Model United Nations
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Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation and/or academic activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Usually an extracurricular activity, some schools also offer MUN as a class.
Participants in Model United Nations conferences, known as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, where they represent members of that body. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent. At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee, as well as delegations, are sometimes recognized with awards.
Model UN participants include students at middle school, high school, and college/university levels, with most conferences catering to just one of these three levels (high school and college conferences being most common). Delegates usually attend conferences together as delegations sent by their respective schools' or universities' Model UN clubs, though some delegates attend conferences independently.
Model UN began as a series of student-led Model League of Nations simulations. It is believed that the first Model League of Nations conferences were held in the 1920s, before transitioning to Model UN after the formation of the League's successor organization, the United Nations, in 1945. Today, some Model United Nations conferences include simulations of the League of Nations among their committee offerings.
The first Model United Nations was held at St. Lawrence University from February 11–13, 1949. It was initiated by Dr. Harry Reiff, Head of the History and Government Department, with the assistance of departmental colleague Otto L. George. Dr. Reiff was a technical advisor on the United States delegation to the 1945 San Francisco Conference (where the UN Charter was written) and the UN Organizational Conference in London in 1945-46 (where the UN was established). The 1949 St. Lawrence University Model UN conference included delegates from regional conferences and universities, including Adelphi, Alfred, Champlain, Clarkson, McGill, Middlebury, Potsdam, St. Michael's, and Vermont. The conference continued annual for many years at St. Lawrence  and has recently been revived on the campus. Other Model UN conference were developed later at Berkeley, Harvard and the National Model United Nations  Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), and National Model United Nations (NMUN NY) as well as many other colleges and universities.
In 1987, a few American exchange students founded TEIMUN in The Hague. In recent decades, Model UN has spread to East and South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Other major conference organizers such as Indian International Model United Nations, Harvard, THIMUN establishing additional conferences in these regions to meet burgeoning demand. The Ivy League Model United Nations, an arm of the Model UN at the University of Pennsylvania, hosts conferences for high-school-aged delegates in India and China, as well.
In order to maintain decorum, most Model UN committees use parliamentary procedure derived from Robert's Rules of Order. However, most crisis committees forgo the formality of parliamentary procedure so as to ensure smoother operation. In addition, recently the United Nations has spearheaded efforts to introduce new Model UN rules of procedure that are more closely aligned with those used by the actual UN. Since there is no governing body for MUNs, each conference differs in the rules of procedure. The following rules of procedure apply to general MUNs but may not apply to every MUN:
MUNs are run by a group of administrators known as the dais. A dais is headed by a Secretary-General. Each committee usually has a chair (also known as moderator), a member of the dais that enforces the rules of procedure. A delegate may request the committee as a whole to perform a particular action; this is known as a motion. Documents aiming to address the issue of the committee are known as resolutions and are voted for ratification.
MUN committees can be divided into three general sessions: formal debate, moderated caucus, and unmoderated caucus. In a formal debate, the staff maintains a list of speakers and the delegates follow the order written on the 'speaker list'. Speakers may be added to the speaker list by raising their placards or sending a note to the chair. During this time, delegates talk to the entire committee. They make speeches, answer questions, and debate on resolutions and amendments. If there are no other motions, the committee goes back to formal debate by default. There is usually a time limit. In a moderated caucus, the committee goes into a recess and the rules of procedure are suspended. Anyone may speak if recognized by the chair. A vote on a motion is necessary to go into a moderated caucus. There is a comparatively shorter time limit per speech. In an unmoderated caucus, the delegates informally meet with other delegates and the staff for discussions.
Resolutions are the basis of all debate. They are considered the final results of conversations, writings, and negotiations. Resolutions must go through a draft, approval by the dais, and consequent debate and modification.
Participation in Model UN is meant to foster negotiation, speaking and communication skills. In addition, crisis committees, which deal with crisis scenarios which can be contemporary or historical, can develop leadership skills and the ability to adapt and deal with unexpected situations. Material issues of diplomacy and policy are also approached through a quasi-academic process. In preparation for a conference, topics are chosen for each committee, and typically, research and background guides (called Study Guides) are made available by the organizers of a conference for each committee. Delegates of each committee are often expected to pre-formulate the position of the country or group they represent, based on these background guides, and submit the result of this preparation to their committee as a so-called Position Paper. The purpose of this procedure is to familiarize delegates with the substantial topics of debate, encourage academic research and writing, and to enable substantial preparation for conferences.
While several guides on the techniques of writing Position Papers, including templates and examples, are available, no conferences publish their Study Guides, Position Papers or Resolutions. Currently, only one subscription-based Position Paper database is available.
Traditionally, English has been the official and working language of most conferences, but, as Model UN has become more popular around the world, and as conferences in countries such as the United States have sought to appeal to underrepresented minorities (such as the Spanish-speaking community), committees using languages other than English, or which are bilingual, have become common. It should be noted, however, that this is still not yet a mainstream phenomenon, especially not in the United States, where most bilingual or Spanish language committees are found at conferences hosted in Puerto Rico or the South.
Nearly all Model United Nations conferences require delegates to wear Western business attire, as dressing professionally is an important way to show respect for the nation, organization, or individual one is representing, as well as for the rest of one's committee.
While Model United Nations conferences regularly simulate the bodies of the United Nations, the European Union, government cabinets, and regional bodies such as ASEAN as so-called Committees, as well as corporate boards, NGOs or so-called Press Corps, idiosyncrasies and fictional Committees also exist. An example for such a special committee that does not have a parallel in the actual United Nations which deals with a crisis is known as a 'Crisis Committee.' In this committee, a crisis is given to a team of students and the teams must come up with solutions. The Crisis Committee focuses on a single historical event. The event may be fictional or non-fictional.
Books on Model UNs
- A Guide to Delegate Preparation: A Model United Nations Handbook, edited by Scott A. Leslie, The United Nations Association of the United States of America, 2004 edition (October 2004), softcover, 296 pages, ISBN 1-880632-71-3.
- Becoming a Model UN Delegate - An Essential Guide Through the MUN World, edited by Marko Kovacevic of MUNPlanet (August 2016)
- Organizing Successful MUNs - practices, trends, innovation, edited by Marko Kovacevic of MUNPlanet (2015)
Model UN by region and country
Although Model United Nations originated in the United States, MUN clubs and conferences are not isolated to that country. Rather, like the actual UN, Model UN is found in countries around the globe. Because Model UN is decentralized and has grown autonomously around the world, there are significant differences in how MUN is done between regions.
MUN is relatively popular in Denmark, with conferences at both high-school and university level. It was first introduced in 2003, it has since spread with 3 major conferences at high-school level, with at least 400 participants at each conference, with BIGMUN being the largest conference in Scandinavia.
The largest MUN in the Netherlands is The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) conference, which includes over 3500 participants coming from around 200 schools and 100 different countries. Although it is not located near the United-Nations Headquarters in New-York, it is one of the pioneer Model United Nations conferences in the world, since it has been founded in 1968 and located in the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) world city of the Hague. A whole network of conferences is marked by its THIMUN affiliation, a label which basically describes the universality of the procedures that rule the conference and make it part of the UN recognized foundation. In 1995 the THIMUN Foundation was accredited as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. Also, the THIMUN has established its own conferences' network throughout time: THIMUN Qatar, THIMUN Singapore, THIMUN Online MUN (O-MUN) and THIMUN Latin America conferences have been set up from 2005. The second and third biggest MUN-conferences of the Netherlands are MUNISH (Model United Nations at the International School of the Hague and HMUN (Haarlem Model United Nations). There is also The European International Model UN TEIMUN which is founded in 1987 and is the oldest university Model UN in Europe.
