THIMUN Singapore – A MUNderful Experience
From November 15-20, eleven high school students, along with MUN director Thomas Galvez and chaperone Kasandra Battioni, attended the 7th annual The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) conference in Singapore, hosted at the Hwa Chong Institute.
In order to be chosen for the trip, students had to make it through a rigorous tryout process. About 40 new and experienced high school MUNers tried out, vying for 22 spots on the two teams. Along with developing their understanding of the United Nations and the parliamentary procedures involved in MUN, students had to prepare for and participate in a mock debate and write a brief position/research paper on the country they were given to represent in context of the debate topic. The successful students participated thoughtfully in the debate and wrote thorough papers. Selected students were placed on the THIMUN team or the BEIMUN team (Beijing International MUN, taking place in March 2012).
The eleven students chosen for THIMUN had to get to work right away since the conference was only a couple of months after the tryout. The conference organizers assigned us The Philippines and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as our delegations. So, after assigning each student to one of the delegations and a specific forum, the first step was to do background research on their country or organization. The students did this collaboratively by using the MUN blog.
With this background understanding developing, the students needed to get researching their forum topics since these are for what resolutions are created and debated. Each forum has 4-6 topics. A resolution is a formal document that provides preambulatory clauses of background information on the topic and operative clauses of solutions that endeavor to solve the problem presented in the topic. The solutions the students develop must be in-line with their country’s or organization’s policies and perspectives, but still work to solve the problem with a global perspective in mind. Each student was expected to write at least one complete resolution for a topic and at least three operative clauses for the other topics in their forum.
Some examples of topics in each of the forums SIS students were in are:
General Assembly 1 (Disarmament)- Assistance to States for curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons;
General Assembly 2 (Economic and Financial)- Agriculture development and food security;
General Assembly 3 (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural)- Promotion of literacy as a means of preserving cultural identity;
General Assembly 5 (Administration and Budgetary)- Monitoring the financial impact of pandemic diseases;
General Assembly 6 (Legal)- Enabling international cooperation against the world drug problem;
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)- Measures against the sexual exploitation of children;
Human Rights Council (HRC)- Promoting and protecting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
The first day of the conference saw the students lobbying and merging. This is where students cooperate and collaborate with other like-minded delegations to fuse and build stronger resolutions that can hopefully pass after a rigorous debate once the sessions start. In this situation, students can become the main submitter or a co-submitter of the resolution. The main submitter is the delegate who initially presents the resolution to the forum and gives the first speech about it. A co-submitter participates intimately in the debate, as well, by giving speeches and asking points of information. All SIS students co-submitted at least one resolution, and one student, Christine Lee, was the main submitter of a resolution.
The remaining three days saw the students debating in their respective forums. The students worked vigorously in the debate process to get resolutions to pass. Though not all resolutions received a majority passing vote, the process and experience each time helped the students understand and evaluate the necessary steps to solve some of the most pressing issues in today’s world.
Jun Jun Feng (G10) and Christina Lee (G10) both went into the conference thinking it was going to be slightly boring, but came away saying its was exciting and fun. Jun Jun also mentioned she came away from the conference with a new best friend, a delegate from another school. Christina was pleasantly surprised at the professional level in which the student officers and administrative staff ran the conference. All students came back very enthusiastic about their MUN experience and look forward to doing it again.
In all, a MUN conference like THIMUN Singapore is a wonderful experience for students. It develops all of the ESLRs in the students and they make connections with many other students from around the world, most of whom they will keep in contact for many years to come with wonderful social media technologies like Facebook and Skype. Hopefully many of these students will stick with MUN throughout their high school years. The more they do it, the better they get, the more their confidence builds, and the deeper they understand global issues. We look forward to hear how the BEIMUN team does in March 2012!
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis