TIMUN’20: A Conference in an Alternate Reality

Last year, a day before the conference, I was assigned to cover the first day of TIMUN; observe the opening ceremony as well as the excitement, lost badges and nostalgic chaos that echoes the excitement of the previous years. Thus, I never imagined that I would be writing the same piece for this year’s conference as a work of fiction.

Now figuratively close your eyes (because otherwise, you will not be able to read the rest of this article), and permit me to recreate what would have happened if this year was a normal, pandemic-free one, just like the past twenty-six years of TIMUN have been.

Allow me to set the scene: it is a Thursday in December 2020, sometime between eight in the morning and lunch hour. One way that Uskudar students feel that the calendar year is coming to a close, besides the daunting and tiring second exam week, is by seeing the TIMUN banner extended across Martin Hall. Thursday morning classes take place; and while non-MUN students impatiently wait for the half-day of school to come to an end, the conference attendees wait for the lunch hour to come, in order to change into their formal wear.

As the number of faces we see on the campus every day decreases during the lunch hour, the number of familiar faces we see once or twice a year at various conferences, along with new ones that we are seeing for the first time increases.

A few hours later, picture the clinking sounds of teacups when they meet their saucers accompanies the chatter of confused press members trying to not to hit the tea-drinking delegates in the face with their tripods and cameras; conference managers running around in the garden searching for missing items; the Secretary General welcoming the keynote speaker; delegates with different tie and sock combinations. Not knowing whether someone is a student or actually an advisor (because frankly, formal wear blinds the eye to age), everyone treats everyone in the most respectful way.

Admins gaze at the frantic environment, perhaps thinking to themselves, “four years from now, I will be the President of the General Assembly or the Secretary General,” and wondering if only this moment of pondering will in fact become a conservation piece several years later: “I wanted to be them, and it feels so strange to actually be a member of the Executive Team now.”

After several hours of socializing with the delegates and cats of UAA, the opening ceremony takes place. You take your seat and promise yourself that you will run for the cupcakes like there is no tomorrow in the following days during the coffee breaks…

Although this year we are not able to replay this scenario, we can still feel the thrill of reflecting on today’s socio-political environment. Let this years’ conference be a moment, a chance in your MUN lives to breathe, and let yourself go fallow*. Instead of focusing on ‘what could have beens’, allow this conference to be an anecdote you can share in the future.

Dear reader, if you were able to read this rather overly-cliched and nostalgic article, I congratulate you and MOST IMPORTANTLY, wish you a very fruitful conference.

*Your minds in this conference, metaphorically speaking, will be gently ploughed and harrowed. Enjoy and acknowledge the fact that you are a part of a perennial act: having lively discussions, listening, and learning.

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