In Turkey, Model United Nations conferences are mostly held by non-profit university-clubs. Istanbul hosts more conferences than all Turkish other cities combined. Yeditepe Model United Nations Club, the oldest and one of the most popular clubs in Turkey, holds three different conferences, being, Yeditepe Model United Nations Training and Development Conference, Justinianus Moot Courts, and Model United Nations Conference Istanbul (MUNIST). Also, Koç University Model United Nations Conference (KUMUN), Kadir Has University Model United Nations Conference (HASMUN), alongside with the training conference of the Kadir Has University Model United Nations Training Conference (HASTRAIN), Izmir University of Economics Model United Nations Conference (ECOMUN), alongside with the training conference, İzmir University of Economics Training Conference (EcoTRAIN) are most qualified conferences in Turkey. These conferences simulate not only General Assembly committees, but also Joint Crisis Cabinets, Futuristic, Fictional and Historical timeline based committees.
The Kabul Model United Nations was established in Kabul in 2014. The objectives are to bring young female and male individuals together to discuss global issues and promote diplomacy, human rights, peace building, and social welfare. Participants include university students up to the age of 30. They come from four or five Afghanistan provinces to develop critical thinking and public speaking skills. Pamir International Model United Nations (PIMUN) was established by October 2016.
Model United Nations conferences in Australia are typically separated into tertiary and high school levels. At the high school level, the large majority of Model United Nations events are organised by the various state and territory branches of UN Youth Australia, or by the many branches of Rotary Australia. Tertiary events, typically running for three to four days, occur within several Australian states, and are timed to coincide with holiday periods in tertiary semesters.
Model United Nations is practiced in Bangladesh since 2002. The first MUN to take place was the Model United Nations on Combating Terrorism - Bangladesh Model United Nations 2002. Since then, plenty of Model United Nations conferencess have been held in the country. But the concept of MUN became a popular one in Bangladesh from 2013.
United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB) is the pioneer of MUN in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Model United Nations conferences, Bangladesh International Model United Nations 2012, Dhaka+20, Brainwiz MUN 2013, UNYSAB MUN 2014 were organized by UNYSAB. MUNs if much larger numbers were organized by UNYSAB the past year when they organized Bangladesh Model United Nations (BANMUN) Session VII in June 2015 with more than 560 delegates  and Bangladesh International Model United Nations (BIMUN) Session II in November 2015, with over 850 delegates, the largest number in Bangladesh's history.
The arena of MUN started growing leaps and bounds after the formation of the first university based MUN club of the country Dhaka University Model United Nations Association in 2011. Dhaka University National Model United Nations (DUNMUN), the most prestigious Model United Nations conferences of the country, started from 2012. Worlds largest Model UN brand from India, Indian International Model United Nations is also slated to conduct its chapter conference in Dhaka in February 2016.
Model United Nations first came to China in 1995, when the elite China Foreign Affairs University held the country's first collegiate Model United Nations conferences. Arriving in Chinese high schools in 2005, Model UN expanded rapidly. Peking University (PKU) students, after attending Harvard's HMUN, organized the first national Model UN conference for high school students in China. PKU's conference was initially backed by UNA-USA, however support was curtailed in 2010 due to the Great Recession.
Between 2005 and 2010, national Model United Nations conferencess such as those organized by PKU and the rivaling Fudan University in Shanghai drew the best high school students from around the country, who competed for limited spaces. Over time, lesser-known national conferences, as well as regional and even local conferences for high school students, began to develop and gradually spread to cities beyond Beijing and Shanghai.
In the realm of interscholastic Model United Nations conferencess in China, the widely acknowledged top 3 conferences are called "the ABC": Asian International Model United Nations held by Peking University; Beijing International Model United Nations held by China Foreign Affairs University, and China National Model United Nations, held by United Nations Association of China, hosted in different cities annually.
Most Model United Nations conferencess in China are organized through private or academic enterprises, however some government-affiliated MUNs have also flourished, and recently, unofficial student-run grassroots conferences have begun to dominate the Chinese MUN scene.
In 1996, the Cathedral Model United Nations was hosted by The Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. Since then, schools and colleges in India started taking up Model United Nations as an activity in their school.
