The University of Westminster’s WestMUN Society welcomed over 90 delegates and 12 Chairs to its third international conference.

The University of Westminster’s WestMUN Society welcomed the Colombian Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Mr Nestor Osorio, over 90 delegates and 12 Chairs from more than 15 international higher education institutions to its third international conference taking place at the University’s Regent Campus in central London on 30–31 January. 

The international conference, which is a simulation of the debates and decision-making processes of the United Nations, proved a great success in encouraging students to engage in discussions on topics ranging from international security to the Syrian refugee crisis and to child poverty. 

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Watch the Colombian Ambassador's address to delegates at WestMUN 2016

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The President of WestMUN, Francisco Gimeno, said: “At WestMUN, we endeavour to bring diplomacy and international relations closer to our delegates. We do it by promoting critical discussion of current affairs, and embracing the values of our new global society that has no limits, no borders, and no shame in believing in a fairer and safer world for all men and women. We embrace the UN spirit, the MUN spirit, and the spirit of the University of Westminster, all of which have the understanding between different cultures and individuals as a core belief in their foundations.”

Ambassador Nestor Osorio, who attended WestMUN 2016 as guest of honour, has represented Colombia in the United Nations in New York between 2010 and 2014, heading the Security Council`s presidency. He became Ambassador for Colombia in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in February 2014. The Ambassador captured the attention of his audience, speaking of the UN Security Council’s resolution to support the government of Colombia in acting as an observatory to tackle conflict and the use of arms by groups in the country.

Ambassador Osorio said: “I am here responding to a very kind invitation from Westminster University to share my experience as Ambassador to the United Nations from Colombia. And the privilege and the honour of having served the Security Council and President of the Economic and Social Council gave me an insight into the different ways to deal with the problems of the world. It’s a pleasure for me to share this with the students that are studying this matter.”

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Professor Dannreuther and Ambassador Nestor Osorio
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Professor Roland Dannreuther (left) with Colombian Ambassador to the UK, Mr Nestor Osorio (right)
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WestMUN conferences provide the opportunity for students to become delegates representing a country. Participants engage in a diplomatic role in active committee simulations tackling controversial global issues. The WestMUN Society also gives the opportunity for students to network and travel with others from a range of international backgrounds.

Professor Roland Dannreuther, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said: “WestMUN is one of the most dynamic from the many societies the University has, and clearly one of the most international. This conference represents a lot of work that has taken place over a number of months, and has not only attracted the Ambassador of Colombia to open the event, but also brought together students from around Europe and from other parts of London.

“What students take away from this in particular is engaging with some of the major challenges that exist in the world. Doing that through the processes of the United Nations, they’ll gain confidence, they’ll better understand the United Nations and some of the challenges of international politics. They also develop connections and networks which is important for their careers and their future development.”

Dr Farhang Morady, Principal Lecturer in Development Studies and International Relations, added: “It was great to see so many of our students engage imaginatively with some of the real issues facing the UN. WestMUN has a proud tradition of working in partnership with the University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. The conference was a success. These conferences give students a chance to think about the applied dimensions of their studies in Politics, International Relations and Development Studies. We always encourage our students to get involved as the academic community is enriched when students take responsibility for global issues.”

The University of Westminster’s Department of Politics and International Relations enjoyed spectacular success in the latest National Student Survey (NSS, 2015), with a number of its flagship courses highly ranked within the sector and 100 per cent overall student satisfaction for Development Studies and International Relations

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