[TIME] The man of a hundred MUNs
Paul E. Nisz for Time Magazine
In its 14 years of existence, EuroMUN has welcomed hundreds, if not thousands of people in this beautiful small town of Maastricht. It has seen Secretariats come and go, it has seen sponsors come and go, it has seen generations of MUNers come and go. One man alone has been a constant in EuroMUN’s history since 2016: This year’s chair of the Security Council, Sören Wehrheim.
When I first met Sören at KULMUN in 2018, he was already a walking legend, approaching 30 MUN conferences. Today, four years later, Maastricht welcomes him at his 6th EuroMUN and 90th MUN conference overall.
The Covid pandemic has been a slight setback in his way to 100 MUNs, Sören tells me. Not a big fan of online conferences, he only attended three of them (one of which was EuroMUN 2021) in the two years where in-person conferences were unthinkable. Some may never exceed three MUNs in their lifetime, but for Sören, the number is negligible compared to his record 20 conferences in 2017 alone. He is all the more excited to be back in Maastricht for EuroMUN, which he calls one of his favourite conferences. So excited in fact, he isn’t even sure he won’t overshoot the 100-conferences mark. But, as he tells me, if he does two or three too many, he will just discount the online conferences.
I myself am counting a meagre 9 or so conferences, but wherever I went, I could be sure to meet friends of Sören, if not himself in person. Today, once again we met, this time in Maastricht, catching up like old friends. He is surprised I am pursuing a second bachelors degree, and so am I to learn he changed his academic field. Sören has been studying computer science for as long as I have known him. Now he pursues a masters in political science.
But the real surprise is what he tells me next. What does the man who has attended 90 MUNs, is on track for 100, want to do later in life? Certainly not become a diplomat. “I don’t consider myself a particularly good delegate,” says Sören. “I like thinking about how systems work. I like the nitty-gritty detail.” He would much rather pursue a PhD in political science, and stay in academia, even after the gavel has fallen on his last MUN conference.
I still wonder, what drives Sören to put all this time, money, and energy into travelling to MUN conferences? He counts some three or four generations of MUNers in his time attending conferences. But even after so many years, places, and people, he still gets a kick out of the “amazing community” he experiences each single time. You might think he has seen everything an MUN can offer, but Sören would staunchly disagree. “Every time is different”, he says, “I keep learning”. Of course, his experience includes some of the dark sides of MUN, conferences which were disappointing, and even some which he calls “a complete scam”. But Sören says he only needs to encounter “one interesting person, one interesting thought” to consider a conference a success.
In case you are among the few people who haven’t met Sören yet, do not hesitate to approach him at a party and get to know a true veteran of the MUN world. Maybe you are that one interesting person that will make EuroMUN 2022 his 90th successful conference.