From February 6th through the 10th, the Riverside City College Model United Nations (MUN) team attended the Swiss International Hospitality Model United Nations Conference (SIHMUN). This conference was held within the École hôtelière de Lausanne – the oldest hospitality school in the world – in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The SIHMUN Conference centered around international policy issues which related to the industry of hospitality and tourism. Students from across Europe, the United States, and various other countries were able to convene within the conference and discuss creative ways to utilize sustainable tourism as a means of stimulating economic opportunities within local communities and to grow cultural respect within the tourism industry as well. All committees within the conference had to incorporate aspects of sustainability, gender equality, and the unique role of local communities as they discussed the topics at hand.
The RCCMUN team sitting in one of the chambers located in the United Nations Geneva Headquarters
The opening ceremony of the conference was held at the historic Palace of Nations in Geneva – where the League of Nations convened. There were many other events held by the conference, including a World Economic Forum, Gala Dinner, and cultural trips to the UN Headquarters in Geneva and the Red Cross Museum.
RCC MUN was able to represent countries such as Egypt, Afghanistan, France, Russia, and several others. RCC delegates participated in the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Security Council (SC), and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Some topics discussed were the European migration crisis, the effect of closed frontiers on global tourism, and sustainable tourism.
RCCMUN immersing in Swiss culture during a beautiful Gala.
Many renowned international policymakers and influencers spoke at the conference, including Hillel Neuer – international lawyer, diplomate, and executive director of UN Watch – speaking on the history of the Human Rights Council. Additionally, Siddhi Mehta, CEO of 108 Foods, spoke on the important topic of reducing food waste within the hospitality industry.
When asked to give her perspective of the conference, Himadri Ratnayake reflected that she “saw the perspective of the world from the grounds and buildings of another country.”
Himadri Ratnayake in committee, discussing human rights.
Within the conference, RCC MUN amassed several individual awards and RCC’s own Tony Ramos was chosen as the only delegate to speak at the closing ceremony due to his amazing performance within committee. He spoke on the mission and vision of the conference in a five-minute speech that beautifully captured the values of the UN and captivated the audience.
All in all, SIHMUN was yet another conference where RCC MUN did a fantastic job at bolstering diplomacy and finding creative solutions to global issues. Not only was this conference a success in the aspect that RCC won many recognitions and honors, but also, if not more importantly, were able to better themselves as global citizens.