- EL CID 2018
A cold and gray November morning, 1947. Shortly after the Second World War, the Dutch population had a rough time: food, fuel and beer were scarce. On this day, the thirtieth day of the eleventh month, something wonderful was about to happen. In reaction to the recent political consensus, which aimed to keep world peace, that the world would need a federal government, several eloquent students came up with the luminous idea to establish a student association with the aforementioned goal as foundation. Thus the 'Dutch Student Association for a Global Federal Government' begun. However, our world leaders quickly realized that a global government would not be practical, and so, the name of our association was changed to 'Dutch Student Association for World Peace', based in Groningen and our own town, Leiden. In the same year the NSW joined the International Students Movement of the United Nations (ISMUN), based in the beautiful city of Genève.
The ISMUN was a platform at which all connected youth- and student associations had a voice in the discussions. You might not believe it, but the UN even listened to the ISMUN students! The United Nations has never refused to follow advice from ISMUN. The ISMUN organized very professional international conferences at which our association made a lot of contacts all around the world. However, since the end of the year 1990, the association left ISMUN in reaction to a big corruption scandal at the international organization which we did not want to be associated with.
Since 1962 our name has officially changed to DUNSA (Dutch United Nations Student Association), a name we are proud of. Since the 80s we have had three new SIB-towns, Utrecht(1982) and Amsterdam(1987). DUNSA-Leiden is, alongside Groningen, the oldest DUNSA-town, almost 70 years old. The secretariat of our national platform, DUNSA-Netherlands, has been based in Leiden since January 2007.
Back to 1962, when we changed our name to DUNSA. Interesting detail: The delegation of Leiden was not present when the new name was elected. The new DUNSA struggled with its previous image. People thought we were just a bunch of idealists with no goal that was worth mentioning. Especially Leiden was having a difficult time, it proved difficult to interest the students from Leiden for global politics. That's why the DUNSA started a huge campaign in 1963, but without success: DUNSA was dying. Financial trouble, no interest from the Dutch students and the absence of a new board seemed to lead to the end of DUNSA. However, the Dutch government came to the rescue and in 1969 it was decided that DUNSA-towns should actively work together.
Thanks to Thom Kok, currently an honorary member of DUNSA-Leiden, the association was brought to life again. We bought a computer to organize our growing member files and in 1989 our own magazine, the Atlas, was created. In the early 90s DUNSA-Leiden grew to be one of the biggest and most influential associations of Leiden. We travelled to Argentina, the United Kingdom, Austria, Scandinavia, South-Africa and Iran.
In 1991 the first Almanac was created. The last one was made in 2012. In 2012 DUNSA celebrated her thirteenth lustrum. DUNSA organised a congress about the UN and a gala in The Hague. Plans for the fourteenth lustrum in 2017 are in the making. On May 23th 1994 SOL (Foundation for Former Members) was founded. This foundation maintains relations between former DUNSA members and DUNSA itself. This is of great importance because we can learn many things from the knowledge and the experience of former members. Also because of this the past of DUNSA will not be forgotten.
At the start of the 21st century, one of the most extraordinary events the DUNSA organises each year first appeared: the Japanese Tables Evening. It started probably in the 80s with several ambassadors being invited to the DUNSA, to talk to some of the students. Until this day once a year many ambassadors come together with the students on a winter evening to start a dialogue with the students.
DUNSA has been around for a long time. During the last 60 years we have motivated Dutch students to be aware of the world around them. As a member of DUNSA you are one step ahead of your fellow students because you are stimulated to think outside of the box. Through active participation in this association you gain a lot of experience for the rest of your life.