The Kansai High School Model United Nations (KHSMUN) is believed to be the first organised Model United Nations (MUN) conference aimed directly at high school English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. The first conference was held in 1990 as a required project for third year students in Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School's Course of International and Cultural Studies. This conference included 40 KGNHS students and 13 students from Kansai International High School in Toyonaka, Osaka. The two-day conference, held at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, simulated the Commission on Human Rights and debated the agenda item of the Israel and Palestine Conflict. The conference went on to become an annual gathering of high school students studying EFL in Japan. Unlike other MUN events around the world, the Kansai High School Model United Nations is a non-competitive MUN event.
|2013||Water for Life|
|2014||Global Food Security|
|2015||The Rights of the Child|
|2016||Protecting the Rights of Refugees|
|2017||Reducing Inequality Through Sustainable Development|
The largest MUN conference in Korea is the Seoul Model United Nations (SEOMUN) Conference, which includes over 1,000 participants from around the world. It has been held on an annual basis since 1997. Typically, the hosting responsibility rotates between three international schools in Korea: Korea International School, Seoul International School, and Seoul Foreign School. The conference is usually held at the Coex Mall in Gangnam District, Seoul.
|2015||Freedom From Fear|
The largest MUN conference in Taiwan is the Pan Asia MUN(PAMUN) Conference, which is held by National Taiwan University, also PAMUN is widely recognized as the most international MUN conference in Taiwan. There are also some regional MUN conference such as Taiwan Model United Nation (TWMUN) held by National Tsing Hua university(NTHU) and National Chiao Tung university(NCTU), Taipei Model United Nation (TMUN) held by National Chenchi University(NCCU), and Phoenix MUN held by National Cheng Kong University(NCKU). Different from China, English mostly is the official language in MUN in Taiwan expect for some special committees which use Chinese as official language.
MUN in Thailand is usually hosted by the international schools and universities in Thailand. Bangkok Patana School, Concordian International School, Ekamai International School, Harrow International School, International Seaboard Eastern School, NIST International School, Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University have all hosted Model United Nations conferences. These conferences are typically separated into university and high school levels. Model United Nations conferencess are run by the school or the university club, with some guidance from their advisors. There are also conferences like ThaiMUN and APMUN, both are bigger than what the International School and university hosted. APMUN was hosted by the Royal Thai Embassy on September 20 to 24 of 2012. Unlike other Model United Nations conferences the APMUN and ThaiMUN are 3-4 day conferences, other Model United Nations conferencess are usually hosted for 1 day. ThaiModel United Nations conferences is hosted by any international schools or universities every year. Students from many international schools gather and form a host committee. The host committee decides where will ThaiMUN be hosted in that year. Thailand's MUN, unlike Model United Nations conferencess around the world, are non-competitive, and are intended to help students improve their academic and social skills .
Sindh: In the Province of Sindh Many of the Model United Nations have been organized by many Reputable Universities, Organizations and Educational Institutes.
A high number of New Zealand high schools operate their own MUN events, with UN Youth New Zealand functioning as a managing organisation. UN Youth NZ also organises regional and national events, along with Aotearoa Youth Declaration, the Pacific Project, and New Zealand's THIMUN delegation.
The following are Model United Nation Conferences, Model ASEAN Conferences and other model diplomatic conferences held in Singapore.
- SIMUN Singapore Model United Nations at the Singapore French School
- Raffles Model United Nations Conference
- Dunman High Model ASEAN Plus Summit
- Youth Model ASEAN Conference
- Hwa Chong Conflict Resolution and Inquiry
- International Model United Nations Conferences
- Middle East Summit
- River Valley Model United Nations
- Sustainable Development Youth Convention
- Nanyang Technological University Model United Nations
- Singapore Chinese Girls' School Model United Nations Conference
- United Nations Association of Singapore Model United Nations Preparatory Conference
- Saint Joseph's Institution Model United Nations
- Yale-NUS Asia-Pacific Model United Nations
- Victoria School Model United Nations
The idea of Model United Nations is relatively new among Vietnamese youth. There has been an increasing number of such conferences, including invitational ones such as UNISMUN, SAIMUN and many other non-invitational ones. These conferences are often organised by schools or student-led organizations with varying scale and exclusivity. One of the most inclusive Model United Nations conferences in the country is Vietnam National Model United Nations (VNMUN), open to not only Vietnamese in all parts of the country but also international students studying around the world.
