Young delegates enacting the Human Rights Council at the UN in Vienna

Students from the University of Vienna in the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights programme and from the Central European University in Budapest put their diplomatic skills to the test when they met at the UN in Vienna on 11 April 2018 to participate in a United Nations Human Rights Council simulation. The UN Information Service Vienna (UNIS) was proud to host this unique event for the first time.

Sonja Wintersberger, Deputy to the Director of UNIS Vienna, welcomed the students and shared her enthusiasm at seeing so many young people engaging in the promotion of Human Rights. Afterwards she showed a video message from Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, commemorating this year's 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The video pointed out that 70 years after the inception of the Declaration on 10 December 1948, there is still work to be done, and that there is room for future diplomats to make their mark in the global human rights arena.

Effective negotiation tactics, including outstanding presentation and rhetorical techniques, are some of the qualities needed by professional diplomats to achieve consensus. These are exactly the skills that aspiring Human Rights experts exercised during the Human Rights Council simulation. These powerful tools will ultimately enable the students to actively shape their political future in the field of Human Rights.

About 65 participants from more than 28 nations attended this successful first simulation consisting of two sessions, each session providing students with the opportunity to debate the pros and cons of topics such as freedom of movement in the Israeli-Palestinian context and the detention of migrant children. The young delegates were delighted to put their theoretical knowledge of global politics and international relations into practice.

This simulation exercise was organized by the Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights in collaboration with the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS).

University of Vienna Master of Human Rights Model UN