremely excited to take the train to Alphen aan den Rijn for our first glimpse into the world of debates and meetings surrounding the UN. The opening ceremony began at 10:30 am, with a presentation of the planning committees and a warm welcome by mayor Liesbeth Spies and an important sponsor from Shell, a British multinational oil and gas company. After a quick lunch consisting of hot dogs, we made our way over to Scala College, where we would be spending the next two days debating and decisioning. Our MUN experience started with time for lobbying during which we were supposed to communicate with other countries that shared our beliefs. 

One of the committees in which we participated, e.g. the Human Rights Council, dealt with “The question of the violation of human rights in Iran regarding recent developments in civil protests.” Each student on the Council was given a country to represent. To accurately represent the country, we had done research on the country’s position regarding the topic question before the trip had even started and thus had written so-called position papers based on the newly gained information. That became the basis for our arguments. Some countries on the respective committees also introduced resolutions that would later be discussed within these committees. Three countries then usually started with their opening statements opening the discussion with their views on the matter and soon after, we found each other in a heated debate. The goal was to produce solutions and pass an ideal resolution that would benefit all.  

During the debates, we were able to pass notes to each other and fill a “gossip box” with them. These notes were written anonymously and then read to the committee members at the end of the day. Additionally, we would be “punished” in a fun way, like singing karaoke or dancing at the end of the day for language or behavioural mistakes. Sooner than expected, the first day was over and it was time for dinner.  To close off the day, there was a Winter Wonderland Party that was a lot of fun.  

On the second to last day, we headed once again to Scala College. The topic question of that day for the Human Rights Council was “The question of ending statelessness around the globe.” Once more, a country presented its resolution that we would discuss and form to fit the requirements of each country. After a lunch break, we went back into our committees to further debate. At 4:30 pm, we closed off our discussions and assembled all for the closing ceremony and a lottery. Two hours later, we had to say goodbye to the newly made friends and quickly exchanged numbers while hugging. Fulfilled and happy, although slightly sad, we took the train back to our hotel where we ate at one of the top places when in the Netherlands: a “pannenkoekenhuis”.  

Early the next day, we went back home by train. We arrived in Heidelberg at 8:30 pm with new friends, memories and knowledge. 

Luna Fuduric, Julienne Jorzik & Maja Schilling (K1)


Bild 1: E.I. students in front oft he International Criminal Court, The Hague.

Bild 2: E.I. students visiting the University of Leiden‘s International Relations & Organisation programm, campus The Hague.

Bild 3: E.I. students studying Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring, Mauritshuis The Hague.