Model United Nations is growing in popularity in the region. The largest conference in the region held in Doha, Qatar, held each January at the Qatar National Convention Center. THIMUN Qatar currently hosts over 1500 student participants. The region boasts over 8 THIMUN-affiliated conferences in places such as Istanbul (MUNDP) Jordan (AMMUN), Dubai (DIAMUN), Bahrain (BayMUN), Cairo (CIMUN and MUN MIU) and Doha (DCMUN). Most countries in the region host numerous smaller conferences. The region also has its own regional MUN magazine, The Olive Branch, co-edited by THIMUN Qatar, THIMUN Online, and Best Delegate.
Though local MUN conferences are popular in Lebanon, it was not until last year that an international MUN conference had been organized making BeyMUN (Beirut Model United Nations) the first international MUN conference held in Lebanon. In its first year, the conference drew more than 100 participants from local and international universities. After the success of BeyMUN'16, a second edition of the conference will be held this year on April 21–23.
The Indian High School Model United Nations is one of the largest HModel United Nations conferencess in the region. Indian International Model United Nations is also conducted an Model United Nations conferences in UAE in 2016.
Model United Nations Conference was organized for the very first time in Algeria back in 2014 by Mr. ARIF Abdeljalil, and so far it is approved to be a unique chance for Algerian youth talents to network and discuss world issues, as it offered them the opportunity to participate in an experiential education in practical global policymaking.
Algeria MUN celebrated its 3rd Annual Conference in December 2016 -Algiers- which was organized in 3 languages; English, Arabic and French. The profile of participant in this youth-based event should be between the age 16 to 29 years old, student, English understanding, and taking an active role in our society. ( #AlgeriaMUN #DzYouth )
|Hope Model United Nations||HopeMUN||[Private]||Karachi||2015|
|Mehran UET Model United Nations||MUETMUN||Mehran University of Engineering and Technology||Jamshoro, Hyderabad||2015|
|College of Business Management Model United Nations||CBMUN||Literary and Public Speaking Society of IoBM||Karachi|
|Hyderabad Model United Nations||HYDMUN||Students of Hyderabad||Hyderabad||2014|
|Model United Nations IBA Karachi||MUNIK||Institute of Business Administration||Karachi|
|Model United Nations in Guards Public College||GPCMUN||Guards Public College, Karachi||Karachi|
|Neroon Kot Model United Nations||NKMUN||Mehran UET, QUEST and KYI (Know Your Importance)||Hyderabad||2015|
|Model United Nation in LUMHS||MUNIL||Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences||Hyderabad||2015|
|Pauls Model United Nation||PAULMUN||ST Pauls High School||Karachi||2015|
|Karachi University Model United Nation||KUMUN||University of Karachi||Karachi||2014|
|Algeria MUN Conference 1st Ever Edition: "Together for Algerian Youth Empowerment."||22nd, 23rd and 24 December 2014.||Algiers|
|Algeria MUN Conference 2nd Edition: "Together for investing in the Algerian Youth."||27th, 28th, 29th and 30 December 2015.||Algiers|
|Algeria MUN Conference 3rd Edition: "Youth for Peace and Development."||24th, 25th, 26th and 27 December 2016.||Algiers|
Conferences in Tunisia are mostly found in Tunis and they are usually sponsored by the Tunisian International Model United Nations (TIMUN). The most famous conference in Tunisia is the "Grande Simulation annuelle du TIMUN" in Tunis, which host more than 300 delegates. These conferences are usually hosted by the biggest national universities. Since the 6th edition, the "Grande Simulation annuelle" is under the patronage of the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs and welcomes Tunisian ministers and diplomats.
