Among the many distinguished guests at this year’s IMUN conference were members from various diplomatic corps in Lisbon. Among these were representatives from the Embassy of Sweden, the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of Germany, and the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The IMUN Press Team was honored to interview these guests about the conference.
The representatives held various positions at their respective embassies and came from different backgrounds. For instance, Mr. Aleksei Chekmarev is an attaché at the Russian Embassy. Mr. Rob McFawn is a second secretary at the British Embassy, which he explains is one of the ranks within the British diplomatic corps. He described how he sits on a political team at the embassy and covers a range of issues, such as judicial issues in Portugal. Mr. Andrés Pires Alves, Ms. Lisa Lindén, and Ms. Sara Hänninen are trainees at the German, Swedish, and Finnish embassies, respectively. However, they come from different backgrounds; for example, Mr. Alves studied law, and Ms. Hänninen studied languages. The representatives used this as an opportunity to emphasize that having a career in international relations does not have a fixed path, and you can work in this field regardless of your university studies.
All representatives had a positive experience at the conference. They were impressed with the level of professionalism of the delegates and were proud to see young people being active and involved in current events. They also stressed the importance of Model United Nations conferences in general. For example, Mr. Aleksei Chekmarev explained that just like in the UN, the conference serves as a vast platform and place for communication. The fact that delegates come from various backgrounds brings different perspectives to the table, allowing for a better understanding of the complex issues in the modern world. Similarly, the German and Swedish representatives emphasized that such conferences are helpful professionally and personally, allowing delegates to learn how to voice their opinions and propose practical solutions. Regarding the United Nations, the Swedish, German, and Finnish representatives emphasized that despite some challenges, it is still an important platform where countries can come together and discuss global issues.
Toward the end of the interview, some representatives advised delegates wishing to pursue a career in international relations and who hope to become diplomats one day. For instance, the representative of Sweden stressed the importance of taking advantage of events such as IMUN, as it allows you to build a strong network and practice real-world skills. Similarly, the representative of Germany and Sweden highlighted the importance of keeping an open mindset and being consistently curious and invested in your work.
It was an honor to receive these esteemed guests, professionals in international relations, who serve as inspiration for the many delegates that aspire to work with diplomacy. We would like to formally thank Ms. Lisa Lindén, Mr. Rob McFawn, Ms. Sara Hänninen, Mr. Andrés Pires Alves, and Mr. Aleksei Chekmarev for sharing their personal experiences, thoughts on the 2023 conference, and valuable advice to the delegates. The IMUN Press Team thanks the representatives for their time.