Disclaimer: This interview was conducted BEFORE the fire alarm.
Imagine a person being present at all times at EuroMUN. They wear professional attire, like everyone around them. They have participated in MUNs before and know what is going on. Yet, this time, they have no committee, nor are they part of the EuroMUN organising team. So who is this mysterious person?
Let us introduce you to Vincent Tadday, one of the BHV officers at EuroMUN 2023. If you are not familiar with event organisation in the Netherlands, you are probably thinking “What on earth does BHV mean?!?” Well, TIME Magazine interviewed the lovely Vincent to answer this and a few more questions.
[TIME] You are a BHV officer. What does BHV stand for and what does your job entail?
[VT] BHV is a Dutch short form. The English translation of BHV is ERO, it’s an Emergency Response Officer. It’s something typical for the Netherlands because every public event or institution needs Emergency Response Officers. So even if there is a normal university day-to-day situation, there will be Emergency Response Officers within the building, so that for the case that something is happening – it can be very different things, from a small first aid thing to a full-scale fire [quick reminder about yesterday afternoon] – that there are people who know what to do. We all have this beeper and in the case that something happens, the receptionist can inform us over the beeper that something is happening. Then we all go to the reception and then we will receive our instructions from the receptionist. So, for example, if we evacuate the building, the receptionist will assign us to different floors and then we will do it.
Here at EuroMUN, we are four or five BHV officers. It’s like a team mixed, members of the Secretariat who have the certificate, and then we have people who volunteered to do it who also have the certificate.
[TIME] You have been around EuroMUN for a few days now, but you have not been part of a committee. What is it like to just see everything happening around you?
[VT] It’s actually better than I thought. I had a little bit the fear that my heart would beat a lot here, like strolling around all the people experiencing four full days of amazing debates. I was at EuroMUN last year as a delegate and the year before, which was online, but nevertheless was a good experience. So I really appreciate the event and the organisation committee, like a lot of my friends are involved in this. So I kind of had the fear of the constant fear of missing out. But it’s nice because I am surrounded by people who are all doing amazing things and I can lean back a little bit, observe, and I also jumped into one or the other committee already.
Yesterday I had the honour to represent the United States of America in the Security Council because they were missing a delegate. It was amazing because it was such a great opportunity to get to know some people – you have people from all over the world, we have the delegation from Chicago here, from Groningen, Leiden, at least around the Netherlands, and people from other parts of Europe, Barcelona.
This morning, it was amazing because I was allowed to have a little intervention in one of the committees as the Director of the Intelligence and Security Division of NATO, to give a little brief to the delegates and to answer their questions. I was allowed to get some exposure in a committee and get a little bit of an idea of what the atmosphere is in there and just get involved in a debate and lead the debate into a direction that hopefully will bring a lot of joy to all the delegates involved.
[TIME] You have been part of a couple of MUNs at least in the past. Which one sticks out to you the most and what made it memorable?
[VT] Oh! I would say every MUN experience is so intense, that it is definitely memorable. You can take different things from the different experiences that you had. Definitely noteworthy is my first MUN, which was EuroMUN 2021, which was an online conference, which I thought would become very boring and I doubted for a long time if I want to participate in it. It was the time when you had classes on Zoom and I already was sitting all day in front of my computer and I was thinking “Now I have to do this voluntarily for four more days while the weather is beautiful outside”. But it was a good experience because I got to know a lot of different people and the atmosphere was just good. It was so convincing that I then decided to join the Permanent Delegation [of UNSA Maastricht] to visit some more MUN conferences. All of them were great, very different. Last year, we visited for example Madrid, which was just a completely different vibe, it was a very social-focused conference with great parties and you really got a feeling for the city. I was also two times for example at the St. Gallen conference, which was amazing because it’s led by a very ambitious team always that takes a lot of care of the academic and the social parts. So all are memorable. I think for most people in the scene the first conference is something very special. And then this conference here is very special because, in the secretariat, a lot of friends are involved. I got the chance to see over the last year how much effort everyone put into that. If this is the case, you have another relation to the conference. I am just happy for everything that went well at the conference and yeah, very happy to be part of it.
[TIME] As you are roaming around the building, have you overhead any interesting or “spicy” conversations about the committees?
[VT] Good question, difficult question, because there is so much happening here. I would say what is very interesting is how the different delegates navigate the negotiation stage. We had this yesterday in the Security Council, where it was quite split into two blocks. One of the blocks only consists of China and Russia, which are both veto powers in the Security Council, so very powerful. And then we have interesting dynamics, in which for example certain delegates try to take a whole committee hostage by saying “I will just veto everything that does not come from our side”. Then you see that the other delegations in the committee have to become very creative to see “How can we get them back on track? How can we get them back on the table to establish something that works for us all?” Then you see the mingling is starting and people becoming creative. Not only in the way the resolutions are found but also how they present them. And how they become more confident in “This is what I want. This is what my country stands for.” That’s very nice to see.
[TIME] Is there anything else that our readers should know about you as a BHV officer, or simply as Vincent Tadday?
[VT] Oh God, I don’t know! Paradoxically enough, I don’t really like talking so much about myself. No, not really.
But I want to use the chance to give a shoutout to everyone involved in the conference who spends a lot of time and effort to run this experience and, namely of course, the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-Generals, all staff members, but also you guys from the press – you guys from the PRESS, I am very imPRESSED! Get it? No, because you cannot take for granted what people put into all of this to enable such an experience.
- Lee-Ann Lichtenberger, Writer for TIME, currently covering EuroMUN 2023