The other conferences in Africa include NIAMUN in Marrakech Established in August 2012 by a coalition of North African youths, NAIMUN is the largest student-run Model United Nations conference in Africa and the Middle East, with 4 sub-branches in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt .It trains and encourages young people to address pressing global issues and engage them in resolving global problems. NAIMUN is a non-profit organization which provides an equal opportunity for all youth to actively participate in an open debate., JoMUN in Johannesburg, and the recently founded IMIRAMUN in Windhoek a recent one took place in Benin, in Cotonou. The first edition of Algeria Model United Nations was held in December 2014. The East African Model United Nations (EAMUN) takes place in Nairobi, Kenya. Also mentionable is the recently conducted Lagos Model United Nations held at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, the first of its kind in West Africa. The conference first held in 2016 and is hoped to be an annual occurrence. The idea was made reality by Nigerian Students of the Faculty of Law of the aforementioned University after several experiences of the National MUN especially winning many awards.
FAMUN – FACAMP Model United Nations – is a model annually organized by FACAMP – Faculdades de Campinas, located in the city of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
It is a multidisciplinary initiative with the objective of simulating different international organizations, especially the ones under the United Nations system umbrella.
During 5 days, approximately 500 High School and College students from different Brazilian cities discuss issues of great international relevance by performing the role as Heads of State and Government, Ministers and Diplomats.
The organization of FAMUN follows the orientation of the UN4MUN approach: developed by the United Nations Department of Public Information, the approach proposes to bring MUNs’ practice closer to the real procedures of the United Nations. The result is a more dynamic debate, that captures the spirit of cooperation and the process of reaching consensus that drives the real negotiations at the UN.
The FAMUN experience can be watched here.
Model United Nations started in Peru many years ago, but became popular on 2012 with the first high school conference Lima Model United Nations (LiMUN) in 2012, followed by Villa Maria Model United Nations (VMMUN) 2015, and Newton College Model United Nations (NewMUN) 2015. The past years, school delegations from San Silvestre, Villa Maria, Newton College, Villa Caritas/San Pedro were the predominant delegations, but in 2015 Colegio Nuestra Señora del Carmen joined Model UN and suddenly became one of the top schools in MUN in Peru, organized Carmelitas Model United Nations (2015, 2016 and soon 2017) and were the hosts of the first Ivy League Model United Nations Conference Peru (ILMUNC 2016). Many students have now joined the debate team United Schools of Peru (USP) and travel to the city of Boston to participate in Harvard Model United Nations and other international conferences with USP or with their own school. On a higher competitive level, students from universities can join debate teams from their own university or big and full of prestige delegations such as Peruvian Universities Debate Team (PU), Peruvian Debate Society (PDS), and International Delegation of Peru (IDP), among others. Two Harvard National Model United Nations Latin America have been held in Peru and delegations participate in many international delegations as well.
Model UN builds skills that are useful in a wide variety of fields, with many participants having gone on to become leaders in diplomacy, politics, law and the media.
When I was an undergraduate at Stanford, I was twice a delegate to the Model United Nations and once a member of the Secretariat (when Stanford was the host). Students are enthusiastic role-players. We had to learn how nations and their representatives could work with others. We learned about how the United Nations (and international relations) worked in practice. The experience was valuable; the conferences were educational; and it was great fun. I am delighted to learn more than half a century later the Model UN is still going strong. I should think that in today's great global conversation it offers ... students an even more valuable experience.— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
- Kiyotaka Akasaka, Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
- Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations
- Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
- Chelsea Clinton, former first daughter of the United States
- Tom Donilon, former National Security Advisor in the Obama administration
- Samuel L. Jackson, American actor and producer
- Suzan G. LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King of The Netherlands
- Stephen M. Schwebel, former judge and president of the International Court of Justice
- Ryan Seacrest, American television personality, best known as host of American Idol
- Joel Stein, American journalist, former writer for the Los Angeles Times and regular contributor to Time
- George Stephanopoulos, television journalist and former adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton
- Rainn Wilson, actor best known for playing Dwight Schrute on NBC's The Office
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