Insight Politics. Inside Berlin…
With great anticipation we traveled to a week of excitement and interesting seminars in Berlin. For some of us, it was a great opportunity to gain insight into a future career path, for some others, it was a mix of special insights, especially gained by lectures on volatile, dynamic, and complex security policies, but for all of us, it was definitely a highlight of the year.
Starting on the first day, we all arrived at the hotel, dressed up in full formal business attire and ready for our first peek inside the Federal Foreign Office. The modern building with a courtyard impressed us a lot, and we were designated a room where we would go on and hear many interesting speeches in the following days.
The experts on our delegated country – Thailand – gave us detailed information on how to act in character when representing Thailand in various committees in New York at NMUN. It was especially interesting that Thailand has a very peculiar and unique way to act in the global cluster of powers, called “bamboo in the wind” by some. From the outside, Thailand appears to align with the superpower in charge. For instance – the USA in the past and present, although with the ever-growing Chinese influence in the region and worldwide, some already interpret a drift towards the Chinese sphere of influence. Thailand itself calls its foreign policy the policy of “equidistance”, which shall indicate a level of neutrality and equal distance, hence the name, toward the influential powers in the world.
However spun, Thailand has been very successful in reaching their policy goal, which is a level of independence and self-centeredness that has been impressively depicted by the fact that Thailand was never colonized. Additionally, we learned a lot about the work of the German foreign service, both bilaterally and on the level of the UN. Active and former diplomats presented both their jobs and work, and it was an amazing experience for us to be able to ask so many questions on a rather personal level. Most outstanding in that matter, for most of us, was the meeting with former ambassador Dr. von Wagner, who has had an incredible career. His stories about the Soviet KGB or the Chemical Weapons Convention, which he chaired, but also stories about the personal life of a diplomat, like how his family handled the constant change of location, were an opportunity for us to see more than just one side of the job.
The day concluded with a stimulating presentation and discussion about German foreign and security policy, with one of the leading experts in the eld, General Staff Lieutenant Colonel Martin Lammert, who as one of the authors of Germany’s white paper on the future of the German armed forces, gave us a very honest and detailed look into German interests and projects abroad.
The next day, our delegation visited the Federal Ministry of Defense. In the visitors center, Major Scharnhorst gave us a very hospitable welcome and gave us some in- sight in the challenges and changes inside the army. Afterwards, we visited the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Inside, we got an overview of different projects the ministry is engaged in. Finally, on our last day, we gave each other feedback and support for the upcoming conference and evaluated the project so far, and the seminar in Berlin in particular.
We would like to thank the United Nations Society Nuremberg e.V. for making the seminar possible, and our Content Manager Caroline Dietrich, for her engagement in organizing the week and finding so many interesting speakers for us.
by Julian Werner