Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher today announced that the Harvard World Model United Nations Conference 2013 (WorldMUN), one of the world's largest student-led international meetings, will be held in Melbourne next year.
Ms Asher said Melbourne fended off competition from Spain, France and Turkey to host the event, which was expected to bring approximately 1700 delegates from around the world to Melbourne.
"This is a coup for Victoria and is expected to generate $8.6 million for the state economy," Ms Asher said.
"International education is Victoria's largest export industry. More than 160,000 international students from 165 countries were enrolled in Victorian education institutions by the end of 2011, with the sector injecting $4.8 billion into the state's economy each year and creating an estimated 50,000 jobs for Victorians."
Founded in 1991 by Harvard University, WorldMUN is the largest and most diverse university conference of its kind outside North America. With delegates from more than 65 countries, WorldMUN offers an unparalleled opportunity for youth leaders to engage in cultural exchange and compete at the highest international levels of Model United Nations (UN).
Model UN is essentially a simulation of the UN that aims to educate delegates about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and the UN agenda. The participants role-play as diplomats to investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
The Melbourne/Australia WorldMUN delegation includes students from RMIT and Monash University. The students, who had formal endorsement from their universities to bid to host the 2013 event, were required to form a structured committee that could prove Melbourne's capability in hosting the prestigious event.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Committee Siamak Sam Loni said the Monash/RMIT Melbourne Host Team could not be happier with this result, and the response to its bid was a testament to the Committee's hard work.
"For months we have worked alongside Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau in order to prepare our bid and I would like to thank everyone involved. In the coming months, we will continue working hard to ensure that Melbourne takes WorldMUN to new heights," Siamak Sam Loni said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau Karen Bolinger said WorldMUN 2013 was a fantastic fit for Melbourne in light of the city's reputation as Australia's intellectual capital.
"Victoria has ten world-class universities, eight of them with campuses in Melbourne's central business district, and this win is evidence of the high standard of students our universities are producing. A lot of work went into this bid and everyone involved should feel very proud of what they have achieved for their city," Ms Bolinger said.
"Melbourne's status as 'the world's most liveable city' and its reputation as the major events, live music, arts and culture, and food and wine capital will surely be a major draw card for students to attend next year's event."
WorldMUN 2013 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in March 2013.